We Indians have yet another reason to be proud and this time it’s thanks to Gitanjali Rao, a brilliant young scientist who has been named the TIME’s first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ at the age of 15.
Gitanjali, an Indian-American who currently resides in Denver, Colorado has invented an innovative device that can identify lead in drinking water. The young prodigy is also the proud developer of an app and Google Chrome extension that can identify cyberbullying with the help of AI. TIME selected its ‘Kid of the Year’ from more than 5,000 nominees and said, “The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids have already achieved: positive impact, in all sizes.”
Gitanjali was recently interviewed for TIME special by Hollywood actor and activist Angelina Jolie and while talking about the interview, TIME shared its views and said, “Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you.”
The 15-year-old is extremely passionate about making this world a better place for everyone and has quite a realistic approach towards it. Instead of motivating people to do ‘great and huge things’, she urges them to do ‘good and simple’ things as that will ultimately make all the difference. She explained it the best while talking to Jolie and said, “I think more than anything right now, we just need to find that one thing we’re passionate about and solve it. Even if it’s something as small as, I want to find an easy way to pick up litter. Everything makes a difference. Don’t feel pressured to come up with something big.”
While talking about her passion for science, Gitanjali shared that her primary goal has always been to make someone smile every day. At the mere age of 10, she was exploring different ways in which she could use science and technology to create a positive impact on society. Talking about her concerns for the world and her goals, she said, “We’re facing old problems that still exist. Like, we’re sitting here in the middle of a new global pandemic, and we’re also like still facing human-rights issues. There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology.”
It is surreal to hear such a young mind feeling so deeply and passionately about the world. Gitanjali even mentioned how she does not look like the ‘typical scientists’ we are used to watching on television. She said, “Everything I see on TV is that it’s an older, usually white man as a scientist. It’s weird to me that it was almost like people had assigned roles, regarding like their gender, their age, the colour 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.”
Gitanjali Rao is truly an inspiration for the world and especially for the young minds. Thank you for making us Indians so proud!
Featured Image: TIME