Gitanjali Rao (2005-) is an Indian-American inventor, author, scientist, and STEM promoter. On December 4th 2020, Rao was named TIME Magazine's first-ever 'Kid of the Year' for her technological innovations that aim to tackle issues such as cyberbullying, opioid addiction, and contaminated drinking water.
At only 15 years old, Gitanjali has several serious achievements to her name. In 2017, she won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and was awarded $25,000 for her invention, Tethys. The device uses carbon nanotube technology to measure lead content in water — a project Gitanjali became interested in after hearing about the Flint water crisis.
In 2019, she was awarded the Top 'Health' Pillar Prize for the TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge for a tool that helps to diagnose prescription-opioid addiction at an early stage.
She was recognized in 2019's Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her innovations, and was honoured with the United States Environmental Protection Agency President's Environmental Youth Award in 2018.
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This is incredible! It is really inspiring to see how more and more youth are getting involved in high-impact projects – and that professionals are becoming more receptive to them.