You could call them child or teen prodigies – wunderkinds, who at remarkable young ages have already begun making their mark upon science and technology as innovators and visionaries. The USA Science & Engineering Festival not only applauds such young achievers, but is recruiting some of the best of them to serve on its new Youth Advisory Board.
The achievements of these recently-appointed board members will not only help us further excite, inspire and reach out to more students during the Festival next week, but will also call attention to the impressive cadre of young talent that is on the horizon nationwide in STEM innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our Youth Advisors will participate in our "Teen Inventors: It's Never Too Early to Make Your Mark in STEM" panel on the Lockheed Martin Stage show on Sunday, April 27th at 3 PM. They will also host STEMspiration; the first STEM conference of its kind - a completely student-led event bringing together leaders, doers, makers and thinkers of the highest caliber on Thursday, April 24.
Tonight we will host a twitter chat at 6PM EST with members of our Youth Advisory Board. Follow us on twitter @USAScienceFest and use #Scifest hashtag.
The chat will feature:
- Sixteen-year-old Adora Svitak will serve as emcee of the Expo's Teen Inventors presentation. She has been exploring what she can do with the written word since age 4: everything from championing literacy to raising awareness about world hunger. She taught her first class at a local elementary school the year her first book, Flying Fingers, debuted. At age 12, she delivered the speech, "What Adults Can Learn from Kids", at the prestigious TED conference. That video received more than one million views and has been translated into over 40 different languages. Follow Adora on Twitter @adorasv
- Param Jaggi, age 18, has been formally researching environmental and energy technologies since age 12. When he was 14, he designed a highly effective algae bio-reactor using household materials. Param is currently a junior at Vanderbilt University where last summer he founded EcoViate, a green-tech startup that focuses on inexpensive, efficient and disposable green products. Follow Param on Twitter @ParamJaggi
- Jack Andraka, a 16-year old Baltimore high-school student, recently set the medical science community abuzz by developing (at age 15) an innovative diagnostic test that detects pancreatic cancer and is 368 times more sensitive, 150 times quicker and 26,000 times cheaper than the medical standard. This research innovation earned him more than $100,000, including the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award. Follow Jack on Twitter @jackandraka
- Ritankar Das, 18, is the youngest University Medalist (top graduating senior) in UC Berkeley’s recorded history. He is now a Master of Science degree candidate in bioengineering at Oxford. At UC Berkeley he served as an Academic Senator where he helped manage a $1.7 billion budget and founded the Berkeley Chemical Review research journal. Ritankar, who began researching alternative energy at age 12, has been lauded by the Smithsonian as a “future Nobel Laureate.” Follow Ritankar on Twitter @ritankardas
- Erik Martin is a Game Designer and education activist. He works on games that help people and society, and leads the Edvenger Initiative to create a set of alternative education standards called the Student Bill of Rights. He has been involved in a number of to give students a voice in their education focused around STEM engagement, such as the ScienceOnlineTeen unconference. Erik got his STEM start leading a virtual guild in World of Warcraft to overcome severe health issues, and has been working on games since. Follow Erik on Twitter @EriKlaes