‘I use science and technology as catalyst for social change’

‘I use science and technology as catalyst for social change’

When she was just four, Gitanjali Rao got a chemistry kit from her uncle. It was just the kind of gift she would love. Beakers, test tubes, colourful liquids, and a gateway to what would become her world.
“I think it changed my life forever,” the 15-year-old told TOI from Denver, Colorado. Since then, she has come up with a device to detect lead in water, another to help diagnose opioid addiction and an algorithm to identify cyberbullying. “It was at the Museum of Ice Cream in New York when I was told through a surprise reveal with TV show host Trevor Noah that I was TIME Kid Of The Year,” she said.
She thinks of herself as an innovator more than a scientist. “I use science and technology as a catalyst for social change to create an impact.” “I’m looking at the Covid-19 vaccine distribution next. I want to look at updating data and take an analytics approach to identify prioritisation for distribution of vaccines. I want this to be an app or device,” she said.

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