The Unknown Jungle

"A Book, A Lesson, An Education Tool Targeting Implicit Bias"

Photo of Megan Chen

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

February 5, 2003

Where are you located:

State 1: Newark, Delaware
My Location: 104 Jasmine Run, Newark, Delaware, 19702

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Blog: http://www.beeremarkable.weebly.com
Instagram: megan_chenn

Date Started

March 1, 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I started this project due to my personal cultural identity crisis. Growing up Asian American, I often did not know whether to be more Asian or American. Constantly hearing all of these negative stereotypes about what being "Asian" is supposed to be, put negative images in my mind, and I was not proud of being my culture. It was through these events that led to the project that I am currently working on. It was problems like this: discrimination, stereotyping, and implicit bias, that made me feel that way. I became very passionate to start working on this problem so that other people who went through similar things like I did, would be able to stick up for themselves, and not be put in those situations. Everyone should be proud of who they are no matter what race/ethnicity they are, and should not be judged on that. Although everyone is different, no one is less than anyone else.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I am helping to solve the problem of implicit bias, specifically racial implicit bias. Constantly, people judge other people based on the color of their skin without even knowing it. With all of the different stereotypes that we hear of other races/ethnicities all the time, that is what becomes ingrained in our minds. I hope through my project that we are able to break those stereotypes.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Right now I am working on creating a children's book targeting the problem of implicit bias. I am completely done with writing it, and I am now working on the illustrations with my illustrator. I hope to publish the book in the next couple of months, and be spreading it to schools starting in my area. I think that stereotypes our formed in our minds at a very young age, and through my project I hope to teach kids these important values from that young age. This book will come with a teacher's guide, and hopefully later be developed into an entire mini lesson/curriculum on implicit bias, stereotyping, and diversity. I think that if kids know what to look out for, they are the future, and this will plant the seed to solve this important issue.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When anyone knew get involved with my project, I will begin with explaining my story, what I am currently working on, and where I am at in my project. When I first started to work with one my mentors, I didn't really know what I was doing. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to solve, but no idea of how to get there. It was through talking with her, that I found that this problem that I was dealing with was not alone. People of all different races struggle with a similar problem that I had to deal with, and it was through that common ground that I was able to continue with my project. I have found that through every person that I have talked to in the process, I have learned something new. It was when people started to read my children's book, and became almost emotional and could relate to the problem the protagonist was dealing with, that I knew that my project could make a difference.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

I think that my project is very different compared to the other projects out there. I do not think that there are projects like mine currently that are targeted for young kids, and I also believe that this project introduces this important concept in a fun and unique way. Growing up, I do not remember receiving any sort of lesson or having the opportunities to learn about this topic. I think in this light, my project is very original.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far, I am still working on developing my project. Over the summer, I will hopefully be reading my book to kids and receiving a lot of their feedback. Solving a problem like this, is not a instant thing. I hope to spread this book and lesson to my community and hopefully plant the seeds to make these differences. I think that a topic like this is also not something that is measurable, hopefully once I get more kid perspective I can see how impactful my project really is. So far, the mentors and people I have been working with have enjoyed my story, many being teachers themselves, and are willing to bring this book into their classrooms.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

My first step is to self publish on Amazon and spread this book myself. During that time, I also hope to be talking to different literary agents who can help me get my book out there, and let it reach more schools. In order to take my project to the next level, I hope to take this book which simply introduces the idea in a fun way, and turn into a lesson that is for kids and for schools, that schools can really use and kids can really benefit from. I hope to have new partnerships in the later half of this year, and will hopefully be expanding and finishing soon.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Right now I have a lot of support for my project. I have teachers, mentors, and even professors interested in my project. I think that once I really publish my book, I might need help with contacting schools and advertising my book, but that is a bit further down the road. I think that moving forward, the main thing that I need is to contact literary agents in order to get my idea out there. I also need help and support in expanding my project, as I am not very familiar as to how to develop the full on curriculum.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Right now I have engaged many of the people I am currently working with by sharing my story, why I am passionate about this topic, and by talking about how impactful it can be for schools and especially kids. I think that other young people can definitely get involved, by spreading the word, and also help and spread this idea in their schools. I think that everyone, no matter what age, can make a difference, and every person can take an idea, develop it, and make it something really amazing and impactful. I also hope that through my project, this can inspire other people to do great things and go outside of their comfort zone.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Zack Jones

11 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Omar Varela
Team

I think that focusing on younger children is very important when it comes to bias. There are a lot of things that are ingrained into children at a very young age, and I think that this project may have the potential to try and reshape what is being taught to children. I think that especially focusing on the curriculum part of this is very important so that a good conversation can be tied to this book.

Photo of Megan Chen
Team

Yep, I totally agree! That is exactly the direction that I focused my project. I tried to include some of these similar ideas in my video, but ultimately many stereotypes/ biases are definitely formed from a young age and that is what I want to tackle. Thanks for visiting my project!

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