Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Kenneth Xu – October 2017

By Victoria Feng, Assistant Editor and AKOM Editor
Kenneth Xu, 18-year-old founder of the Student Environmental Education Coalition

 

Quote of the Month

“If you truly put your heart into something, soon enough you’ll be achieving dreams that you never even knew you had.”
-Kenneth Xu, 18-year-old founder of the Student Environmental Education Coalition

October Amazing Kid! of the Month

October is the month of transitioning from Halloween and fall to the joyous holiday season. It’s a time to be celebrated with friends and family, soaking up the beautiful color-changing leaves. There’s apples, pumpkins, and more to harvest and enjoy. In order to keep having so much beauty in nature, we need to protect our environment.

Kenneth Xu experienced smog firsthand during a visit to Beijing and wanted to create a program to educate people about the urgency for protecting our environment. He worked hard to develop programs that not only taught kids about environmental science but gave them hands-on experience. Now, SEEC has impacted students around the world. His story is one of how one event can make a huge difference.

Keep reading to find out more about Kenneth and his work!

Filling the Gap

When visiting highly populated areas like Beijing, the capital of China, Kenneth wasn’t able to even see 50 feet in front of him due to the intense smog. Growing up in North Carolina, Kenneth was relatively sheltered from the effects of pollution, but this event opened his eyes to the problem and inspired him to teach others about the need for environmental protection.

Kenneth understands the importance of educating future generations and made it his mission to focus on kids. He believes that kids need to be taught science before their opinions are affected from political beliefs.

In high school, Kenneth launched the Student Environmental Educational Coalition (SEEC), a nonprofit organization that aims to educate kids about protecting the environment. Students are able to participate in summer camps, campaigns, seminars, and service learning projects.

Kenneth is at work building pollinator gardens.

One of the events the SEEC hosts each year is the NatureWay Camp for kids 6-10 over summer break, now in the fifth year running. Participants learn the basics of identifying plants, listen to guest speakers, and execute their own environmental projects. Recently, the organization won a Disney Summer of Service grant for its camp.

When he’s not out working on SEEC, Kenneth enjoys listening and playing music. He loves scouring for vinyl records and indie music. Kenneth plays the piano. In high school, he was chosen as section leader in All-State and All-National Concert Bands for soprano/bass clarinet.

Reaching Out to Everyone

This past summer, Kenneth went back to China to educate younger students there about the importance of environmental science. There, he gave talks and answered questions about his work. Kenneth describes the kids at the Chinese schools to have been “amazingly receptive.”

Kenneth speaks to students in China about the importance of protecting the environment.

Back at home, Kenneth has invited Duke University Professor Staurt Primm and former Special Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy Teryn Norris to speak at his high school, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. These speakers were part of the Student Environmental Education Coalition Colloquium Series.

Right now, one of Kenneth’s biggest challenges is getting more people who live in rural areas interested in SEEC and its mission. Kenneth explains, “My biggest pet peeve is when influential non-scientists, namely politicians, attack environmental science without understanding how the science actually works, which only increases public confusion about the world’s most pressing problems.” He hopes to counter this by expanding more in rural areas.

Kenneth encourages younger kids to seek out new opportunities. He credits his own success to actively networking and participating in the community. Through mentors including his piano and biology teachers, Kenneth has been able to flourish and succeed in high school. Being active in the community was key to his success in winning competitions and scholarships.

Stand Up for Your Beliefs

This fall, Kenneth will be heading to Yale University. He plans on double majoring in Environmental Science and Economics. He would like to have a career that allows him to become an advocate for environmental sustainability and show that being environment friendly and promoting economic growth can coexist. In his own words, “…I think that developing financing approaches to ensure resource stewardship is how I could personally have the greatest impact.”

We know Kenneth will go on to achieve great things and wish him the best of luck on his journey! If you are interested in learning more, you can follow SEEC on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ncseec/.

One comment

  1. Kenneth was one of my high school classmates! One of the smartest guys I know 🙂

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