Jeff Winxin Collado, a senior high school student at Saint Louis University in Baguio City, made it to the top 30 semifinalists at the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global science video contest for students to inspire creative thinking about science.

The annual global competition invited students aged 13 to 18 from countries across the globe to create and submit original videos, 3 minutes maximum length, that bring to life a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics, mathematics, or the science of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter category was added this year in light of the pandemic affecting the world right now.  The competition, organized by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, offers USD400,000 in prizes to the winner.

Collado, 17, submitted a video on Zoonosis concept, where he talked about how virus transfers from an animal to a human and how it occurs—which is a timely topic—given the COVID-19 virus threatening the whole world right now is theorized to have come from bats.   

“Although there is much to learn regarding the origin of COVID-19, recent studies have shown that it has a zoonotic origin. Tackling this topic did not only shed light on how pathogens transfer from animals to humans, but it also gave the viewers a sense of reflection on their actions. The core concept of the Zoonosis presents that we, humans, contribute to the emergence of new diseases with our activities in wildlife. I want to open the discussion about wildlife trade, wildlife consumption, and deforestation among my viewers. So that they may reflect on how human activities are not only degrading the environment, but are also affecting us negatively,” said Collado.

With a little bit of help from his brother who held the camera for him during the shooting, Collado worked on the project for the whole month. He did all the research, scriptwriting, animating, editing, and producing. 

“I shot my video at my hometown plaza in Binalonan, Pangasinan. Although I am currently studying at Saint Louis University as a Grade 12 student, I still wanted to show that I am a proud Pangasinense by using my hometown plaza as my main filming site.” 

Aspiring to become a molecular biologist someday, Collado loves everything about science. A Batch Valedictorian for both Elementary School and Junior High School, he loves to join science quiz bees and compete in different research forums in the country.

He recently founded a youth-led, non-profit, and nongovernmental organization called Atom Pinoy, whose main goal is to communicate Science to the Filipino people effectively.

The top 30 entries are now uploaded in the official Facebook Page of Breakthrough Junior Challenge. The entry with the most likes, reactions, and shares will go straight to the final round. 

Currently, Collado is at second place in the overall popular vote of the competition. “At this stage, I really need the help of my fellow Filipinos to make my entry the top scorer in the overall popular vote,” he implores his Filipino fans. 

The general public can vote for a people’s choice winner between now and September 20th. Collado’s video can be viewed here: