What does it take to achieve something as BIG as making clean water testing easy, efficient and affordable AND snagging a crazy-cool scientist title? A little girl full of big ideas and the determination to match it – Gitanjali Rao is living proof as this year’s Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner!
PURPOSE & RESEARCH
To learn about Gitanjali Rao using the Scientific Method, and to prove that every kid can achieve what they set out to do at any age, ÊTRE GIRLS got the scoop on Gitanjali’s story…
She was first inspired at 9 years old by the Flint Water Crisis through her school's STEM lab and news outlets. Then she saw her parents test for lead in water at home and the difficulties they faced, sparking the idea to use technology to solve the problem. "I really wanted to do something to change this, not just for my family but for the residents of Flint and places like it around the world."
Gitanjali received encouragement from her STEM teachers, mentors and family to pursue her goals. After gaining access to a safe high school lab, as well as other resources, she entered the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. In this competition, Gitanjali was able to actualize her ideas into a product & app, and WIN!
Ê: What advice do you have for girls your age about finding a mentor?
G: My advice for finding mentors is to create a plan of study or research in whatever field you are passionate about, and reach out to experts or professionals in that field. I initially was nervous about reaching out to experts and professors, but this experience made me realize that the worst answer youmay get is a “no.” So, why not try? I always asked my mentors their expectation of a mentee and consciously made sure that I met their expectations, if not exceed it.
TCP: Any quotes or words of advice from your mentor that stick with you and might help otherkids in their projects or passions?
G: I would say to never be afraid of failing, and always have fun with whatever you’re doing.
As demonstrated by Gitanjali’s story, kids of all ages can achieve MAJOR #goals when you expose and discuss today’s challenges, and provide access to resources and mentors. All it takes is a spark of curiosity, an empowering environment and loads of determination. Get them hooked today on problem solving, passion projects and more with our friends at ÊTRE GIRLS!