30 Under 30: Ananya Rajagopal
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Ananya Rajagopal is someone for whom looking forward and giving back are both important.
Shortly after being interviewed for this profile, the ninth grader e-mailed us asking that we include what she feels to be very crucial points concerning her attitude toward manufacturing, engineering and STEM education.
“Along with going to college,” she wrote, “five years from now I also want to promote women in the STEM field. I think it is very important that girls and women become involved in this field because we have lots of new ideas and opinions to offer. I have always been the minority, being a girl. Many times, we are overlooked.
“Sometimes I have to work twice as hard in order to prove myself. Once I graduate from high school, I hope to talk to other schools and encourage girls to try out this field. I know lots of girls my age that would love to do Robotics, but they don’t because not enough of their friends are involved. Promoting women in STEM is definitely another part of what I want to do later in life.”
So far in life, Ananya has already accomplished quite a bit.
For four years in a row her science projects have been included in the state science fair. Her experiments have ranged from testing the Vitamin C content in different brands of oranges (6th grade) to testing materials that could be used in cell phone cases to block radio frequencies in order to protect users from harmful radiation (9th grade).
In 8th grade, she was elected project manager for her FIRST Lego League (FLL) team, which she joined in 6th grade. (Being in high school this year she participated in the FIRST Robotic Competition.)
“This is a role in which she excelled,” said Paul Glaubnitz, who was Ananya’s FLL coach and who nominated her for 30 Under 30. “Ananya divided the work among the team members, taking their interests into account when possible. She also took a generous share of the work for herself. If a team member wasn’t pulling their weight, she nicely but firmly let them know they were letting the team down. They got the work done soon afterwards.”
“We created an erasable bar code,” said Ananya, “to keep consumers from buying contaminated food. It’s a time and temperature-based innovation. A part of the bar code is covered by ink that is released when the meat reaches the maximum safe time it can be exposed to dangerous temperatures.”
The project won the FLL Global Innovation Award.
In addition, Ananya said, “My team filed a utility patent on it, and we also came together to form our own LLC.”
Ananya definitely wants a career in engineering. “I might go into chemical engineering or biomedical engineering,” she said. “For college I want to go to Yale University or Carnegie Mellon or possibly Ohio State University.”
The soon-to-be 10th grader has interests outside of the classroom and STEM as well. “I was on the swim team for five years for my district and I was on the cross-country and lacrosse teams for three years. I also volunteer at COSI (the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, OH).” ME