Skip to main content

The McCain Institute, EdVenture Partners, and Credence Management Solutions Announce Invent2Prevent National Campaign Finalists

John Hopkins University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and George Washington University will compete as collegiate finalists. Three New Jersey high schools – Glassboro High School, Passaic County Technical Vocational Schools, and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy – will compete as high school finalists. 

Finalists will compete in Washington, D.C. on June 28th. RSVP to watch HERE.

WASHINGTON, D.C. . The top three high school and top three collegiate finalists for the Spring 2023 iteration of Invent2Prevent will participate in a live competition to be held in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, Wednesday, June 28.

Coordinated by the McCain Institute, EdVenture Partners, and Credence Management Solutions LLC, Invent2Prevent is a national student competition to identify new, whole-of-society approaches to prevent targeted violence, hate, and terrorism. Out of the 22 university teams competing this semester, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans were named as finalists. Of the 18 participating high school teams, Glassboro High School, Passaic County Technical Vocation Schools, and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, all out of New Jersey, were selected. The final competition on June 28 affords the six finalist teams the opportunity to present the projects to a panel of experts, receive feedback, and win cash prizes to sustain their work.

“Youth involvement is a critical part of the public health approach to prevention. Invent2Prevent empowers our youth to tackle issues of hate, violence, and extremism in their backyards and lead the way in building more safe and resilient communities,” said Brette Steele, senior director of preventing targeted violence at the McCain Institute. “The level of innovation, ingenuity, and creativity that we see each semester of Invent2Prevent is incredible, and the teams this semester have set the bar extremely high for the final competition.”

“This semester, we saw Invent2Prevent teams pull out all the stops when creating and implementing fresh and truly unique social and digital media campaigns to address targeted violence and hate in ways they believe will be most effective in their schools and communities,” said Tony Sgro, founder and CEO of EdVenture Partners. “It has been very encouraging to see the positive response and strong level of interest school administrators have for this DHS-funded, peer-driven, experiential program. There will no doubt be more impressive campaigns created by our imaginative and brilliant youth in future iterations of this program.”

About the collegiate finalists:
As part of this semester-long project, each university team evaluated a current threat facing the nation and identified an opportunity to create an initiative, product, or tool to better educate a specific target audience on the potential vulnerabilities that could lead individuals to consider targeted violence or terrorist acts. Teams were given a modest budget of $2,000. Each of the three finalists identified a different topic and will provide a 15-minute overview of their specific effort and answer questions posed by judges during the in-person final competition.

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.:  Talk with Me
The George Washington University team created Talk with Me, an initiative which introduces critical thinking and analysis through debate in order to combat radicalization, conspiracy theories, and misinformation that push youth toward extremism. Talk with Me seeks to counter the “us vs. them” narrative by hosting an online platform and competition for at-risk youth, ages 16-24. An estimated one-quarter of mass attacks from 2016-2020 were driven by personal grievances, belief in conspiracy theories, and hateful ideologies. Research has proven that de-platforming is counterproductive, and that honest critical dialogue is the best way to win hearts and minds. Through structured, moderated debate in a safe environment, Talk with Me empowers youth to think critically, identify illogical arguments, discern whether a source is propaganda or reliable, and acknowledge and deal with the perspectives from an alternative view.

John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD:  My Vibe Check
The John Hopkins University team created My Vibe Check, an online tool developed in response to the alarming number of school shootings in this country. An overwhelming majority of perpetrators of targeted school violence struggle with mental well-being, and many of those perpetrators leak their plans to others prior to committing a targeted act. My Vibe Check is an online tool that uses a threat assessment to provide school counselors with students’ emotional wellness trends and helps leverage student/counselor relationships. Students anonymously report their daily feelings through a secure questionnaire, and that information is consolidated into easy-to-understand graphics for counselors to view in real time. My Vibe Check increases the protective factors of positive school environments and mental health services in schools by helping counselors to identify at-risk students and providing students with supplemental support through journaling and online resources.

Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA: Still We R.O.S.E. (Recognizing Our Shared Experiences)
The Xavier University of Louisiana team created Still We R.O.S.E, an initiative to embolden students at historically black universities and colleges to stand up against the resurgence of antisemitism in the African American community. Generation Z are more likely to lack media literacy, even though they are digital natives. While they are extremely savvy about navigating digital platforms and sharing viral digital messages, they are less likely to distinguish between truths and conspiracies online. When it comes to misinformation about Jewish Americans, young African Americans are a vulnerable target audience. Still We R.O.S.E. confronts the misinformation spread by prominent African American public figures, most notably Kanye West, about Jewish Americans.

About the high school finalists:
As part of this semester-long project, each high school team evaluated a current threat facing their school or community and created an initiative, product, or tool to better educate a specific target audience on the potential vulnerabilities that could lead individuals to consider targeted violence or acts of hate. Teams were provided with an optional modest budget of $1,000. Each of the three finalists identified a different topic and will provide a 12-minute overview of their specific effort and answer posed by judges during the in-person final competition.

Glassboro High School, Glassboro, NJ: R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Reaching Every Student Providing Encouraging Caring Thoughts)
The Glassboro High School team created R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Reach Every Student Providing Encouraging Caring Thoughts), an initiative to resolve social isolation in student populations at their school. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. involves a mentorship program that connects incoming freshman or underclassmen with upperclassman mentors to effectively introduce and familiarize students with the school and environment. This program helps underclassmen assimilate into the student population, helping to reduce the possibility of student isolation. Mentors serve as a source of information and are familiar faces and role models of what is expected out of a high school student. Mentors introduce their mentees to the high school faculty and staff during Freshman orientation and show them around the building. Mentors provide a welcoming feeling to the incoming underclassmen and encourage them to get involved in school activities, clubs, and sports.

Passaic County Technical Vocational Schools, Wayne, NJ:  Ending Insensibility
The Passaic County Technical Vocational Schools created the Ending Insensibility campaign to stop violence and bullying against those with disabilities. The student body at Passaic County Technical Vocational Schools has 20 percent of students with special needs. Ending Insensibility believes that bullying against people with disabilities is a recurring event throughout the globe but is rarely talked about in school communities. The #endinsensibility social media campaign was launched to raise awareness of this issue. Ending Insensibility aims to promote a safe school environment by reducing the occurrence of bullying of people with disabilities, educating people about the different kinds of disabilities, and dispelling misconceptions related to the special needs community.

Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Elizabeth, NJ: MyRoom
The Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy created MyRoom, an app that guides children and young teens in the right direction, steering them away from the path of bullying others. MyRoom was created with the goal to implement healthy habits, develop a sense of community, and educate users on healthy coping mechanisms. With over 10 different customizable features, MyRoom can provide a personalized experience curated to create a safe space for users. MyRoom implements a variety of mental health resources and connects users with mental health professionals. The app provides opportunities for daily affirmations, journaling, playing games, and tracking daily healthy habits such as drinking water and caring for a pet.

Follow the progress of the Invent2Prevent finalists and learn more about the upcoming Spring 2023 Invent2Prevent (I2P) Final Competition on the I2P social media accounts @invent2prevent on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Click here to attend the Final Competition on June 28 or to view the livestream.


About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs advance democracy and human rights, empower character-driven leaders, combat human trafficking, and prevent targeted violence. Our unique power to convene leaders across the global political spectrum enables us to make a real impact on the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a free, safe, and just world for all.

About EdVenture Partners
EdVenture Partners (EVP) builds academic partnerships to address social impact, marketing communications, and other business-related challenges for Fortune 500 companies, governments, NGO’s, and trade associations. EVP has partnered with nearly 1,000 academic institutions in 76 countries worldwide with more than 250,000 students participating in peer-to-peer experiential learning programs.

About Credence Management Solutions LLC
Credence Management Solutions, one of the largest privately held government contractors, is among the top vendors under the GSA OASIS vehicles, and is also proud to be one of the fastest growing privately held firms in the U.S. over the last decade (according to Inc. 5000).

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

DISCLAIMER: McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization that is part of Arizona State University. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent an opinion of the McCain Institute.

Publish Date
June 27, 2023