Black excellence

Meet the 16-year-old on course to become the first African-American to build a reactor that will provide his community with clean energy

INNOVATOR: Steven Udotong

MEET 16-year-old Steven Udotong who has set his sights on becoming the first African-American to build a nuclear fusor, a machine, he hopes, will create clean energy for use by his community and the nation.

Steven, a junior at Cinnaminson High School in America, has already made “immense progress” but hit a “roadblock” due the lack of materials.

He has since set up a GoFundMe page to help him finish the project.

“I have already made immense progress on this, but I hit a roadblock because I need a few more materials to completely finish my reactor,” he said.

“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, whose parents are Nigerian, acquired the guidelines for building the reactor online and has also received plenty of guidance and feedback online.

He has already spent 20-30 man hours on the project and still has a lot more to accomplish.

“So far I’ve been motivated by family members. I’m interested in sustainable energy, alternative sources aside from coal we’ve been using in factories,” he said.

In 2015, Steven was accepted into the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, which enabled him to take part in an engineering workshop in Singapore in 2015.

“200 people from around the world, rising sophomores and juniors in high school, were invited to the Yale Singapore campus,” he explained.

“They immersed us with other students who were really successful. The trip there changed me a lot.”

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