Aidan Z. Fitzsimons

Hi there! My name is Aidan, and I'm a Cognitive Science Fellow and Technology & Social Behavior Ph.D. student at Northwestern University and a hopeful future academic. Before 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

Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings

Workshop Papers

Out-of-Field Publications

Here's my CV!

Most recently updated 04.15.2024


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