A 12-year-old from Lone Tree was featured on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for 2019.
Gitanjali Rao, a student at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, was listed as one of the 30 notable young people in the Science category of the annual listing. There are 20 categories in the United States and Canada list, each of which features 30 outstanding people under the age of 30 in their respective field.
“I feel humbled, honored and excited at the same time to be listed among professionals, professors, post-doctorate and Ph.D. candidates,” Rao said in an email.
Rao was honored for her invention, Tethys, a lead-detecting device capable of finding lead in drinking water through a mobile app Rao developed. Rao took the top prize in the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge for her device. She appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show in August demonstrating her invention. She is currently working to perfect the device and hopes to put it on the market soon.
“I came up with it after I heard about the Flint water crisis about three years ago,” Rao said. “It was a shocking issue for me and I felt like I wanted to do something about it.”
The Forbes “30 Under 30” list started in 2011 with an alumni network of more than 4,000 people, according to the site. Forbes is a business-focused media company and publishes its flagship magazine by the same name.
The selected members of the “30 Under 30” list have been invited to attend a summit in 2019.
At the time the list was released, Rao visited Hyderabad, India, and spoke to a group of 300 students about her experience as a young person who has impacted the world.
“Apart from this (Forbes list),” Rao said, “I feel a sense of responsibility to share my experience with other middle school students across the world that any of us can dream to invent and innovate.”