Dating a graduate student as undergrad
conference social), it might be murky whether her interest/expectations are about professional networking or a romantic relationship (or, problematically, both at once). They created an infographic, available here: https://harass.stanford.edu/be-informed/guidelines-consensual-relationships.Basically, NEVER date undergrads, and teachers shouldn't date any student "when a teacher has had -or might be expected ever to have-academic responsibility over the other party." ("Student" here includes grad student, postdoc, and clinical residents/fellows.) With what you know now, how much does your field fall within all the possible things she might think of studying?
Dating within the same research group, within one’s department or academic unit, within collaborations and between students with large differences in age and experience are all fair game.You should check your school's HR handbook or department policy. If you don't violate their rules, and the relationship is mutually agreeable, best of luck to you both.I just ran across a publication from a very respected professor, at a very respected institution, who collaborates with his wife, also a professor at the same institution, and a co-author on the paper.How big was the conference, and has she already proposed a dissertation that does not overlap with your expertise?Further, depending on HOW you met (e.g., session vs.Visit Stack Exchange I am a 32 year old Assistant Professor. I liked her, but I realized she is a graduate student at the same university where I am faculty member. (My husband was a graduate student at the university I'm a professor at, in a different department in the same school, when we started dating.) The core ethical issue in faculty/student relationships is the power dynamic: it creates an ethical problem if you have power over her career, either in a way that could favor her (leading to concerns about favoritism) or disfavor her (leading to concerns about coercion).
She is from the same school, but from a different department. In separate departments, that's not likely to be an issue: most assistant professors at most universities don't have power over graduate students in other departments.
In an online discussion board, one graduate student notes that “it’s sort of a pain in the ass for everyone else to not be able to go into their workplace without getting sucked into someone else’s personal life.” Possible relationship scenarios are as varied as episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and few have positive consequences for the professional workplace we should strive to achieve at Cornell.
Of course, graduate school is a time when many people meet their (first) spouse, and there are many examples of successful long-term relationships forged by graduate students in the same group or department (just as there are many successful long-term relationships between faculty and their students).
But presuming the relationship was OK by your school's policy and your fields of research are separate enough that you are not going to infringe, you might be OK.
You would have to think about how to ask her out directly, once, making it clear that you have no power over her and there would be no repercussions or hard feelings or pursuit if she said no. (Perhaps see social advice and workplace advice on the delicate question of HOW to / not to ask if you decide to.) This actually breaks into two questions: Is it Ethical? The first is answered most easily by "Check with HR".
When the resolution of these dual-career situations involves placing both in the same department or workplace, the conflicts of interest and complications to workplace dynamics invariably follow.