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Gitanjali Rao - TIME's Kid of the Year

What sounds too challenging for most people is a piece of cake for 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao.

An exceptional scientist and innovator, Gitanjali was named TIME's first Kid of the Year at such a young age. Her track record includes a wide range of problem-solving projects in technology, cyberbullying, and even clean drinking water.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of her jaw-dropping innovations. Her slogan? Focusing on one exciting solution rather than trying to solve every problem that's out there. Fair enough.

1. The invention of Tethys for clean drinking water.

In 2017, Gitanjali invented a device that detects lead contamination in water. When she was 10, Rao heard about the Flint water crisis while watching the news and became interested in ways to measure the lead content in water. This led to her developing a device called Tethys based on carbon nanotubes that could send water quality information via Bluetooth. As a 7th grader, she was named America's Top Young Scientist for a project inspired by the Flint crisis - and it only took her five months!


2. The invention of Kindly to prevent cyberbullying.

Through AI, Gitanjali has found a way to detect cyberbullying in real-time. It has also made an invention that diagnoses prescribed opioid addiction early. Both have their own mobile apps.

Rao was also awarded the Top “Health” Pillar Prize for the TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge in May 2019 for developing her diagnostic tool – Epione; based on advances in genetic engineering.

3. TED Speaker and Forbes 30 Under 30

4. Marvel Hero

Gitanjali Rao was even featured in Marvel’s Hero Project for her contributions to society. Her episode is called Genius Gitanjali.

To which she commented,: “I think that being a scientist is like being a superhero, because superheroes save people, and want to do what is best for their society – scientists do the same exact thing.” Moreover, she is currently a member of Scouts and has enrolled in the Scouting STEM program in the United States, and is working on getting her pilot's license. Impressive for a 15-year-old, right?

If Gitanjali teaches us one thing, it’s that it’s never too early. The same way Wayan Nyo, in our previous blog, taught us it’s never too late.

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