This article describes a National Science Foundation-funded project that engages graduate students in the active development of context-specific codes-of-ethics based guidelines for use in their research group. By actively engaging students in ethics discussions specific to their everyday practice, this approach has the benefit of situating ethics education within the research environment where ethical issues often arise. This approach has the potential to empower participants by helping them become aware of the rules and often unacknowledged norms that exist in research groups. The guideline development process facilitates discussions between Principal Investigators and trainees about these crucial issues. The topics addressed in the guidelines include authorship, lab dynamics, mentoring relationships, peer relationships, and issues of inclusion. The project also highlights significant differences between faculty and graduate students in what ethical issues they consider most important in the research environment. While faculty tended to concentrate on more traditional responsible conduct of research issues such as data management, complying with regulations for animal and human use in research and authorship students focused on the topics of power dynamics, relationships in the labs, and issues faced by international students and other marginalized groups. The guidelines developed offer both a reflection of the current ethical culture within the research environment and give students a voice addressing these perceived issues. The iterative process of revising these guidelines engages stakeholders at the university, including students, faculty, and administrators to participate in ongoing discussion and reflection on issues of research ethics in a way that may facilitate real change from research groups up to the department and college level.