Gitanjali Rao is a young author, scientist, inventor, and STEM promoter of Indian American origin. Back in 2017, she rose to fame after winning the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. She has since won many accolades in her field for her passion and knowledge in science and technology.
She has used her innovation skills to mitigate social issues such as addiction to opioids, the rise of cyberbullying, and limited access to potable drinking water. Her enthusiasm and consistency put her on the global map in 2020 when she was named the very first Kid of the Year by TIME Magazine and featured on the magazine’s cover.
5 Facts about Gitanjali Rao
Gitanjali Rao became a published author in 2015 at just 10 years of age after self-publishing Baby Brother Wonders, a self-illustrated book that captures her younger brother’s curiosity.
She is TIME’s first-ever Kid of the Year, a title she won after beating 5000 Americans aged between 8 and 12 years in 2020.
She was only 10 years old when she communicated her interest to her parents in conducting research on Denver Water Quality Research Lab’s carbon nanotube sensor technology.
Gitanjali Rao has mentored over 30,000 students for her quench to build a community of innovators.
She loves playing piano at assisted living centers for the elderly to achieve her life goal of making others happy.
Famous Quotes from Gitanjali Rao
“It’s weird to me that it was almost like people had assigned roles, regarding their gender, their age, the color of their skin. 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.”
“I really hope the work that all of these kids are doing identifies innovation as a necessity and not something that’s a choice anymore. I hope I can be a small part of that.”
“While solving problems, you will continue to encounter failures. Accept them, but persist with the problem. Do not give up, and always remember the bigger goal of making a difference.”
“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.”
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Childhood and Early Life
Gitanjali Rao was born on November 19 2005 in Lone Tree, Colorado to her parents Ram Rao and Bharathi Rao. Having a background in academics, her parents supported her quest for science and technology from her early years.
Her love for STEM saw her become a Davidson Young Scholar in 2012 at the age of seven. She went to the Highlands Ranch High School in Colorado to study the STEM curriculum. Gitanjali published her first book at 10 years old and was involved in art to a point of winning first place in the International Aviation Art Contest.
Her childhood revolved around art, science, innovation, and her hobbies include Indian classical dancing, singing, playing the piano, swimming and baking.
Gitanjali’s interest in science was sparked when she was just 4 years old after her uncle gifted her a science kit. Six years later, a news feature on the Flint water crisis reignited her passion for science. She conveyed her interest to find a solution to her parents.
This led to her first innovation, Tethys, through collaboration with a research scientist at 3M. This device detects lead in water and sends the information to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. She has since worked on a prototype for this invention in collaboration with the Denver Water Facility.
She developed Kindly, an artificial intelligence-based Chrome extension and an app that is aimed at detecting cyberbullying in the early stages in real-time. She also developed Epione, a tool for opioid addiction that helps in early diagnosis for a prescription.
A published author, Rao wrote a book named Baby Brother Wonders that she self-published in 2015. Later in 2020, she wrote her second book named A Young Innovative Guide to STEM which was published by Simon and Schuster.
As Gitanjali continued with her problem-solving prowess, she made remarkable achievements along the way. She featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 the same year she rose to fame. The following year, she bagged the United States Environmental Protection Agency President’s Environmental Youth Award.
In 2019, her Eipone invention saw her win the Top “Health” Pillar Prize in the TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge that was held. In 2020, Gitanjali was named the TIME top young innovator.
Besides the many awards, Rao has appeared in multiple media outlets for her inventions. She has been featured in TEDx 3 times as a speaker. In addition, she made it to the cover of TIME Magazine in December 2020. Gitanjali was also featured as Genius Gitanjali in the web series named Marvel’s Hero Project.
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