Students present Fukushima disaster-related research at ethics conference

Author: Laurel Clements


With the Liu Institute’s support, Notre Dame students Robbie Wachter and Allan Njomo were invited to present their research projects for the 30th Annual Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) International Conference on February 27.
Robbie, an environmental engineering senior, presented "Relationship Among Coastal Hazard Countermeasures and Community Resilience in the Tohoku Region of Japan Following the 2011 Tsunami.” In addition to his conference presentation, his research article has been submitted to an academic journal with engineering professor Kevin Walsh and business professor Jessica McManus Warnell as co-authors, both of whom are faculty fellows of the Liu Institute. 
Allan, a business analytics and political science junior, presented his research project titled “How has the Japanese healthcare system adjusted to the aftermath of the 3/11 'triple' disaster?”
Robbie and Allan were among 10 students selected to participate last spring in the “Energy, Justice & Fukushima” project, a multidisciplinary effort funded by the Liu Institute and led by professors McManus, Walsh, Noriko Hanabusa (East Asian Languages & Cultures), and Anna Geltzer (Science, Technology, and Values). The original plan was to have the students conduct research in Japan along with the professors, but the trip was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the change of summer plans, Robbie and Allan decided to undertake individual research related to the Fukushima project. 
Both applied for and received funding through the Liu Institute’s Roberts Endowment for Undergraduate Research in Asia to support their research and, ultimately, their conference presentations.
Conference attendees represented fields from engineering to law, philosophy, bioethics to corporate ethics. The aim of the association is to bridge multidisciplinary work in ethics research and teaching, and encourage faculty/practitioner engagement.  
McManus, who introduced both students at the conference, said both presentations were impressive. “I have already received an email from a distinguished scholar in international business ethics praising the students' ‘outstanding’ work, and another from a long-time attendee describing their ‘excellent’ talks.
“Robbie and Allan fielded questions with poise and thoughtfulness.  I couldn't have been more proud of their work, and they represented the Liu Institute and Notre Dame well.”
“Community-based research undertaken by multidisciplinary faculty and students is more important now than ever. At this ten year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, and in the context of ever-increasing natural and man-made disruptions—those associated with climate change, and those like the pandemic, which reflect our interdependence with each other and with the environment around us—we must continue to examine issues of justice and well-being in the global context.”