The fifteen-year-old Indian-American Gitanjali Rao has been selected as first-ever kid of the year by the TIME magazine for her work using technology to combat issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying.
"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 produced more of what these kids- five Kid of the Year finalists selected from a field of more than 5,000 Americans, ages 8 to 16- have already achieved: positive impact, in all sizes," TIME magazine said in their article on Rao.
The young achiever was interviewed by Hollywood actor and special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie. Rao, in her Zoom interview with Jolie on her process, said: "Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate."
She talked at length about her work involving the use of technology to tackle a range of issues. She also said that it was her mission to create an international community of young innovators aimed at problem solving.
In her interview with the international magazine, Rao said that her generation was faced with obstacles not seen before like COVID-19 pandemic and human rights issues.
When asked about the moment she discovered that science was her calling, the 15-year-old said it is her every day goal to put a smile on someone's face. She added that she doesn't look like "your typical scientist. 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."
The young scientist said her goal went from "not only creating my devices to solve the world's problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well."