Aditya Bhandari (Carnegie Mellon Univ.) - Honorable Mention, Western Higher Ed

About Aditya: Hey everyone :) I am a recent covid graduate from Carnegie Mellon University c/o 2020. I majored in Information Systems and minored in Bussiness Administration. I currently work as a software engineer for ProteinSimple in the Bay Area. I love to travel (virtually on my laptop for now), play/watch sports, and volunteer in my community.

Judges' Statement

Aditya had some well-reasoned arguments in his personal statement. He did very well on limiting county splits (2nd lowest county splits among semifinalists in the region). This is an important proxy to achieve communities of interest, which was her goal. A nice map across the board.

Personal Statement

I am a current student (as of spring 2020) at CMU who has been an active member of this community for the past 4 years.

Picking the criteria that were the most important to me, was one of the hardest parts of this project. It required me to really think about what criteria I felt were important, as each had its pros and cons associated with them. In the end I decided to order the criteria, in order from greatest importance to least, as equal population, contiguity, communities of interest, competitive elections, county/municipal splits, compactness, minority representation, party advantage, and incumbent protection. I had many reasons for picking this order. First of all I felt that equal population in the districts would make voting the most fair as every district would have the same say (same number of votes). The next two categories I picked were contiguity and communities of interest. I picked these two next as I felt that areas that were close by would also similar interests as they were in similar geographical areas. The next criteria I had was competitive elections. This was important to me as I felt that both sides should be able to have their voices heard. If the minority keeps losing eventually they shall get frustrated. By keeping the collections competitive, it will make sure both parties have the interest of the communities at heart. The next two categories I picked were county/municipal splits, compactness. I didn’t want to split a lot of districts up as I felt the voters would want to vote about things that were closer to them, districts may also have their own identities. Compactness again went back to the point of places close together tend to have similar interests. The last three categories I picked were minority representation, party advantage, and incumbent protection. These were the ones that mattered least to me when coming up with the redistricting.