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Boise State Wins ‘Innovate Against Hate’ Competition

Boise State's winning Innovate Against Hate team

A student team from Boise State took first prize in the recent “Innovate Against Hate” competition sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League in Washington, D.C. The competition challenged students to respond to hate and extremism with innovative use of new and existing technologies.

Judges chose Boise State’s project as one of three finalists from 19 participating universities across the nation. Competition organizers invited finalists to Washington, D.C. to give presentations and answer questions before a panel of judges from human rights organizations, religious groups and corporations.

The Boise State team of Andrew Castro, Sydney Skidmore, Abby Wood and Janice Witherspoon addressed domestic violence, sexism and extremism in their project SAME (Students Against Misogynistic Establishments). The SAME project is a service-learning component of Political Science 306 taught by Isaac Castellano.

“This experience has inspired me to further my work in advocacy and speak up so no one has to ever feel alone,” said Sydney Skidmore.

Working on the project, she added, helped her understand more about the pervasive problem of misogyny, or bias against women.

Andrew Castro said the team wants to create a more comprehensive approach to targeting violent misogyny. “I think the competition has inspired us to go even further with our campaign,” said Castro.

Janice Witherspoon credits her political science course as a factor in the project’s success.

“We are asked often times in political science to look at a problem, historical and current, and answer how we would approach it. The development of this skill was imperative to our campaign’s success and eventual victory in D.C.,” said Witherspoon.

The Boise State team brought home an award of $5,000. Finalists also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during their time in Washington.