We interviewed 2018 Science & Engineering Fair of Houston Winner Kabir Jolly, and he answered some of our questions about how he came to like STEM:
CEEF: Tell us a little about yourself (your name, age, grade level or job title/description, etc). Also share your favorite thing about STEM (why do you like it?).
KJ: My name is Kabir Jolly. I am 16 and a sophomore at The Academy of Science and Technology. My favorite thing about STEM is the multitude of solvable challenges that lie within this field. It gives people an opportunity to practice and strengthen their problem solving skills to overcome any obstacles.
CEEF: How old were you when you realized you were interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?
KJ: I have been interested in STEM ever since I was around 10 years old in 4th grade.
CEEF: What would you say to a young student who doesn’t like STEM?
KJ: I would tell them to keep exploring STEM. Since they are young, they have not been exposed to the numerous facets of this field. I encourage them to keep looking because there is a part of STEM for everyone.
CEEF: Did you have any teacher(s) who mentored you or inspired you to pursue STEM?
KJ: My elementary school teacher, Mrs. Brock, was very influential in inspiring me to pursue STEM. The engaging activities and experiments that left our 3rd grade class in awe played a big factor in my continued interest. In the past 2 years, my school’s headmaster, Dr. Caffery, has been very influential as well. She provides a lot of support and feedback, which has been invaluable for science fairs, and motivating for continuing STEM in college and beyond.
CEEF: What are you currently working on that involves STEM?
KJ: My science fair project that tackles the food waste problem using an app-based service is something that I am working on that involves STEM. It actually includes every aspect of the acronym: I conducted intensive research about the problem (science), I used databases and simulations to increase functionalities of my project (technology), I programmed and developed an application (engineering), and I used math to optimize user time and payments (mathematics).
CEEF: What have been some of your biggest challenges in your academic pursuits? What have you done to overcome them?
KJ: For the most part, I have enjoyed my academic pursuits. However, one big challenge I am currently facing is deciding between fields of interest or potential career parths when I enjoy both equally. Although it is definitely early to make a decision like this, I want to focus more time on one area. My plan to overcome this is to explore both a little, because I do not want to limit myself to one area. Once I understand all the aspects I can potentially dive into in each of these areas, I will be able to make an informed decision.
CEEF: Where do you see yourself in 10 years (and even in 20 years)? What path do you plan to take in order to accomplish those goals?
KJ: In the future, I hope to combine my fields of interest to start a successful business that uses software or an invention as an integral part of the company. I plan to learn a lot in entrepreneurship, as well as engineering/computer science to be able to accomplish these goals.
CEEF: How could you help others to get involved in STEM?
KJ: Helping others get involved in STEM, in my opinion can be done through a lot of outreach. Whether it is altering curriculum at schools, or holding events similar to Energy Day, I feel that making people (especially young children) aware of the fun behind STEM is integral to getting them involved in this area.
We look forward to keeping up with Kabir as he pursues his interests in STEM!