Junior Geek of the Month: Orion Razat wrote the book on STEM jokes, and has whale of a new idea
Orion Razat is a busy kid.
The newly turned 12-year-old is already an accomplished author who is working on his second book. He’s also an entrepreneur, animator, public speaker designer and dreamer.
Add Junior Geek of the Month to the list, too, as the seventh grader has notched that honor for August, presented by Northern Trust in recognition of talented young scholars, innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.
A jokester in class with a love for science, technology, engineering and math, Orion was inspired by a teacher to combine the two.
“The teacher didn’t exactly like me telling jokes during class,” Orion said. “They understood that it was for a good intention, so they told me to maybe write all my funny and silly ideas in a book. And then that could be shared at a dedicated time during class.”
The idea turned into a published book called “101 STEM Jokes,” a mix of geeky STEM-related puns, fun facts and activities for kids.
“I didn’t exactly see that coming,” Orion said of becoming a published author, selling his book on Amazon.
Orion’s mother Imani Razat said the love for writing and drawing started at a young age, when Orion was already developing a knack for storytelling. She gave him blank books from the art store which he filled with narratives about his imaginary friends. He began to bring his homemade books to school to share during “rug time.” In kindergarten, he declared himself an author, she said.
Orion’s parents encouraged him to animate his imaginations and to share them on YouTube. He learned Adobe After Effects and started a “production company” called Rocketshipsquid. Under the same handle on Instagram, Orion just unveiled a new T-shirt design that combines his love of chemistry and ice cream.
Orion’s journey to becoming an author has landed him in various publications including Parent Map, STEM Spark blog, Red Tricycle and The Week Jr. His animation has been projected at Seattle’s Museum of Museums and he was a winner in the University of Washington’s 2020 Neuroscience for Kids poetry contest.
Orion lived in New York City before his family moved to Seattle four years ago. His dad Kaza Razat works in artificial intelligence, and is creating a startup and chatbot geared toward health and wellness. His mom is in school at Johns Hopkins University, studying communications.
Orion has a keen interest in transit and city planning. He likes to build in “Minecraft” and “Roblox.”
“It’s a nice way to spend your time, creating something instead of just mindlessly staring at videos and dudes dancing on YouTube,” Orion said.
During homeschooling lessons with his mom, he uses the design program Sketch to make his own custom transit maps, making up communities and imagining who has access to transportation and green spaces. Building equitable cities is important as part of his lessons.
And now he’s onto book No. 2.
“I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s like a science fiction novel,” he said, before giving up a bit more on the project. “The basic premise is that this kid sees a sick whale on the news and he tries to help it. And then he makes a device that allows him to communicate with the whale. The entire world has its eyes on him and the tech he created and then the whale ends up speaking for the oceans at the U.N.”
Orion said the book takes place in the future and will feature robots and high speed trains, among other things. He hopes to collaborate with activists and marine biologists to promote the book and its environmental message.
His own outlook for the planet is a mix of excitement and reservation. He thinks the future could be a really big leap for humanity in terms of technology, but at the same time, 2020 was “crazy enough,” he said, and the next 20 years could be crazier.
He doesn’t know yet what he wants to be when he grows up, but he already understands how he can help.
“I kind of just want to have a lasting impact on how people view climate change and plastic in the oceans,” Orion said. “I feel like this book might raise some awareness, make some sort of change, I hope.”
Nominate a Junior Geek
GeekWire will feature a new Junior Geek of the Month in profiles meant to capture how they are looking to make a positive impact on the world through their geeky pursuits. In addition, they’ll receive special recognition from our project partner, Northern Trust.
Do you know an exceptional Junior Geek between the ages of 12 to 20 who is going to change the world? Submit a nomination.
Nominees must be residents of the Pacific Northwest, and parental information must be included for those nominees under the age of 18. Jr. Geeks may nominate themselves but please be sure to include your parent or guardian’s contact information.