Our Mission

ABOUT OUR CAMPAIGN

The mission of It Takes Just One is to create a global community of active bystanders, and to stimulate dialogue about this community by teaching people the signs of radicalization, teaching intervention methods, and empowering the public to take action.

Our Objective

The primary objective of It Takes Just One is to provide a platform for people who have witnessed or may witness his/her loved ones radicalize towards violent extremism. It is our goal to allow these people to share their stories, provide a platform for them to speak with others with similar experiences, and provide resources for those who want to help their loved one but lack the knowledge to move forward. At It Takes Just One, it is our belief that it takes just one person to care, just one choice to make a difference, and just one action to save a life. We would like bystanders of all types to share their stories, even if it is not specific to countering violent extremism, because someone who feels empowered to intervene in other situations might feel empowered to intervene in a situation involving radicalization.
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How It All Started

How does the video game tie in with the campaign?

Why a video game was answered in the above question. It will be called Operation Genovese, named after the story of Kitty Genovese, a girl who was stabbed to death as 40 neighbors stood by and did not call the police. The video game is currently in the development process with a programmer and should be available to the broader public in less than a month. It will be an app which can be downloaded on any smart phone and will be advertised extensively on our Facebook, twitter, and tumblr.    

How did the idea for this campaign come about?

Last semester in BSST338V we were taught to use design thinking in order to solve a community-based problem that would ultimately act to decrease radicalization and counter violent extremism. To choose our community we thought about under-utilized communities. Our group was interested in both domestic and international terrorism and wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between the two. That's when we arrived at bystanders, a universal community which is extremely underutilized. As we read more and more articles, we found that oftentimes families said "I had absolutely no idea!".

We conducted interviews, including with mothers whose sons had joined ISIS and never returned; everyone said that they either had no idea something was wrong, didn't know what to do or say, didn't want to turn in a family member / friend, or didn't know if someone was simply joking and therefore intervention would be deemed "overreacting". We asked "what would have been most useful to you at the time"? Every single person said that resources telling them how, when, and why they should intervene would have been incredibly useful. At that point in class we used the design thinking method to answer the question "How can we disseminate information about minimizing the bystander effect to the public a way that they would be interested in consuming the material and interacting with it?"

Our goal was to be creative and feasible. This is when we first toyed with the concept of Escape the Room, which is an interactive game in many metropolitan areas in which people are trapped in a room for a maximum of one hour with a goal of answering the clues to figure out the key to unlocking and escaping the room. We thought we could create our own theme which would involve discovering the clues of radicalization and taking the appropriate actions to get out of the room, effectively stopping a terrorist attack.

With this idea we ran into some copyright issues; we had to change directions a bit. We had already been discussing making a video game version of our in-person interactive game, and decided to consider ways to take the idea and transform it into a choose your own adventure game. We chose a game, as opposed to simply a website, because there are numerous studies which support the idea that people are more likely to consume information if they are passively rather than actively learning. People of all ages consume information from the internet and smart phones, which means that creating material that can be digested in this format would be most salient with our audience. When we were invited to participate in P2P this semester we simply expanded the idea from a video game to an entire social media campaign.   

Is this work -- the Just One -- done in class or outside of class? What makes you want to commit your free time to it?   

It Takes Just One is part of a competition funded by the Department of Homeland Security. The class in which we created the ideas and conducted the research behind the campaign was a one semester course in Fall 2016. This is not for a grade. As a team we were extremely passionate about our community; the people we interviewed were so enthusiastic about our class project and had so much gratitude for our interest in the bystander community that we all felt a deeper emotional connection to them. Our motive is definitely a deeper enthusiasm and emotional connection towards our interviewees. Also, we would be crazy to turn down the opportunity to be associated with the Department of Homeland Security, considering that all of us hope to pursue careers in counterterrorism--so this is a resume building and networking opportunity as well.   

How do you think Just One is different from previous P2P campaigns? What are its strengths? What new line of thinking/discussion do you hope it opens?   

Last semester when we completed our presentation the judges were incredibly enthusiastic about our community. More than one judge (who were comprised of START associates, an ex-FBI agent, and other government affiliated staff) commented that they had "never seen anything like it" and were excited that we had chosen "such an underrated and under-talked about community". I believe that we have latched onto an initiative which is important in all start-ups -- give the public something that they do not realize they need, but once they have it, cannot live without.

In the past P2P campaigns have focused on disseminating information to create cohesion and promote acceptance among the broader public. We have given a new name to the public, who tend to think of themselves as separate individuals -- bystanders.

Every single person has been a bystander at some point in his/her life. We are honing in on a key problem while disseminating that information in a fun way. Photo campaigns will draw in youth, video games will draw in players of all ages, and discussion posts will draw in adults. We hope that we can create a united front against the bystander effect while opening doors to a new platform of communication between bystanders. Many people are too self-conscious to ask "is this overreacting?" We can gives these people the tools to evaluate and a platform which has an education on the subject without a connection to the authorities. We are building a new and much needed bridge.   
Meet The Team
Tayler Schmidt
Tayler Schmidt is a junior Criminology and Criminal Justice student with a minor in Global Terrorism. She has worked on terrorism-related projects funded by the FDA, DoD, DNDO, DoJ, and DHS through the National Consortium of the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and is currently conducting cybercrime research. Tayler intends to pursue her Masters and Doctorate in Criminology with a concentration in either terrorism or police studies. She aspires to enter the world of academia to influence national security policy. 
Victoria Challenger
Victoria is a Criminology and Criminal Justice student at the University of Maryland. She has interned with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and Textron Systems. Her goal is to obtain a career in counterintelligence. This project is one way she hopes to make a difference in the fight against terrorism. 
Brittni is a graduating senior at the University of Maryland. She is obtaining her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Global Terrorism. She has been associated with the START Consortium since Spring 2015 and is currently working on a CBRN database. She is the social media and PR outreach chair of the It Takes Just One team. Brittni hopes to enter the workforce in the field of counterterrorism in the fall and wishes to eventually pursue a Ph.D in counterintelligence or counter-bioterrorism.    

Brittni Fine
Marcella Goldring
Marcella is a junior who is working towards a B.S. Individual Studies program in International Security and Terrorism Studiess, with a minor in Global Terrorism. She is currently the Graphic Design chair of the It Takes Just One team, and has worked hard to ensure our ideas come alive visually. Following graduation, she hopes to pursue a Masters in Terrorism and Homeland Security policy from American University. In her down time, she is an avid figure skater, Latin dancer and artist, and hopes to find a way to apply her creative talents to the world of counterterrorism.
Elizabeth Streit
Elizabeth is a sophomore Arabic Studies and Persian Studies double major and a member of the Persian Flagship program at the University of Maryland. Participation in this project inspired Elizabeth to join the Global Terrorism Minor, and it is her goal to continue the fight against extremism. After graduation, she hopes to begin her career in the field of counterterrorism.