The Summer Tiger Challenge cohort had an exciting mid-program check-in this week, with teams giving presentation updates and gaining valuable feedback from faculty advisors, administrators, and each other.

The Hard History team is addressing the issues associated with teaching complicated history in New Jersey’s K-12 school system. They interviewed educators, community leaders, and students to understand the obstacles in teaching America’s history in a complete and truthful way. They learned the importance of creating a connection between honest history, current events, and future change. The team also realized that addressing the untold history of our country is not only about the oppression of certain peoples, but also the unrecognized contributions non-white people made to our country.

The Sustainable Reusable team is leaning towards focusing on single-use plastics and New Jersey’s upcoming statewide ban on straws and grocery bags. They conducted interviews with advisors, professors, students, local business leaders, and environmental organizations. They researched recycling facts and myths, steps to create behavioral change, and brainstormed outside-the-box ways to look at the problem.

Makers-not-Takers ruminated on the topics of language, history of war, integration, perceptions, prejudices, and community associated with the immigrant experience in the United States. They interviewed first and second-generation immigrants as well as bilingual educators and researched national immigration data. They will continue with interviews and then move on to synthesizing their findings.

Understanding the relevance of implicit bias in the New Jersey housing and credit score industries is the focus of the Racist Everyday Technologies team. Their initial interviews and research brought to light the critical need for solutions in this space. Next steps include targeted interviews and a deep dive into the affordable housing and homelessness issues in New Jersey.

“The teams have made great progress in these four weeks. Many of the students went into the projects with nothing but passion. However, through interviews with real people, secondary research, and lots of thinking and discussions, the teams are gradually becoming experts in the topics themselves. The feedback, comments, and questions they got from the midsummer presentation will help them immensely in the future weeks to come.” – Jessica Leung, design program manager.