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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Yan Starodubets

Yan Starodubets

Yan is a hardworking 17-year-old student from Kyiv, Ukraine, who has developed his grasp of chemistry and mathematics through success in many competitions and Olympiads. He has subsequently used his knowledge to help others learn by producing educational YouTube videos, teaching in primary schools, and explaining his subjects through other channels. He has accomplished all this under the shadow of, first, the COVID-19 pandemic, and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has made life incredibly difficult for his family and his wider community.

In the eighth grade, Yan became interested in competitions, Olympiads and research, achieving 1st place in the district level of the Biology Olympiad, and 3rd place at the city level. In the following year, he became the president of his school, won a city-level scientific research competition, was runner-up in the Mathematics International Olympiad in Antalya, and runner-up in the All-Ukrainian “Genius Olympiad”. For the last three years, he has been occupied with teaching – first, by making educational videos for an online school, and then working as a STEM teacher (by invitation) for children in grades 1-5. At first he used the money he earned to pay his school fees, but when the war started, he began to teach for free, because school buildings were closed and the quality of online education was often low.

The biggest obstacle to Yan’s education has been the war. The day the war started was meant to be the final of the All-Ukrainian Chemistry Olympiad, for which he had been preparing. Ultimately, Yan’s family moved to the west of Ukraine, where they have had to live in a tiny room and go to a shelter often. Yan did not want to leave Ukraine, because there are lots of students who need help and support in their education, and he believes that real success lies in helping one’s community. In parallel with studying and working at a Ukrainian school, he is now studying at an online US school called Gravitas, which gave him a full scholarship. It has not taken Yan long to become an active participant in the life of the school, and he has already contributed to a scientific program the school organized by working online with students in the US.

If Yan wins the Global Student Prize, he will use part of the funds to help pay for his dream of a US university education. As well as helping to provide for his own family in Ukraine, he would also donate money to help other families and children suffering from the war – many of whom are left without homes and money. With the remainder of the funds, he would continue his research, buy new equipment for his school lab, and provide equipment for other schools.

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