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The Best and The Brightest of 2023



Age 17 | Senior
Desert Mountain High School
Zack Okun has loved STEM and robotics since third grade. However, it didn’t take long for him to truly appreciate that early exposure and experience.

“Not everyone has the opportunities I’ve had to build things with my hands, to learn these STEM skills and get those soft skills that are so critical to their future,” said Okun.

Okun started making small project kits and distributing them to schools in his area. Then in 2019, he founded the nonprofit STEMducate, an organization dedicated to advocating and sharing the importance of STEM learning for all age groups. Through various programs, competitions, curriculum development, and special events, STEMducate aims to increase access to quality STEM resources, help students get the quality education they deserve, and help prepare students for the exponentially growing number of STEM jobs available.

Entirely student-run, STEMducate is already making an impact around the world. In just a few years the nonprofit’s programming has reached more than 24 states and 11 countries, provided more than 10,000 volunteer hours and 75 full curriculum lesson plans, and distributed more than 800 AIM (Advancing Innovative Mindsets) kits to students in elementary through high school.

“Do the things that you love to do, find the passion, something that you’re interested in,” said Okun. “From there, see what you can do with it!”

In addition to STEMducate, Okun is also CEO of Okun Enterprises, a digital marketing firm that provides digital marketing, SEO, Web design, and graphic design services to local companies. He is also president of his school’s Student Advisory Board and is a certified Cyber Patriot Tech Caregiver by the Air and Space Forces Association, volunteering to teach seniors how to interact safely with the internet to avoid being scammed.

Zack will attend ASU’s Barrett Honors College, where he plans to study manufacturing engineering. He hopes to run his own engineering firm one day and be an Engineering professor to help shape future generations of STEM leaders.
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