Meet Gitanjali Rao, Time 2020 Kid of the Year

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How Time Picked the 2020 Kid of the Year:

It might interest you that this has been going on in the United States of America over the past 92 years.

Interestingly, the young person that will receive the award must be someone with an outstanding qualities.

“For the past 92 years, TIME has named a Person of the Year. In 2019, then-16-year-old Greta Thunberg became the youngest ever Person of the Year, and the first individual under age 25 to receive the title. Her movement to stop climate change, among other world-shifting youth movements of recent years, make clear that young people carry tremendous influence today, and that they are using that influence to shape a world that matches their vision.

According to the TIMES Official website, “This year, in partnership with Nickelodeon, TIME is recognizing in the U.S. its first ever Kid of the Year, a barometer for the rising leaders of America’s youngest generation. To choose the most influential kids of 2020, we looked across social media and school districts, at actions big and small. “Small steps can lead to big change,” says TIME for Kids editor Andrea Delbanco. “These are everyday kids making change in their communities in a fun and accessible—but very impactful—way.”

“Panelists including representatives from the Special Olympics and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA formed an advisory committee to help judge the more than 5,000 U.S.-based nominees on the positive impact they’ve had this year and signs that they’ll continue to lead in the future. A committee of kids, including Nickelodeon stars Young Dylan and Chinguun Sergelen, Disney star Sky Katz, Little Chef Ivy, and Time For Kids kid reporters Tiana Sirmans and Raunak Singh, then worked with comedian Trevor Noah to narrow down the finalists and select the ultimate Kid of the Year.

The five finalists have grown food for those in crisis, designed better toys for kids with disabilities, and started new conversations about racial justice. They include Tyler Gordon, 14, from San Jose, Calif.; Jordan Reeves, 14, from Columbia, Mo.; Bellen Woodard, 10, from Leesburg, Va.; and Ian McKenna, 16, from Austin.

Exceptional leadership is what made the ultimate Kid of the Year, 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao, stand out. Rao not only researches scientific tools such as artificial intelligence and carbon nanotube sensor technology and applies them to problems she sees in everyday life, like cyberbullying and water contamination. She also shows other kids how to tap into their curiosity, aspiring to create a generation of innovators.

Each of this year’s five finalists will be designated a TIME for Kids Kid Reporter, given opportunities to contribute to TIME, and will receive a cash prize from ViacomCBS, Nickelodeon’s owner.

“I really hope the work that all of these kids are doing identifies innovation as a necessity and not something that’s a choice anymore,” Rao tells Angelina Jolie in an interview for TIME. “I hope I can be a small part of that.”

Time’s statement after an extensive interview with Gitanjali Rao;

Time's Statement
Time’s Statement

Life at home

Rao’s parents, Bharathi and Ram Rao, have an academic background and supported her curiosity and intelligence, even though there have been incidents — such as the time when 10-year-old Rao declared to the family that she wanted to research carbon nanotube sensor technology at the Denver Water quality research lab.

“My mom was like, “A what?” she recounts.

In her Ted Talk: Nayi Baat, Rao had said, “In our minds, superheroes can jump tall buildings, have technological gadgets and superpowers. But what do they have in common — the ability to save lives. And the magical thing is that they show up exactly at the right time to save a life. How are living, breathing scientists different from the superheroes in comics? No matter where they are, scientists come up with solutions to help people. I love science and I want to be a scientist superhero solving real world problems and saving lives.”

She seeks to provide solution to problems rather than getting scared.

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