Student entries

My Year in Review


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


My Year in Review

Emily Ashner

As the 2019 year wraps up I approach my one year start with tPP. Looking back to when I asked to join the project at this point last year, I was at such a different knowledge level in terms of terrorism and extremism. I truly did not understand the meaning of these terms, the extent of domestic terrorism, and the variance of crimes that fall within our requirements on the project. After coding cases for two semesters, I have developed such a strong comprehension for terms of the court, how the prosecution process works, and the details of crime that is so often discussed in the media. I feel so much more connected to current events and a more active member in this realm.

Working on this project has not only provided me with a knowledge base of specific on the projects but has given me so many applicable skills. Big data is the new norm; efficient processing is being used across many domains. The ability to understand not only how this type of processing works, but the opportunity to add to and adapt the system are long lasting skills. The allowance of creativity and input within this process has built a new approach to finding best practice and expanding data in different ways. I appreciate the underlying aspects in which this project has strengthened skills that are applicable far beyond the prosecution field.

As a psychology major, I was unsure of how knowledge in this field would pave my future interests. In an unexpected manner, tPP created such a strong interest in the effects of bias. Working within judgment and decision making research I have understood how strong the influence of bias is. However, I did not understand application until a saw an intersection between this and the results of prosecution in the United States. Not only are judges, jury, and other members within the criminal proceedings driven by personal prejudice, whether conscious or unconscious, but these outcomes therefore influence the bias of society. There are endless cycles found in systemic discrepancy and the only way to break them is to first be conscious of their existence and then act in a manner that opposes this automatic process. Cycles are dangerous in creating continuous disadvantage. Whether the aim of the project was meant to discover this or not, the numbers bring light to the situation. There is such a strong ability of application that can arise from this project and I am excited to see where others may take this and where I can utilize a similar type of information moving forward in my career.

Discussing acts of terrorism brings such a strong emotional component. The large acts that are quickly associated with such are events that affect so many people. These are events that can connect us, but it is important to realize these are also events that are isolating those not responsible. I thank this project for this realization of such. I thank this project for giving me an accessible outlet to gain knowledge on the current state of this type of event and more so the ability to analyze them objectively. tPP has provided me with so many skills I will carry much past this project and I hope students of all majors will take advantage of such a unique project. Dr. Loadenthal and all members of the project are so dedicated and are creating something truly incredible. Thank you tPP, I will miss working on the project but have no doubt of the future success to come!

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