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Time Names Its First 'Kid of the Year'

Gitanjali Rao is a 15-year-old scientist, inventor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2020 8:08 AM CST
Time Names Its First 'Kid of the Year'
The cover.   (Time)

(Newser) Time magazine's first-ever "Kid of the Year" is a 15-year-old Colorado girl who has already racked up some impressive achievements as a scientist and inventor. Gitanjali Rao, who lives in suburban Denver, was chosen from a field of more than 5,000 US-based nominees by a panel of kids joined by Daily Show host Trevor Noah, reports NPR. She was named "America’s Top Young Scientist" in 2017 after inventing a device to detect lead in water in response to the Flint water crisis, the Denver Post reports. Her other innovations include "Kindly," an app and Chrome extension that uses artificial intelligence to detect cyberbullying, and she is currently working on gene-based ways to detect bio-contaminants in water and detect opioid addiction at an early stage.

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"Our generation is facing so many problems that we’ve never seen before. But then at the same time we’re facing old problems that still exist," she tells Angelina Jolie in a Time interview. "Like, we're sitting here in the middle of a new global pandemic, and we’re also like still facing human-rights issues. There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology." Gitanjali and four other finalists will be honored in an upcoming Nickelodeon special, the Guardian reports. Time plans to name its Person of the Year next week. Last year's Person of the Year was Greta Thunberg who, at 16, was the youngest person to receive the honor since 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh was Man of the Year in 1927. (Read more Time's Person of the Year stories.)

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