16-year-old Steven Udotong is on a mission to dispel the myths about nuclear energy by building his own nuclear fusor, which he hopes will help create an environmentally cleaner future. Steven, who is a junior at Cinnaminson High School in New Jersey, already started working on the project; however, he was unable to finish due to lack of materials. This led Steven to start a GoFundMe page, where he explains:
"Nuclear energy shows great promise to drastically reduce our greenhouse emissions and I want to be able demonstrate the potential of this energy in our society and encourage investment into energy sustainability. We only have one Earth and I strongly believe it is important that we maintain it for all future generations as best as we can."
Steven developed a keen interest in nuclear energy after it was briefly discussed in his chemistry class. He then went on to do some research of his own and discovered that he could build a nuclear fusor. Last summer, Steven was accepted into Yale University's Young Global Scholar Program, which afforded him the opportunity to travel to Singapore and work in an engineering workshop.
It appears that excellence runs in the family as Steven's older brothers attend Harvard, MIT, and Princeton University. When his brother Emmanuel, who's a computer science major at Princeton University, asked him what would becoming the first Black student to build a nuclear fusor mean to him, Steven responded:
"I’m motivated knowing I’m proof that there are many ways for minorities to pursue success. Sports and music are not the only avenues for us. There’s room for us. In fact, there’s a need for us to participate in academia, business, art, law, medicine, and, yes, nuclear energy. I hope this project will become an example of academic excellence as a vehicle of accomplishment for Black students."
Since starting his GoFundMe page, Steven has exceeded his goal of $1,500. Now, it's not a question of if, but when Steven will complete his nuclear fusor, because when he does, he will make history.