Christopher McKinnis

Hometown – Pinehurst, NC
Undergrad – University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Meteorology
Current – Public Experiences Presenter, Discovery Place

Christopher McKinnis was born on December 6, 1996, to an African American father and a white mother in Pinehurst, North Carolina.  At a young age, he always showed an interest in wanting to learn and do more; such a spark for learning was kindled early through the supportive guidance of his parents, who constantly stressed the importance of getting an education and taking hold of every open opportunity for success.  However, the road to such an education wasn’t always visible.  When he was in first grade, Christopher was much further ahead than the rest of his classmates, so, as a result, his parents pushed to get more work for him to do as a means of challenging his mind.  However, this request was met with refusal.  This did not deter Christopher’s parents from furthering his education through a more advanced curriculum at home.  Eventually, with continuous pressure, he started to receive a more challenging workload from the school.  This process changed Christopher’s life forever, as it encouraged his parents and him to take it upon themselves to receive the necessary education for the future for not only himself but also for his younger siblings.

Prior to middle school, Christopher tended to be a timid person, never reaching out to other students and staying secluded with his own work.  So, at the start of middle school, he knew that his shyness had to be conquered in order to grow as a student and a future leader in his community.  Science Olympiad gave him this opportunity.  Through numerous regional and state competitions, Christopher not only fueled his desire for knowledge but also discovered who he was and what he wanted to become: a meteorologist.  This intellectual and societal stimulus encouraged him to take his Science Olympiad experience to the next level by initiating the program at his high school as a freshman.  Since then, he has been the captain of his high school’s Science Olympiad team and has accumulated numerous medals at the regional and state levels.  In addition, a passion to help others through volunteer work also encouraged Christopher to reignite the program at his prior middle school, hoping to spark a new interest in STEM education in minds of younger students.  Through his leadership and dedication to the programs at both schools, both teams have achieved much success.

To this day, Christopher has strived to be the best student and leader that he can be, whether it’s at school, in the community, or at home.  He is known as a compassionate yet driven student that always puts the needs of others before his.  Christopher plans to major in meteorology and become a severe-weather specialist.  In addition, he is committed to assisting his community and many others, planning to initiate a non-profit organization targeting local communities and providing them with proper educational tools, resources, and educational opportunities for all students.