On July 18th, 2017, Victoria Challenger of Textron Systems’ Corporate Security team, along with a team from the University of Maryland, won first place in a national competition to curb violent extremism online.
The Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism competition was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Facebook. Challenger worked with a group of her peers from the University of Maryland to create the campaign It Takes Just One.
During this competition, forty-nine universities were given a budget of $2,000 to develop social media campaigns and tools to counter the online recruiting efforts of terrorist groups.
Challenger and her team approached the competition with a clear mission and objective.
“The mission of It Takes Just One is to create a global community of active bystanders,” she explains. “We want to stimulate dialogue about this community by teaching people the signs of radicalization, teaching intervention methods and empowering the public to take action.”
Victoria’s team developed a mobile application video game accompanied by a social media campaign that helps educate users to recognize the signs of radicalization. Victoria was responsible for website development and research throughout the campaign.
It Takes Just One encourages readers to understand that it only takes one person to care, make a difference, or even save a life.
Moving forward, the team hopes to inspire new educational initiatives and policies for bystanders. Its mobile application video game, Operation Genovese will be transformed through interviews conducted with bystanders around the world.
“This will allow us to generate a broader demographic of storylines and characters, leading to different modes of gaming such as virtual reality, board games and escape-room activities,” said Challenger.
"We believe that this strategy can be translated to other issues such as human trafficking or abuse, and would like to partner with the right corporate, commercial and educational partners to explore that further."
“Through this experience, we learned that with dedication and passion, we have the ability to change the world,” said Challenger. “Each team member learned and enhanced important skills while appreciating the meaning of teamwork and communication. The entire process has been both humbling and gratifying, and we are grateful to have had this opportunity.