This is for the first time that the iconic TIME magazine initiated the first-ever "Kid of the Year" (KOTY) hunt and found a young scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao (15) as its winner.
Gitanjali Rao's magic mantra is “Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate.” The KOTY of TIME magazine told the actor Angelina Jolie about her process, over Zoom, from her home in Colorado.
Gitanjali Rao, the Kid of the Year, was on a break during her virtual classroom sessions while she was interviewed for TIME by Angelina Jolie, a contributing editor in TIME.
Also, Rao is an Academy Award-winning actor and special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
"Don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you... If I can do it,” Rao said, adding that, “anybody can do it.”
Gitanjali was in second or third grade when she started thinking about how she can use science and technology to create social change.
At the age of 10, she wanted to research carbon nanotube sensor technology at the Denver Water Quality Research Lab.
In 2014, she was motivated by the Flint water crisis. She, then, invented a device that tells if water has lead contamination and if yes, then at what scale.
The invention was named Tethys after the Greek Titan goddess of clean water. The 3D-printed box was about the size of a deck of cards with a battery, Bluetooth and carbon nanotubes.
Time magazine chose five finalists in total, with the other four being 14-year-old Tyler Gordon from San Jose, California; 14-year-old Jordan Reeves from Columbia, Missouri; 10-year-old Bellen Woodard from Leesburg, Virginia; and 16-year-old Ian McKenna from Austin, Texas.