Another John Bapst student has entered the international academic competition, the 2020 Breakthrough Junior Challenge. Emily Adams ’23, presented her video (above), “Mosquitoes Odorant Receptors.” Rion George Joshy ’21 has also entered the competition.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual global competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science. Students from 13 to 18 countries from across the globe are invited to create and submit original videos (maximum length, three minutes) that bring to life a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics. This year, there is an additional COVID-19 category. The submissions are judged on the student’s ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways. The Challenge is organized by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.
And the prize is significant.
The winner will receive a $250,000 post-secondary scholarship, $50,000 for his or her teacher, and a $100,000 Breakthrough Science Lab for his or her school.
Emily writes, “ My academic interests are chemistry, forensic science, and physics. My other interests are art, music, and reading. My presentation, “Mosquitoes Odorant Receptors” examines how mosquitoes sense and track us, and how bug sprays work. When I first read about the challenge I knew I wanted to do a topic that was somewhat complex but that also related to many people’s everyday lives. After talking with my aunt, Cheri Sirois, who is a Scientific Editor at Cell Press and Current Biology, and who led me to a website with many articles for ideas, I decided on this topic. It’s something that affects almost everyone. I then started reading more complex articles about mosquito anatomy and the methods for testing how different repellents work. While it was a demanding process, it was also a lot fun. I found new scenic places in my town where my friends helped film, all the while swatting away mosquitoes, ironically enough. I am very grateful for how supportive John Bapst is to its students since I wouldn’t have known about this challenge otherwise. I have big goals for my future, hopefully in forensic pathology, which will pretty much only be possible with a scholarship. College is a very expensive endeavor, especially in a family with three kids. As much as I hope to win this challenge, I wish the other entrants from John Bapst the best of luck as well!
Internationally, all videos have been submitted and the judging process has begun. Viewers can be a judge too by participating in the Popular Vote on The Breakthrough Junior Challenge Facebook page, September 5-20, 2020.
Good luck, Emily and Rion!