Youth Science Canada News

Congratulations to Nicholas Johnson

YSC extends a heartfelt congratulations to Nicholas Johnson on becoming the first Black valedictorian in Princeton’s 247-year history — a long-awaited milestone for the university and a well-deserved achievement for the Canadian student. We remember Nicholas from his participation at Canada-Wide Science Fair 2011 in Toronto, where he represented the Montreal Regional Science and Technology Fair.

“Like so many Canadian youth, Nicholas inspires us to dream of a better world and to become active players in that quest,” says Reni Barlow, executive director of Youth Science Canada. “We can’t wait to see what’s next in his career.”

Through his 2011 CWSF project, entitled “Battle of the Bridges”, Nicholas demonstrated curiosity and drive for innovation. The project highlighted design differences between a suspension bridge and a Warren Bridge. Nicholas was awarded a Junior Bronze Medal and a $1,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Western Ontario.

As a young adult at Princeton, Nicholas continued his interest in STEM, majoring in financial engineering and operations research. According to Princeton, his senior thesis “focuses on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms to solve a network-based optimization problem that models a community-based preventative health intervention designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada”.

The YSC community extends its best wishes to Nicholas as he pursues his PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Keep breaking down barriers and leading the next generation into the future!

To view his full valedictorian speech, please visit