Nishna Singh (Drexel Univ., Philadelphia) - Honorable Mention, Eastern Higher Ed

About Nishna: Hi! My name is Nishna and I am a senior studying graphic design at Drexel University. I have been living in central New Jersey since I was born and have moved back to Philadelphia to finish off my senior year. My hobbies include dancing, fashion, traveling the world, trying new food, and spending time with family and friends.

Judges' Statement

Nishna's map makes an attempt to improve the political power of communities of color. Judges thought she did an effective job. With one majority-minority district, she spread minority populations across multiple districts in an apparent attempt to increase their voting power. It brings up an interesting conversation about the Voting Rights Act and whether it's better to maximize a majority communities of color in a few districts or maybe find a slightly less-than-50% coalition and further their impact in more districts. 

Personal Statement

I focused mostly on how the population would affect each district and its compactness. It was a lot of trial and error at first to have each district reach a steady population. Once each district reached around 748,000 for their population size, I played around with how I could reach a good overall compactness percentage. I think it’s important each district is spread out and not crowded. This again took a bit of trial and error, especially with the extremely small parts of the district that were easily bringing up the population rate higher and higher. The last thing I tried to keep in mind while creating the map was the minority groups. I really wanted the minority groups to be spread out around the state evenly. It’s important to me every district has a variety of cultures. As a minority myself, I loved going to my school and finding people of all different cultures. I remember some of my friends from other districts were really only friends with Indian people because it was a mainly Asian populated district. Not to say anything is wrong with that, but I believe the more exposed you are to other cultures the better. This was more difficult to ensure on the map, but I tried my best. Overall, creating this map was a very interesting experience that I never really thought I would encounter. I was able to learn about how districts really are built and how they can affect the voting population.