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UCO Student Project to Defy Extremism Wins First Place in National Competition

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Feb. 27, 2018

Media Contact: Aspen Loard, Student Writer, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2307, ucomm@uco.edu

UCO Student Project to Defy Extremism Wins First Place in National Competition

A group of University of Central Oklahoma students recently placed first in the EdVenture Partners Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism (P2P) competition, which challenges college students to confront extremism through social media.

The Central team developed the uSpeak Project as their entry for this year’s P2P competition. The uSpeak Project aimed to educate students on campus about the importance of freedom of speech and expression.

The team used civil discussions, social media, signing pledges, campus partnerships and a “Speak Your Peace” forum to educate and motivate students. For their first-place finish, the team received a $1,500 scholarship.

UCO’s team specifically focused on the potential threat to free expression on college and university campuses. The team’s research identified the impact that online extremists had on protests that occurred on campuses, often surrounding public speakers. The uSpeak team also developed various online resources to train speakers, protestors and security officials to better support and facilitate peaceful protests and nonviolent actions.

The group of UCO mass communication students includes Kaitlyn Britschgi Carver, from Las Vegas; Shawn Conover, from Oklahoma City; Kalen Russell, from Muskogee, Oklahoma; Macy Atteberry, from Norman, Oklahoma; Chloe Huereca, from Edmond, Oklahoma; Courtney Strothers, from Edmond; Justin Phelps, from Catoosa, Oklahoma; Yeonhee Yoo, from South Korea; Jamie Kisling, Piedmont, Oklahoma; and Yerin Im, from South Korea.           

“This was an exciting competition year for UCO’s Peer to Peer: Challenging Online Extremism team. I think the effort the team put into identifying a relevant but unusual topic enhanced their first-place finish,” said Sandra Martin, the team’s adviser and lecturer in Mass Communication.

For more information about the uSpeak Project, visit www.uspeakproject.com. For more information about UCO’s Department of Mass Communication, visit www.uco.edu/mcom.

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