This 14 Year Old Just Became America's Top Young Scientist With Plans to Sustain Third World Countries With New Energy Source

Fourteen-year-old Maanasa Mendu won first place in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge with her HARVEST energy device, securing the title of America's Top Young Scientist.

Her project sought to supply sustainable energy to third world countries, and earned her a $25,000 prize.

Amy Poehler's Smart Girls organization caught up with her in an interview.

"Every summer my family visits India, and there I experienced persistent blackouts. This meant no lighting or air conditioning for my family. But for over one fifth of the global population, darkness remains a permanent reality," she told the organization.

Her device harvests mechanical energy in forms of wind and precipitation through the Piezoelectric effect, which allows materials to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress.

"Energy is fundamental to modern society and provides a sustainable source of electricity to our entire world," she said.


Meet Maanasa Mendu, America's 2016 Top #YoungScientist winner! Link in bio.

A photo posted by 3M (@3m) on

This is just the beginning for this young entrepreneur. She plans to test out new materials and configurations to best maximize efficiency and then reach out to nonprofit organizations to spread her device across the world.

With the guidance of a mentor, Mendu praises the four Cs of science: creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and also the process of innovation.

"I've begun to realize the truth in the saying, 'Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration (Thomas Alva Edison),' from my mentor's awesome advice, and project experience. Whether testing for the hundredth time, researching for hours, or perfecting a presentation  —  nothing ever comes without hard work," she said.

Mendu sought to create something that wasn't just sustainable but was also affordable. Using recycled and waste materials, she created her "3 leaf harvester" for less than $5.

As for her role models, Mendu praises scientists Marie Curie and Rachel Carson for inspiring female scientists worldwide and overcoming male discrimination, but she also acknowledges those who raised her.

“My mom, and grandmother are role models who not only obtained education at a time where it was discriminated but exemplify the importance of believing in yourself, and taking social responsibility,” she said.


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