Gitanjali Rao Science Speaker Series Nantucket
Island Science Nantucket Events

MMA Talk features Young Scientist with Global Reach

This Wednesday, July 28, at 7pm, Gitanjali Rao, TIME magazine’s first Kid of the Year, will speak at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s (MMA) Science Speaker Series. Her talk, “The Role of Science and Technology as a Catalyst for Social Change” is part of this island organization’s Science Speaker Series and will be held via Zoom.

Born in 2005, this young Colorado resident has an impressive resume: in addition to being an inventor, an author, and a scientist, she plays piano and is adept at fencing, swimming, and classical Indian dance. Despite her brilliance, the 15- year-old is humble. She said in one of her sessions for young people “Don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

Gitanjali Rao was recognized as America’s Top Young Scientist and received an EPA Presidential Award for inventing her device “Tethys”— a quick, low-cost test to detect lead-contaminated water. Rao is also the inventor of “Epione”— a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “Kindly,” an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.

Rao was honored as Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2019—at a time when she was way under 30—and TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” as well as “TIME Kid of the Year” for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, which have inspired more than 50,000 students during the last two years across four continents. During her sessions, she shares her own process of innovation that can be used by students all over the world. She is an experienced TED speaker and often presents in global and corporate forums on innovation and the importance of STEM. 

Rao is the author of the book Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM, which guides students, educators, and teachers with a prescribed 5-step innovation process. 

In her talk for the MMA, Rao will share her innovation journey including some of her recognized innovations, her process, the need for awareness and community service, and the importance of supporting youth and girls. 

MMA has long nurtured a love of science in the youth of Nantucket, through classes, workshops, exhibits, camps, field trips, and their STEM playground. Maria Mitchell believed in “learning by doing” and today that philosophy is reflected in the MMA’s mission, programs, and research projects. 

Register at for the free talk by Gitanjali Rao offered by MMA. The entire Science Speaker Series schedule is listed at 

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Maria Mitchell—a Nantucket woman who became a famed astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages. Watch island calendars for multiple COVID-safe activities MMA is planning to celebrate the anniversary of their namesake’s birth: details to be announced soon!

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