image of computer code alongside a statue of Lady Justice


Even as technology becomes increasingly embedded in the fabric of society and companies clamor to hire more talented computing professionals who will contribute to building the technologies of the future, we are also inundated by ethical controversies in the media and tales of harmful or biased practices and outcomes in the context of these same technologies. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we cultivate responsible technologists who deeply understand the social and ethical implications of the products they build or research--a skill that is increasingly important to the companies behind these products as well as to society as a whole. With this goal in mind, the Responsible Computing Fellows is a pilot program at CU Boulder to create ethical engagement alongside technical computing courses as a semester-long fellowship. 

We invite undergraduate students from across campus to apply for this program for Spring 2020. Students who have existing interest or curiosity about ethics in computing and who are enrolled in a computing-related course in any discipline in the spring 2020 semester are encouraged to apply. Weekly meetings (which is not a class you must register for *) will involve seminar-style discussions that connect current events and ethical issues to the content of computing classes at CU, and will also engage the broader community, with guest speakers and open events.

In addition to the title of Responsible Computing Fellow (a great resume line for potential employers!), students will receive a $500 fellowship for their participation in the program over the course of the semester.  Our selection criteria will focus on interest, enthusiasm, and ensuring a diversity of students who represent different backgrounds and relationships to computing. 

Eligibility Requirements 

  • Must be an undergraduate student at University of Colorado Boulder
  • Must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours in Spring 2020
  • Enrolled in a computing-related course with a technical component (in any department) in Spring 2020 **
  • Ability to attend and actively participate in weekly 1-hour meetings in spring 2020

Application Requirements

  • Short essay (~ 300 words) describing interest/curiosity/motivation in the issue of responsibility or ethics in computing
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript  (If you are unable to provide this, we will need instead a list of courses taken so far + GPA + major & academic year)
  • List of courses planned for Spring 2020
  • CV/Resume

To apply, send these materials to with the subject line "Responsible Computing Fellows Application." The deadline is December 6, 2019 at midnight. Fellows will be announced before the end of fall semester.

This program is led by Prof. Casey Fiesler in the Department of Information Science, and is funded as part of Mozilla’s Responsible Computer Science Challenge. You can also contact Prof. Fiesler ( with any additional questions.

Students selected for the fellowship may have the option to receive one hour of course credit as an independent study.

** If you are uncertain if a class you are enrolled in meets these eligibility requirements, please reach out to Natalie Garrett ( prior to the deadline