Tweed Shire Youth Council member Jesse Wright, 17, has been named a finalist in the global Breakthrough Junior Challenge designed to inspire creative thinking about science.
The challenge, which attracts thousands of entries from students aged between 13 and 18 from across the world, requires them to produce an original video that brings to life a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics.
Just one of 30 people worldwide to make the final, Jesse is in year 11 at Mount St Patrick College Murwillumbah. He is School Captain, a Tweed Shire youth councillor and an extension maths and chemistry student.
Jesse told Echonetdaily he only found out he was shortlisted last week.
‘Since then organisers from the US have interviewed me, my school’s principal and physics teacher as well as mum and dad,’ he said.
‘The prize provides a very significant tertiary level scholarship as well as funding for my school’s science lab.
‘If I was to become the regional (Australian) winner, let alone win the overall competition, it would be an exceptional honour and opportunity to continue with my ambition of improving the life for all on this planet by contributing advances in understanding technology.
Jesse will be attending the National Mathematics Summer School at ANU in January and have also been offered a position in the National Science Youth Forum.
He told Echonetdaily he loves to participate in local and national youth affairs through the NSW Youth Council and has performed volunteer work locally through You Have a Friend and helping homeowners and businesses following the 2017 flood.
‘I have also done volunteer work with a four day Street Retreat in Brisbane aimed at helping the most disadvantaged in the community.
‘Overseas I have done volunteer work through Habitat for Humanity in Nepal and through my school in the Solomon Islands,’ he said.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne described his selection as ‘such an incredible achievement for Jesse’.
‘Council would like to support Jesse’s entry by encouraging everyone to watch these finalist videos and participate in the voting.
‘The prize ceremony has an A-list invitation of the science, arts and entertainment industries and is broadcast on American television. It’s a huge event and will be very interesting and so exciting having one of own in the running.
‘A win for Jesse would be a win for the Tweed as the prize ceremony is broadcast on American television and has an A-list invitation from the science, art and entertainment industries.’
Voting opens Monday 23 October in the United States (tomorrow, Australian time) and closes on Thursday 2 November.
To vote, view the finalist videos on the Breakthrough Facebook page (@BreakthroughPrize) and Like, Share or make a positive comment about the one you most like.
The top scorer will then be invited to attend the Breakthrough Prize Awards in San Francisco on Sunday 3 December where the winner will be announced.