Gitanjali Rao: The Child Wonder

Gitanjali Rao: The Child Wonder

While growing up, if you were as scared of protons, neurons, Archimedes Principle and formulas of chemical compounds as I was, then I understand your pain. But what I understand better is your awe surrounding science because human nature always tends to fill itself with wonder, the moment it comes to things it doesn’t understand.

So let me draw your attention to our wonder child from India who shone the brightest as she bagged the US young scientist prize.  While most of us struggled to balance our equations and calculate densities, this girl invented a quick, low-cost test to detect lead-contaminated water.  

Gitanjali Rao first became one of the top ten finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. While many of us would have gotten complacent after such a remarkable feat, she didn’t stop at this. She got mentored the entire summer, after which she got to present her work.

Young Scientist Challenge Gitanjali RaoImage Credit: CPR.org

Now more on her invention, Tethys, Rao’s device, might just be the thing that can end up saving lives, and we aren’t even exaggerating. And why is it so? Testing water isn’t something that is completely a brand new concept, but while most water tests depend upon lab tests, Tethys is a lesser expensive form that is more accurate than lab testing or even test strips.

But what made this girl come out stronger than the rest? At such a young age, Gitanjali has already known what she wanted and that has reflected on her interests from an early age. When she was two or three, she started playing with experiment kits. For all those parents who think that their daughters can only be interested in dolls and kitchen sets, this comes as an eye-opener.

For this young lady, science is not a grim apparition that is lurking in the corner, feasting on the fears of little children. For her, science is something she wants to have fun with and “keep digging for solutions.” It makes one wonder what it is about this little child wonder that she has made science endearing and close to her heart.

Young Scientist Challenge Gitanjali Rao
Image Credit: Denver Post

When the entire world is talking about women empowerment, some of them take a step forward even without knowing what a massive inspiration they are proving to be. Gitanjali from Colorado is just another girl-next-door, who has starry-eyed ambitions, but she doesn’t just stop in dreaming. She has goals that she has set, where she can make waves by becoming an epidemiologist or geneticist.

And while we can only be proud of her, it’s time we sit up and take notice. Because the girl child has started leaving her mark. And it is here to stay.

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