Student Activist Zack Kopplin Wins $10,000 Troublemaker Award for Standing Up Against Creationism and for Science

The Troublemaker Award committee has named 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin the Troublemaker of 2012 for his leadership and advocacy efforts to prevent the spread of creationism in public education. Kopplin has been selected from among many exceptional applicants who demonstrated creativity, spirit and dedication in working on a broad range of social and environmental issues.

While still a high school student in Baton Rouge, Kopplin's bold campaign to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act has made waves in state politics and in public education. Kopplin has gathered the support of 78 Nobel laureate scientists and major science organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His petition to repeal the law has 74,000 supporters across the United States.
Working with Sen. Peterson of Louisiana, Kopplin has fought for two bills to repeal the LSEA. He has spoken out before the Louisiana legislature and the state board of education, debated creationist politicians, held rallies, and had been covered in hundreds of interviews in international and national media such as MSNBC. A student at Rice University in Houston, Kopplin is preparing to fight for a third repeal bill.

Founded in 2012, the Troublemaker Award is a global contest for individuals and groups of people under the age of 20 whose unconventional activist efforts make a positive and lasting impact. The award is unique in its focus on fostering creativity and activism in teenagers in a way that harnesses their natural inclination to bend the rules. In fact, the ability to question the status quo, to speak their minds, to organize and to take action, are some of the main selection criteria. The $10,000 cash prize helps support and propel their efforts.

Semyon Dukach, the founder of the Troublemaker Award, is a seasoned troublemaker with a vision. He is an angel investor and a serial entrepreneur, passionate about helping young entrepreneurs and social activists realize their most daring dreams. 

Kopplin plans to use the $10,000 awarded to him to increase the impact and reach of his campaign. The funds will greatly aid his most recent venture to call for accountability on the issue of millions of dollars in school vouchers being spent to fund schools across the United States that teach creationist ideas. He also plans to use this money to help build the Second Giant Leap movement (, which calls for a permanent end to science denial legislation and for a trillion dollars of new science funding in the next decade.

Kopplin said, "We need a Second Giant Leap for mankind, and we need a student movement of troublemakers and truth-tellers who are willing to stand up and speak out to make this a reality." 

Applications for the Troublemaker Award 2013 are currently being accepted. To apply or to nominate a candidate, please visit the Troublemaker Award website.