The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
During this episode, Courtney Cano and Kaitlyn Tierney, who are graduate students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), discuss their award-winning project: Diverting Hate. Their team studied the ways in which radicalization proliferates online–especially misogyny and involuntary celibacy (incel) culture–and developed prevention methods to help individuals build resiliency.
Kaitlyn Tierney is a passionate leader aspiring to bridge the gaps of technology and policy through conflict resolution, innovative counterterrorism, and empathy. Inspired to take action to heal our ever-polarizing country, Kaitlyn decided to pursue her master’s in policy in 2021 to connect with experts in extremism to address radicalization on social media. Previously, she spent six years in brand marketing, assisting to develop the brand of a successful personal finance technology company, Credit Karma. Aside from my career aspirations, Kaitlyn is a big believer in living life to the fullest. She finds joy in being outdoors skiing and surfing, as well as traveling this beautiful country via her Subaru Forester.
As a first-generation college student, Courtney Cano is a proud product of the public sphere and was fortunate as a child to be immersed in well-funded public schools, libraries, and after school programs. By all accounts, Courtney has made the best of public institutions to advance her station in life. However, this is by no means equally, or even similarly feasible for everyone. Whether by race, ethnicity, ability, sex, gender, economic status, or the likes, Courtney believes that all have varying degrees of privilege. As such, she has always had an interest in access and equity in both the government and society. Courtney’s studies in Political Science, Religion, and Philosophy at Middlebury College were generalist and explored both the philosophical and observed aspects of governance on a national scale. After college, however, she found myself drawn towards the kind of community-building and empathetic advocacy that is necessary to address radicalization after experiencing the polarization and radicalization of her own father. Catalyzed to take action, Courtney decided to pursue her master’s to explore the nexus between policy, society, and innovative counter extremism measures.
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