Breakthrough Junior Challenge: STEM Interview

Hey Cuties,

Today is hump day and that means we can see the weekend right over our shoulders. My son turned 11 yesterday and we did a little small celebration for him. He is a far cry from the baby boy I brought home from the hospital. He is in the midst of a major growth spurt and my pockets can’t seem to keep up. He is almost as tall as me, his foot size has surpassed mine and his sixth grade homework is more that I can handle. WHY IS HOMEWORK SO COMPLICATED!

Despite all of that life goes on and we adjust as necessary. My son is a natural creative and I love that. I’m more arts and craft and he is more build, test and program. Babe is an Engineer and very handy so I can’t take all of the credit. The two of them have done some great experiments.

Breakthrough Junior Challenge 1

STEM talk is all the rage in education, so what is it, and what are all the variations they’ve added?

  • STEM {science, technology, engineering and mathematics}
  • STREM {science, technology, robotics, engineering and mathematics}
  • STEAM {science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics}
  • GEMS {Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science}
  • STEMM {science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine}

Last year Nasir participated in a county STEM Day; after only being in the robotics program at his school a week. Despite that he and a couple of class mates won first place; they took home cool toys, a laptop and a programmable robot. They were interviewed and felt like little celebrities. I’m all about building my kids college resumes as early as possible.

 I had a chance to interview Ohio high school student Ryan Chester. Ryan is the first winner of a new college scholarship. I’m talking $250,000 towards his education for doing something he loves. He created a 7-minute video that explains Einstein’s special theory of relativity out of his love for STEM and curiosity.

Ryan Chester


Q: Where did your passion for science come from?

A: In fourth grade I was into science fiction and outer space and time travel.  Over the years I learned real science, this year especially. That is what inspired me to enter the competition.

Q: What are some basic ways Elementary kids can get into STEM?

A: Look for competitions similar to this one. Science Fairs, competitions that require a video submission.  The best way to really understand science is by explaining it to someone else in a new way.

Q: What has been the best part of this entire experience?

A: The best part was the ceremony , it was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. Meeting and talking with all of the smartest and richest people in the world.

Q: You’re a teen, how has this changed your life socially?

A: I feel like I was a bit of a celebrity in my school before this.  Before it was just for test scores, this one will take it over the top. I hope it doesn’t change my life to much, I don’t want to become overwhelmed by everything.

Click HERE to view the winning video!

The Breakthrough Prize {founded three years ago includes Google’s Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.} launched their first-ever Breakthrough Junior Challenge. It is an annual, global competition for science and math students to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics or mathematics.  This year the Challenge accepted more than 2,000 qualified applications from 86 countries. Participants had to create original videos that brought to life their concept/theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics.

Prize: The winner received $250,000 in educational prizes, the teacher who inspired the winning student won $50,000 and the winner’s school received a state-of-the art science lab.

Breakthrough Junior Challenge- STEM Interview

What are your thoughts on STEM? Do you teach it? are you children into it? Do you work in the industry? Chat with me in the comment section below or FB, IG or Twitter.


Article written by:

Mimi Robinson is the Lifestyle Media Correspondent and editor behind MimiCuteLips®. She is a wife and mother of two. You can find Mimi working media at your favorite events, traveling and trying out new adventures, or working on a dope DIY project.

Join the discussion

  1. Bree

    I’m a super fan of STEAM because I think the arts are undervalued and music has a way of helping students think and learn in way that other domains can not. Happy birthday to your son and major congrats to that young man. That is a major scholarship!!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Bree, I totally agree. I’m a fan of the arts, my Babe played the sax and he talks about it all the time. He has even shown the kids a few notes.


  2. Antoinette

    Thanks for sharing this. I absolutely love to see kids excelling in academics and enjoying it. The pride that it instills in them is invaluable. SN: I completely understand what you’re saying about those growth spurts. From the age of 9 my son’s shoe size has matched his age. He’s now 16 in a size 15.5. So far, he’s holding at that size. Pray for me lol.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Dear God Antoinette, Girl; you get ALL the prayers, I don’t even know where to shop for a 15.5. Let alone the cost, thanks for making me appreciative for his size 8. lol

  3. Arnitris

    How insightful is he? Nice post. I wish my girls were interested in robotics.

  4. Aisha Johnson Adams

    Great to see your son loving Science and Math. STEM is definitely one of the positive things in education.

  5. Aisha Johnson Adams

    Also Glad to learn to learn more Ryan Chester.

  6. Nicole Brewer

    This is so awesome and inspiring! I’m glad you got a chance to interview him and showcase his talent and great job by your son too.

  7. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    This is awesome. Both of my boys LOVE all that STEM stuff, so we try to incorporate as much of it as possible into their lives.

  8. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    STEM is the future of the planet. With everything becoming more and more technologically oriented, our kids need to be on the forefront of that.

  9. Jeanette

    Wow what a smart and cool kid! He will never have to worry about college loans! My son love science so I should look into something like this.

  10. Melissa

    This is great! My daughter is very creative and inventive also. She won her 4th grade invention convention recently and one of the judges was an engineer from HP, he told her no matter what she goes to school for he wants her on his team when she graduates! It is so much fun watching them grow and acheive isn’t it?

  11. Tonya C

    Yes, STEM is all the rage right now. My daughter actually has a class called STEM now.

  12. Kasi

    I’m sure you are super proud of you son! STEM seems like a great concept! Very cool that you got to interview Ryan, it’s nice to hear his perspective on certain things.

  13. Liz Mays

    This is so inspiring. I love that kids are getting excited about science and tech. My son ended up majoring in a biological sciences.

  14. Miles L.

    It is great to hear about students who pursue their passion and gaining something in return. I think it should inspire and encourage everyone to never lose heart when pursuing their passion in life.

  15. Holly

    Happy belated birthday to your son!! So many birthdays this month. Love the prizes from the competition. I had friends who did robotics and did the competitions back in high school. Love that more and more kids are getting into it.

  16. LaVonndra Johnson

    Awesome young man you have there! Keep pushing him to do great things.

  17. Bonnie @wemake7

    Wow! That is great that Ryan won that money and you got to interview him. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Chasing Joy

    Happy Birthday to your son. As a kid I was good in math and science. It never occured to me that other kids (and girls in particular) were intimidated and not encouraged in those areas. I like the emphasis on STEM. It’s good that all kids be exposed to every type of learning and opportunity.

  19. lisa

    We have STEM and GEMS in my kids’ school and my girls love all things math and science. I think it is so great for them to learn.

  20. Camesha | Mama Motivator

    My kids are just getting into school – so we haven’t been fully exposed yet. My husband’s background is in engineering so he is ALL about STEM. My son would be more a STEAM kid though. The kids a little artist. 🙂

  21. Christine @MomsNCharge

    This is so cool. I just recently learned about kidgineer.com and looking to sign all three up for the next cycle of classes. I need my kids to learn so they can start helping mommy with my apps, website and blog LOL

  22. Dogvills

    I didn’t know there were many variations now. These are all great programs for the kids.

  23. Nancy @ Whispered Inspirations

    That is so cool! My daughter hasn’t got into it yet but, I think she will find it fun.

  24. Chubskulit Rose

    This is a very good program for Sciebnce enthusiast kids. My daughter is into this kins of stuff.

  25. Adriana

    Such a fun interview to read! Thank you for sharing this! Loved it!
    xo Adriana –

  26. Ann BAcciaglia

    $250,000 thousand for education is one amazing prize! What a great opportunity for young students.

  27. alexandria

    Wow. Thats a great scholarship. I was pumped I got like $300. Lol. I never did too well in school. I love seeing younger girls, especially, be into science and math. I was the complete opposite.

  28. Claudia Krusch

    So important to inspire young ones! They are our future!

  29. JanetGoingCrazy

    This looks like a fun event. My boy is only 7 and I can’t imagine him in the double digits. Happy Birthday to your “baby” boy.

  30. Shanéy Maharaj

    Wow, his parents must be really proud. Great interview, I’m sure he is an inspiration to many kids.

  31. Jonna

    Awesome! I was a science/techy kid but I hate school so I knew that I couldn’t do that in college! I quickly changed my major and get all my tech fun trying to maintain my blog. Kudos to Nasir! You’ve got some pretty awesome kids 🙂

  32. Starkey

    I absolutely love STEM. I work for 4-H, and it’s focus is primarily on STEM education to the youth. Technology is so prevalent in today’s world, and it’s important to encourage and educate the youth on it.

  33. LaShawn

    I kept hearing about STEM so I HAD to look it up! Now I’m always on the lookout for programs for my son! $250, 000 is a great scholarship!

  34. CourtneyLynne

    Awwwww happy birthday to your son!!!! Stem seems to be the “in” thing these days. I keep hearing such amazing things.

  35. Maggie Branch

    Stem is a great concept that ranges from elementary school through college. Congratulations to this young man on his great accomplishment!

  36. Sarh S

    I love STEM and how it’s such a big thing everywhere! My daughter loves her school science fairs and once she’s older if she still loves science I will be sure to provide all supplies needed for those projects. She has attended several STEM events, including one with her Girl Scout troop at one of our children’s interactive museums.

    • MimiCuteLips

      That is awesome Sarh, its a male dominated field. I love to hear about girls making their mark. Keep encouraging her to stick with it.

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