Kid of The Year

Recognizing rising leaders of the next generation, Time magazine has named a young female scientist from Lone Tree, Colorado as its very first “Kid of the Year.” Gitanjali Rao was selected out of 5,000 American kids, aged 8 to 16, and her credentials are impressive.

Inspired by the Flint, Michigan water crisis, at just 10 years old Rao began researching carbon nanotube sensor technology and invented a small, mobile device, called TETHYS, that detects lead in drinking water.

TETHYS won her the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” in the 3M’s Young Scientist Challenge. The device is now being developed into a working prototype for release to the public.

Rao then turned her attention to the problem of cyberbullying and created an app called “Kindly” that uses artificial-intelligence technology to detect cyberbullying language and help re-phrase it.

“The goal is not to punish. Instead, it gives you the chance to rethink what you’re saying so that you know what to do next time around,” She says.

At just 15, in 2020 Rao is a force to be reckoned with, inspiring other kids by holding online, innovation workshops around the world and teaching her process: observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate.

Rao states, “The students that I work with, they just don’t know where to start, I think that if you give them that spark that they can then build off of, then that changes everything. That means one more person in this world wants to come up with ideas to solve problems.”

And what’s next for this young scientist? She’s researching ways to fight prescription-opioid addiction. As well, she’s hit her goal of mentoring 30,000 students.

This “Kid of the Year” is building an army of young inventors and innovators that will someday change the world, just like she is.