About Admir Barucija : I am a current junior at Mercyhurst University who is double majoring in intelligence studies and political science with a focus on international relations. After graduating from Mercyhurst, I plan to get my master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and to start my career within the intelligence community. I'd love to get an opportunity to work for the FBI or CIA someday.

Judges' statement

Admir created a thoughtful personal statement and a well-designed map. He earned points with us for his engagement of others in discussion about values and priorities in an attempt to build consensus.

Personal statement

 On my map, I received some input from my politically informed colleagues, who provided advice on their ideal congressional districts and what values they considered to be valuable for fair district boundaries, some of which matched my own goals.

The value that I was most looking to prioritize is the quality of each person's vote, which I wished to fulfill by creating competitive congressional districts to ensure each person's vote counts equally.

Another key consideration that I prioritized was making sure that districts were not shaped bizarrely, which I did to avoid creating districts that isolate minorities in a discriminatory manner.

The biggest challenge that I encountered when drawing my map was Pennsylvania's big population centers, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which posed a serious problem in terms of creating districts that came within a 0.5% margin of the target population goal.

Conversely, the same issue arose with sections of Pennsylvania that have a really small population, which resulted in a few districts taking up large chunks of the state.

I tried to counteract both by combining parts of bigger population centers with some portions that have a small population, though certain areas such as in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia alone exceed what the goal is for population in a single district.

Toward the end of my map, when I got to the last few districts, it became a challenge to create all the remaining districts without running out of space on the map, which I tried to balance by splitting up the more heavily populated areas, especially around the Philadelphia area, which caused some really compact districts.

I aimed to keep things balanced as much as possible and avoid creating overly large districts, though it was difficult in the central parts of Pennsylvania.

Overall, my goal is to create a map that encourages increased voter participation and other civic engagement, which in turn would help increase internal and external efficacy.