TIME Magazine First Kid of the Year: Scientist Gitanjali Rao

Aimee Marcos
·4 min read

TIME Magazine has been known to feature some extraordinary people on their covers, and their latest one is no different. Meet Scientist Gitanjali Rao, recipient of TIME Magazine’s first ever Kid of the Year cover.

Who Run the World?

It seems that kids are. Time Magazine’s recipient of Person of the Year cover was none other than teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg. We are seeing that the world is coming to recognize, and rightly so, kids and teenagers that are trying to help shape the world that they will be adults in. This is not only promising but inspiring as well.

 

gitanjali rao
gitanjali rao

Time Magazine’s recipient of Person of the Year cover was none other than teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg. | Photo courtesy of Time Magazine

For the first time ever: Kid of the year

For 2020, it seems that Time magazine has recognized this phenomenon by creating a cover for kids themselves. They have named Gitanjali Rao the first ever TIME Magazine’s First Kid of the Year and rightly so.

Gitanjali Rao is a scientist who has created a mobile app to test drinking water for traces of lead levels. She is cited to be able to turn scientific theories into real life solutions. The application has far reaching capabilities and can be scaled to other areas in the world that are still trying to access clean and drinkable water.

Not her first

This is not the first time 15 year old Rao’s achievements have been lauded. Before being named TIME Magazine First Kid of the Year, in 2019 she made the Forbes list of 30 Under 30. In 2017, when she was 11 years old, she won attention and praise in Flint, Michigan in the United States for making a device called Tehys. This device uses carbon nanotube sensors that can detect lead levels in water. This is especially needed in the ongoing battle happening in the state for drinkable water. Not only this, but in seventh grade, she was named America’s Top Young Scientist. She collaborated with scientists in the water industry hoping to get the device on the market.

gitanjali rao
gitanjali rao

Time Magazine’s recipient of Person of the Year cover was none other than teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg. | Image from pro-motivate

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Her more recent achievement is that she has developed a mobile and web based tool that helps detect any trace of cyberbullying. Using artificial technology, this application can help children that are increasingly online and on gadgets to steer clear from harmful content.

She explains how the technology works in the interview with Time Magazine, Rao says; “You type in a word or phrase, and it’s able to pick it up if it’s bullying, and it gives you the option to edit it or send it the way it is. The goal is not to punish. As a teenager, I know teenagers tend to lash out sometimes. Instead, it gives you the chance to rethink what you’re saying so that you know what to do next time around.”

gitanjali rao
gitanjali rao

Time Magazine’s recipient of Person of the Year cover was none other than teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg. | Photo courtesy of CPR News

Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year nominees: In Good Company

Scientist Gitanjali Rao is in good company with this recognition. The other nominees are also kids under the age of 18 that are trying to make the world a better place. The other nominees are Tyler Gordon, 14, from San Jose, California an artist that recently painted the portraits of Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris; Jordan Reeves, 14, from Columbia, Montana, who helps run a non profit called Born Just Right making prosthetics for disabled children (like herself); Bellen Woodard, 10, from Leesburg, Virginia who is changing the conversation about skin color; and Ian McKenna, 16, from Austin, Texas who is a self taught gardener with the aim of raising awareness about hunger. Kids of the Year indeed!

With these kids paving the way for us, our future is looking bright and hopeful. Congratulations to Ms. Rao and the rest of the nominees!

Want to know how to encourage your child to do better in school? Click here to learn more.

 

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