HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A 13-year-old STEM School Highlands Ranch student recently received a national award for an invention.
Just weeks after the shooting at her school, Gitanjali Rao was awarded the Top “Health” Pillar Prize for the TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge. Her project was titled “Early Diagnosis of Opioid Addiction.”
Rao developed a diagnostic tool based on advances in genetic engineering, and was awarded a $7,500 scholarship and a virtual mentorship.
“It’s absolutely a dream come true so I can start investing it into making my device and my product something bigger that people can use,” Rao said.
The award is not Rao’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.
The announcement for her latest award was made just weeks after the shooting at Rao’s school. She was not at school that day, but says all the students are trying to move forward.
“We are such an amazing school and we have so many smart, talented students who create devices like me. And I think together we are really aiming to come back and be stronger than ever,” Rao said.