Schulich Leader Jonathan Zhou advances to semi-final in Breakthrough Junior Challenge

Engineering student showcases science communications through video on advanced concept in physics

One of Waterloo’s newest Schulich Leaders Scholarship winners is already making a splash in science communications.

Jonathan Zhou, a first-year enrolled in the mechatronics engineering program, was recently selected as one of 30 semi-finalists for the 2022 Breakthrough Junior Challenge, sponsored by Khan Academy. The 30 semi-finalists were selected out of a pool of more than a thousand applicants

The $250,000 scholarship would include a $100,000 donation for science labs at Zhou’s former high school in Calgary and a $50,000 prize for a science teacher of his choice. Zhou entered the challenge by making a 90-second video on an advanced topic in physics (see below).

Zhou is currently in the popular vote section of the judging and is calling for support from the Waterloo Community. The popular vote determines whether his submission makes it to the finals, with the vote ending on September 20.

To vote, simply "like" Zhou’s video on YouTube or on the Challenge’s Facebook page.

"Science communications and connecting with public audiences is something I’ve been interested in for a couple of years," says Zhou. "A video like this, even though it’s only 90 seconds, took a lot of time to make. I’m thrilled it’s speaking to people, and I hope to do more of this work going forward."

Zhou started an organization called Western Mechatronics, which aims to help get young people involved in robotics competitions and education. If he wins the Challenge, he intends to use the funds to support an expanded set of offerings through Western Mechatronics.