It all started with AP Chemistry, where Jason Ge’s teacher encouraged him to compete in the Chemistry Olympiad. In his first year competing, Jason became the only freshman finalist among 20 students at nationals. A year later, he advanced even further, joining the top four students in the nation as they comprised Team USA and took home the silver medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad.

However, Jason, now an incoming senior at Westview High School, took home more than just the medal. “I witnessed a few experiments that a professor demonstrated during nationals and realized that using science to perform a show could have great potential for young kids,” explained Jason.

Last summer, Jason began outlining his vision for a nonprofit organization – one that would make learning exciting to young students through science-based magic shows and hands-on activities. With this, in August 2012, Catalyst for Success was born.

IMG_5385 (2)Since then, the organization has made significant strides. After recruiting a few classmates who shared his passion for science, Jason began contacting elementary schools about bringing assemblies to the students. “At the beginning, one of the biggest struggles was that we did not have any credibility or name recognition.” Finally, in February, the principal of Sundance Elementary School, Bob Rodrigo, took a chance and let Catalyst for Success come perform a show. “It was a huge success and from then on, contacting schools was much easier,” shared Jason.

As of today, Catalyst has reached over 11,000 students with 15 schools in the Poway, San Diego, Chula Vista, Del Mar, and Oceanside Districts. Due to its great success, Catalyst also earned the support of an advisory board, comprising of Todd Cassen, the principal of Westview High School, Dr. John P. Collins, Poway Unified School District Superintendent and Dr. Marinda Wu, President of the American Chemical Society.IMG_5420

But Jason doesn’t want to let the organization stop there. His next goal is to establish high school chapters of Catalyst and have them running at Westview, Del Norte and Rancho Bernardo high schools by the start of the school year. “Our ultimate goal is to promote STEM education to as many students as possible. I know that our program can be applicable to any high school that has students passionate about sharing science with kids.” Jason hopes that with these steps, “Catalyst will become a lasting program that continues to benefit our communities.”

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Full Name of Organization: Catalyst for Success
Year of Establishment: 2012
Mission: Promoting STEM to young students
Upcoming Events: Training sessions with new chapters
Non-profit ID #: EIN: 46-1136319, ID #: 31522