Gitanjali Rao, was appalled by the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan — so she did something about it. Rao designed a device to test for lead faster.
This device enabled her to win a $25,000 (£19,000) prize and being named “America’s Top Young Scientist” at the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
As ABC News reports, this seventh grader of Lone Tree, Colorado, designed Tethys, which quickly detects lead levels in water using carbon nanotube sensors.
“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” Rao told ABC News.
“I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”
It’s not hyperbole to say she really blew us out of the water,” Brian Barnhart, one of Discovery Education’s judges, told ABC.
She cites her parents as her main role models, “they both work in IT-type occupations, so they always persuade me to ask questions. And they always tell me that there’s never a limit to the number of questions you ask. I just think that they continue to encourage me and help me grow not only as a scientist but as an 11-year-old girl.”
Rao says that when she grows up, she would like to be a geneticist or epidemiologist. Her lead detection device allowed her to combine both interests, as contaminated water can cause both rashes and birth defects.
“I studied a little bit of both of these topics since I was really interested in these fields,” she told Business Insider, “and then I came up with this device to help save lives.”
Source: ABC News & NPR Inc
Photo Credit: Discovery.Org