Conant senior in top 30 for international math and science competition
A Conant senior is among the top 30 students in the world for the Breakthrough Junior Challenge and in the running to win Conant $100,000 towards a math or science lab.
Krisha Jivani, ’20, saw the competition through a Khan Academy advertisement and decided to enter. The challenge encourages students with an interest in math and science to create a video about a topic of their choice. After fifteen days of researching, filming, and editing, she created a video about magnetic levitation, the science behind high speed rail trains.
“Because of physics last year, I wanted to do a topic that was the hardest to understand,” Jivani said. “So I narrowed it down to rotational dynamics and magnetism.” It turns out, she said, that magnetism allows for the study of interesting topics like maglev trains. However, her interest in math and science was not the only reason she entered. Jivani said her inspiration for joining the competition was actually her interest in video editing. She loves playing around with special effects and editing tools in her free time.
While Jivani has a natural talent for and interest in science, the competition also requires participants to nominate a teacher who inspires them in these disciplines. Krisha nominated Richard Cortez, a math and computer science teacher at Conant.
“I’ve known him for over three years, and he’s one of the main reasons I have the drive to try difficult things despite the odds. He believes in me even when I don’t, and he always inspires us, telling us that it’s very much within our reach to do amazing things,” Jivani said. Cortez’s computer science class is one of the most interactive and engaging classes for Jivani.
“I think a large part of [her success] was the problem solving skill level she learned,” Cortez said. But Cortez has taken steps to make computer science more than just lines of code. “We also try to teach soft skills of being able to create a presentation and being able to speak to an audience in a way people are interested in what you have to say,” he said.
If Conant were to receive the $100,000, Science Department Chair Sharon McCoy said the department would create a class like AP seminar, where students can learn and participate in scientific research. Math Department Chair Derek Fivelson said the math department would invest in their computer science curriculum, meaning Conant students could get to dive into topics like gene editing or algorithms in automation.
Jivani said she hopes to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, then go into the entrepreneurial part of the technology sector and open up her own company. In the distant future, she hopes to open a Bollywood production studio in India, and go back to her film roots and produce movies. She feels pretty overwhelmed and think it’s crazy to be amongst the top 30 in the world, but she is grateful for the experience and success she has achieved.
The next round of the competition is determined by a popular vote. To help Jivani qualify for the top 15, leave a like, share, or positive reaction on this Facebook post. Voting begins today and ends Sept. 20.