Students compete in Map The System competition, winners to compete at Oxford

Winners of UVU's "Map the System" competition: Kate Hickman, Clayton Rawson, Ivette Pimentel, Josh Leon and Jorge Garcia, from left to right. Photo courtesy of the Center for Social Impact.

The Center for Social Impact hosted its annual Map the System competition to decide which participating team would compete in the international Map the System competition hosted by the University of Oxford.

Taking place Dec. 3 in the Clarke Building, the competition saw presentations from five groups on topics ranging from the Great Salt Lake, to depression among college students. Cassie Bingham, director for The Center for Social Impact, conducted the event and shared the importance of systems thinking and the special opportunity the competition represented.

The five teams who presented along with judges on the left. Photo courtesy of the Center for Social Impact.

“It’s all about opening minds, and strengthening conversations,” Bingham remarked.

Five teams of various sizes competed in the event, and each presentation was unique to issues that the groups were passionate about. The winners were decided on by three judges following their presentations.

The winners of the competition spoke about “Uranium Mining in the Navajo Nation.” Their presentation linked the rise of health problems among Indigenous Peoples and the radioactive pollution on the reservation with, “lack of representation of indigenous perspectives, poor trust between stakeholders, and a history of genocide and exploitation.”

Team members included Kate Hickman, major in bioinformatics, Jorge Adan Garcia, major in biology, Ivette Pimentel-Padilla, major in public relations and strategic communication, Clayton Rawson, major in chemistry, and Josh Leon, major in bioinformatics.

As Bingham had stated, the event succeeded in spreading questions and thoughts to the audience through each presentation. One example was the presentation given by Sydney Clark, major in sociology, and Samantha Costa, major in business, on sexual assult of females in the military.

“We all have to speak up,” Samantha Costa stated when discussing how we could initiate change in the military. Serving in the Utah National Guard, Costa knows people who have dealt with post traumatic stress from assaults within the military.

The audience was full of supporters for the presenting teams. Nathan Costa, father of Samantha Costa and educator, spoke about how the competition was a great opportunity for students.

“I think it’s a great way for kids to make an impact [on the world],”said Nathan Costa.

Breanna Lambert, a master in social work, and her group presented on the poor access to mental health treatment for the black community in Utah. She expressed how the competition really seemed like a unique opportunity to learn.

“It seemed like a cool opportunity to learn about systems thinking,” Lambert stated. “…and who doesn’t want [to win] a free trip to Oxford?”

The winners of the competition will be sent to Oxford to compete on behalf of Utah Valley University at the close of the spring semester. For more information, visit the competitions website.

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