Time Magazine's First-Ever 'Kid Of The Year' Is 15-Year-Old Scientist Gitanjali Rao

Time Magazine has named its first-ever “Kid of the Year”: 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao. The publication made the announcement on Thursday, noting that it created the Kid of the Year title to recognize the positive impact younger generations are making in the world. Time has named an annual Person of the Year – once called Man of the Year – since the 1920s. In a wide-ranging interview with actor and activist Angelina Jolie for Time, Rao shared that she’s researched and worked on ways to use technology to address issues like contaminated drinking water, opioid addiction and cyberbullying. The Colorado teenager told Jolie that her motivation to tackle these issues stemmed from her desire to make others happy. “That was my everyday goal, just to make someone happy,” she said. “And it soon turned into, ‘How can we bring positivity and community to the place we live?’” She later explained that when she was younger, she started to explore ways she could use science and technology to create social change. During the interview, Rao shared that she created a service called Kindly to help end cyberbullying; she is working on ways to test bio-contaminants in water; and she has worked with organizations and schools across the world to host workshops to support young people to nurture their own projects and inventions. But the list of accomplishments and accolades that she’s earned over the years doesn’t stop there. Humbled, honored, and excited! Special thanks to all my mentors, teachers, family, and friends who believed in me and supported me. Congrats to all the finalists and many of them are my friends @jordanjustright from @TheSTEAM_Squad @MightyRebekah @ElijahLee07. They inspire me! https://t.co/wr8EPhauw9— Gitanjali Rao (@gitanjaliarao) December 4, 2020 Rao was named “America’s Top Young Scientist” in 2017 by the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for inventing a lead-testing device for drinking water ― an invention she said was motivated by the Flint Water crisis. In 2019, she was chosen for Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for accomplishments in science. The teenager published her first self-illustrated book titled “Baby Brother Wonders” at age 9, and she’s releasing a new book next year titled “A Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM: 5 Steps To Problem Solving For Students, Educators, and Parents.” Rao tweeted her excitement on Twitter Friday after being named Kid of the Year, thanking her mentors, teachers, family and friends who “believed in me and supported me.” The 15-year-old was selected by Time as one of the five finalists for Kid of the Year out of 5,000 young people in the U.S. ages 8 to 16. The other four finalists, who are also profiled in the magazine, are Tyler Gordon, 14; Jordan Reeves, 14; Bellen Woodard, 10; and Ian McKenna, 16.

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