Aidan Z. Fitzsimons

Hi there! My name is Aidan, and I'm a Technology & Social Behavior Ph.D. student and Cognitive Science specialist at Northwestern University and a hopeful future academic. Before starting at Northwestern, I received a B.S. in Math and a B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and spent two years as a Post-Bacc AI Ethics Fellow with Duke's Initiative for Science & Society.

In my research, I hope to speak to several academic communities: human computer interaction, AI education, design theory, and technology and product law. I want to understand how we can leverage generative language tools to help folks without access to other resources refine and improve their writing, especially in certain high-stakes cases (e.g., application essays, job letters); in my work, I am attempting to design creativity-inspiring intelligent user interfaces to support better writing, especially writing about the self, without sacrificing individual voice, with stakeholders that would benefit from access to these tools. I am also interested in understanding the necessary competencies about technology, AI, and LLMs that empower people to successfully contribute to co-designing tools that help people with improve their writing. Using the development of co-writing tools as a case example, I am studying the dynamics of rigorous multi-stakeholder co-design when different stakeholders have conflicting needs and implicit power positions. And building on my work to understand multi-stakeholder co-design practices, I am interested in understanding and elucidating at what point failing to involve relevant stakeholders and participate in diverse user testing during the design process constitutes negligence from a legal standpoint.

At Northwestern, I am advised by Dr. Elizabeth Gerber in Mechanical Engineering, Communication Studies, and Design as a member of the Delta Lab and by Dr. Duri Long in Communication Studies and Computer Science as a member of the Creative Interfaces Research + Design Studio, working towards my PhD in Technology & Social Behavior with additional specializations in Cognitive Science and Design Research. At Duke, I had the incredible opportunities to work closely with Dr. Nita Farahany in the Law School, the Department of Philosophy, and founding director of the Initiative for Science & Society, Sarah Rispin, J.D. in the Initiative for Science & Society, Dr. Jay Pearson in the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Global Health Institute, and Dr. Daniel Schmitt in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology and the Medical School. 

Academic Work & CV


Get in touch at aidan [dot] fitzsimons [at] u [dot] northwestern [dot] edu :)