15-year-old scientist is Time's first Kid of the Year
TORONTO -- Time magazine has named its first Kid of the Year and she’s a 15-year-old scientist from Denver.
Gitanjali Rao says she’s curious about the environment and ecology and that she loves to learn.
“I cannot see a world filled with kindness without science and technology being involved,” she said in a video on Time’s website, that also features a chat between Rao and actress Angelina Jolie who interviewed her for a cover piece in the magazine.
Rao developed a device that detects lead in drinking water and connects to a mobile app. She said she was inspired to build that by the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
She’s also used technology to tackle opioid addiction and cyberbullying.
Rao says she wants to inspire others to get into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“My goal has really shifted not only from creating my own devices to solve the world’s problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well. Because, from personal experience, it’s not easy when you don’t see anyone else like you. So I really want to put out that message: If I can do it, you can do it, and anyone can do it.”
Rao was chosen from a field of more than 5,000 Americans aged eight to 16.
She is a three-time TEDx speaker, the recipient of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s president’s environmental youth award, and in 2017 was named America’s Top Young Scientist and included on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.