“Small steps can lead to big change."
TIME Magazine, in partnership with Nickelodeon, has revealed its first-ever Kid of The Year.
TIME’s initiative, along with Nickelodeon, recognises extraordinary young leaders who are making a positive impact in their communities.
For the past 92 years, TIME has named a ‘Person of the Year’.
In 2019, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg became the youngest ever ‘Person of the Year’, and the first individual under the age of 25 to receive the title.
Hence, in 2020 TIME has widened their horizons to scout for the rising leaders of America’s youngest generation.
To choose the most influential kids of 2020, TIME looked across social media and school districts, at actions big and small.
TIME for Kids editor Andrea Delbanco said: “Small steps can lead to big change.
“These are everyday kids making a change in their communities in a fun and accessible but very impactful way.”
On December 3, 2020, Indian-American Gitanjali Rao was named TIME Magazine’s first-ever Kid of the Year.
— TIME (@TIME) December 3, 2020
The 15-year-old was selected from over 5,000 US-based nominees.
The scientist and inventor is responsible for the innovation of Kindly. The app is designed to reduce cyberbullying, flagging potentially harmful content and asking the user prior to posting it.
She has also partnered with rural schools, women in STEM organisations and museums all across the world as well as bigger organisations like Shanghai International Youth Science and Technology group.
Rao has run innovation workshops at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.
In the interview with Angelina Jolie for TIME, Rao also spoke about representation in the science community and what it means to her as she’s growing up:
“I don’t look like your typical scientist. Everything I see on TV is that it’s an older, usually white man as a scientist.”
“It’s weird to me that it was almost like people had assigned roles, regarding like their gender, their age, the colour of their skin.
“My goal has really shifted not only from creating my own devices to solve the world’s problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well.
“Because, from personal experience, it’s not easy when you don’t see anyone else like you.
“So I really want to put out that message: If I can do it, you can do it, and anyone can do it.”
Exceptional leadership is what made stand out to TIME Magazine.
Rao researches scientific tools such as artificial intelligence and carbon nanotube sensor technology and applies them to problems she sees in everyday life.
She also shows other kids how to tap into their curiosity, aspiring to create a generation of innovators.