Breakthrough Junior Challenge Winner Reveal! Homeroom with Sal - Thursday, December 3 | Summary and Q&A

December 3, 2020
Khan Academy
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Breakthrough Junior Challenge Winner Reveal! Homeroom with Sal - Thursday, December 3


The 2020 Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner, Maryam Tsegaye, is announced, along with a conversation between her and the 2017 winner, Hillary Andales.

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Key Insights

  • 🧑‍🔬 The Breakthrough Junior Challenge provides an opportunity for young scientists to showcase their talent in science communication.
  • 🤗 Participating in the challenge can have a life-changing impact on winners, opening doors to educational and career opportunities.
  • ✊ The winners' videos on complex scientific topics demonstrate the power of effective communication to make science accessible to a wider audience.
  • 🥺 Pursuing interdisciplinary approaches and combining scientific research with science communication can lead to meaningful contributions and broader impacts.
  • 🥺 Overcoming fear and embracing failure as a learning opportunity can lead to personal growth and success.
  • ❓ Limited resources should not discourage participation in the challenge, as creativity and passion can still produce exceptional results.


  • Hi, everyone, Sal Khan here from Khan Academy. Welcome to the homeroom live stream we have a very exciting show. I guess you could call this a show today where we're gonna announce the 2020 Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner. But before we jump into that, I will give my standard announcements reminder that we are not for profit. We can only exi... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Hillary Andales approach the Breakthrough Junior Challenge and what impact did winning have on her life?

Hillary initially felt intimidated by the international competition but decided to participate with a mindset of learning. Winning the challenge led her to pursue education at MIT and consider science communication as a career. It has changed her life significantly, allowing her to reach a wider audience and pursue her passions.

Q: What made Maryam Tsegaye choose quantum tunneling as the topic for her video?

Maryam stumbled upon the concept of quantum tunneling while researching entropy and found it fascinating. She felt that she could explain it in a way that would be accessible to a broader audience, which led her to create her winning video.

Q: What are the future plans of both winners?

Hillary is currently a sophomore at MIT majoring in physics. She plans to pursue a PhD in astrophysics while continuing her science communication efforts. Maryam intends to major in physics, focusing on interdisciplinary programs. She also plans to pursue science communication and hopes to make a meaningful impact in both areas.

Q: What advice do the winners have for young people interested in participating in the Breakthrough Junior Challenge?

Hillary advises not to be afraid of failure and to view any setbacks as learning experiences. She believes that taking risks and seizing opportunities can lead to personal growth and new possibilities. Maryam encourages aspiring participants to not be discouraged by limited resources or lack of technical expertise. She emphasizes that passion for science and a desire to share knowledge are the most important factors.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Sal Khan makes announcements about Khan Academy's non-profit status and the need for donations. He thanks corporations for their support and encourages listeners to consider making a donation.

  • Sal Khan interviews Hillary Andales, the 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner, about her experience and how it has impacted her life.

  • Maryam Tsegaye, the 2020 winner, is introduced, and she discusses her winning video on quantum tunneling and her future plans.

  • Both winners share their experiences in creating their videos and express their passion for science communication.

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