LONE TREE, Colo. (KDVR) — Time magazine selected 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao of Lone Tree as the first Kid of the Year.
At 13 years old, Gitanjali was awarded the Top “Health” Pillar Prize for the TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge. Her project was titled “Early Diagnosis of Opioid Addiction.”
The award is not Gitanjali’s first. She gives presentations all over the world and was named America’s Top Young Scientist of 2017 for a device that detects lead in drinking water. Inspired by the water contamination problem in Flint, Michigan, she invented the device to help people in Flint and other areas.
Kindly, an app and Chrome extension, is based on artificial-intelligence technology to detect cyberbullying early, was developed by Rao. A blog partnership with UNICEF to raise awareness, organize and create events to spread kindness is also part of the app.
Gitanjali, a scientist and inventor, uses science as a catalyst for social change. and has since become an inspiration of young females pursing science studies and careers. She also regularly meets with younger girls, giving talks on the importance of mentorship and promoting women in STEM fields.
Gitanjali encourages other young people not to be overwhelmed by every problem, but to chose one that resonates with you and work from there.
Angelina Jolie, actor and special envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, interviewed Gitanjali for the Time article that was published on Thursday.
Over 5,000 influential American kids, ages 8 to 16, were under consideration. Time, in a partnership with Nickelodeon, looked at school districts and social media to find kids making change in their communities.
This year five finalist were chosen. Each finalist receives a cash prize and will have the opportunity to contribute as a ‘Time for Kids Kid Reporter’.
Time’s Kid of the Year broadcast will air on Nickelodeon, Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT.