Sahithi Pingali, a Grade 12 student from Inventure Academy, continues her winning streak at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles, where she has been on a roll, claiming four awards.
Earlier this month at ISWEEEP (The International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project) Olympiad held in Houston, Texas, Sahithi Pingali won the Gold Medal for her research on ‘An Innovative Crowd sourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies’.
At the INTEL ISEF international finals, she won 3 special awards in addition to placing overall second in the category Earth and Environmental Sciences. She has also become a star, err planet, and is sharing space with other luminaries in the Milky Way by having a minor planet named after her.
The ASU Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives Special Award
The ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives are the result of a $27.5 million investment in Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability by the Walton Family Foundation.
A Special Award from King Abdul Aziz and his Companions for Giftedness and Creativity
King Abdul-Aziz & His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, MAWHIBA, is a national cultural foundation established to help develop a comprehensive environment of creativity in Saudi Arabia to enable gifted citizens from all areas to properly use their talents for prosperity of their country.
US Agency for International Development Special Award
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the federal government agency responsible for administering foreign aid. USAID works to promote economic and social development in more than 100 countries around the world.
Sahithi Pingali after her winning her Gold Medal at ISWEEEP had said, “The interesting thing about my project is that it’s all about crowdsourcing; getting students and citizens to contribute scientific data. OLOV was the inspiration for this – it was the dedication and commitment of my team members at Inventure that convinced me that high school students were capable of gathering such reliable data, while increasing their environmental awareness and knowledge of science. I hope students all over Bangalore will take this as a call for action to adopt lakes and lead the way for the rest of the world.”
Sahithi was first exposed to the impact of development on Bangalore’s lifeline – our network of lakes – in July 2015, when she won a scholarship from Inventure to participate in the American India Foundation (AIF) program, to study the impact of urban development on scarce resources. Sahithi was also part of the Inventure team that participated in the Our Lakes Our Voice (OLOV) (an Inventure Change Maker initiative) aimed at students from AIF and Inventure doing an experiential case study on Varthur Lake, a 450-acre water body in Inventure’s vicinity.
The team’s findings through OLOV prompted Sahithi (the Change Maker OLOV student coordinator) and her team to research the various factors that contribute to the pollution of our water bodies through surveys, sessions with experts, and interviewing people who live and work around the lakes, while carrying out regular testing on ten different Bangalore lakes, for over a year.
Sahithi went on to develop an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit which is being used to visualize changing lake conditions by crowdsourcing lake monitoring to citizens and students (our future citizens!). All the collected data feeds into a first-of-its-kind live web-based water health map of the world which automatically indicates the status of each monitored water body.
The months of hard work and perseverance paid off when Sahithi’s research project ‘An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies’ won her the Grand Award at the IRIS National Science Fair in Pune. At a separate event, the Indian National Science and Engineering Fair held at Rajkot – Gujarat, Sahithi competed against the top 20 Gold medallists of the country and emerged as one amongst the top 3 winners to represent India at ISWEEEP.
Sahithi is currently at the University of Michigan pursuing an internship under Professor Lutgarde Raskin in the Environmental & Water Resources Engineering Centre within the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department (http://envbiotech.engin.umich.edu/raskin/). A rare and unusual opportunity for a high school student, Sahithi will be working along PhD students as a summer intern, and return to school in August.
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