Smith Students Win Pair of Ethics Video Prizes

Four Smith College students grabbed Best Video and Best in Theme prizes in a video challenge launched by the Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society at the National Academy of Engineering.

The four — Stephanie Annessi, Monique Blake, Xinyi Liu, and Rajiha Mehdi — won with “Transnational Nuclear Waste Site Selection” within the theme, Directions for Energy Policy – Issues of Fairness and Sustainability. The overall topic of the challenge, conducted last fall, was the ethics of energy choices and energy research. Students across the country submitted 18 videos on topics ranging from fracking to wind farms, from nuclear waste disposal to smart grids, and from use of public transportation to the energy costs of the meat industry, according to NAE.

The Smith video explores issues of fairness in nuclear waste siting, with consideration of the intricacies and power dynamics involved in choosing a nuclear waste dumping site. It says nuclear waste can persist as a danger to health and environment for thousands of years so site selection is a high-stakes decision. Fair negotiations are necessary to balance today’s needs with those of future generations, and the needs of communities near the waste site with those of the communities that consume nuclear energy.

The project’s adviser was associate professor of engineering Donna Riley.

Click here to view the winning entries or watch the additional submitted videos, including the People’s Choice Award (“Thorium Future” by Robert Truppner, Scott Reardon, Frank Coppola and Bryan Vianco from Stevens Institute of Technology).


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