Emily Bleiberg ’22

ThinkerAnalytix, Cambridge, MA

In my mind, education inequity is the greatest issue our contemporary society faces, one dangerously linked to socioeconomic advantage. As such, over the last few years I’ve devoted myself to extracurriculars centered on increasing education access. While I don’t know exactly what I want to pursue in the future, I’m extremely interested in the field of education and how it intersects with other sectors such as law and policy.

Thanks to the Kraft Family and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, this summer I had the opportunity to explore the field of education more deeply through interning at ThinkerAnalytix, an education non-profit co-founded by Williams alumna Anne Sanderson ’84. Partnered with Harvard’s Department of Philosophy, ThinkerAnalytix strives to teach critical thinking more effectively and equitably. I am so grateful for the critical thinking skills I’ve amassed through my liberal arts education and was incredibly excited to contribute to ThinkerAnalytix’s important mission.

ThinkerAnalytix teaches critical thinking through an educational philosophy of mastery learning coupled with argument mapping. Essentially, argument maps visually structure a thesis into its components, premises, and assumptions. In our increasingly polarized world, one where conducting meaningful discourse with those of other perspectives has never been more difficult, argument maps help us isolate the exact point or assumption that is contentious. In the process, it becomes easier to acknowledge all you might agree on instead of focusing on the disagreements and completely rejecting the other side’s humanity.

The majority of my work revolved around creating content for an updated critical thinking course for high schoolers being developed this summer. I crafted exercises asking students to distinguish between arguments, fights, and descriptions, identify different components of an argument structure, and to map their own arguments. In addition, I led a focus group of high school students who provided feedback on our course. I conducted individual Zoom meetings with these students to help teach them the material, answered any questions they had, and communicated their feedback to my supervisors. Even though the constraints inherent to a remote internship are obviously difficult to navigate, my supervisors made my experience remarkably fulfilling. I am so grateful for how much I learned from them and my fellow college interns this summer!

Overall, interning at ThinkerAnalytix helped me gain valuable experience in the field of education and in the non-profit world. As ThinkerAnalytix is focused on educational philosophy, I hope to expand upon my experience this summer by taking philosophy classes in my remaining two years at Williams. In addition, my own critical thinking skills became stronger through argument mapping, abilities that will contribute tremendously to my research as a history major and in my post-graduation life. Thank you so, so much to the Kraft Family, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and the Center for Learning in Action for their generous support. I am incredibly grateful for the guidance I received—this summer would not have been possible without it!