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Generation Z Innovators: Using Technology to Save the World.

Mar 30 2023
Generation Z Innovators: Using Technology to Save the World.

Generation Z Innovators: Using Technology to Save the World.  The latest Aspen Ideas Festival showcased the incredible contributions of four Generation Z innovators, who are making waves in science, mental health advocacy, and information technology. Their inspiring stories demonstrate how this young generation is passionate about changing the world for the better, using technology to promote compassion and justice. In this blog, we will delve deeper into the accomplishments of these remarkable young individuals. 

The Aspen Ideas Festival is an annual event that features thought-provoking discussions on a wide range of topics, and the 2022 festival was no exception. One of the panels, led by Francis Collins, the acting co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, showcased the contributions of four Generation Z innovators in science, mental health advocacy, and information technology. Their stories are inspiring and offer a glimpse into how this generation is using their skills and passions to make a positive impact on the world. 

Dasia Taylor, a 17-year-old inventor, wasn’t initially interested in STEM but found her calling when she combined social sciences with hard sciences to create a science fair project that focused on global health. Her invention, color-changing stitches that detect pH imbalance and alert doctors to infections, has the potential to save lives in low-technology settings. She placed in the top 40 out of 2,000 applicants to the Regeneron Science Talent Search and has patented her stitches as a medical device while also founding a biotech company. Taylor is proof that when passion meets ingenuity, great things can happen. 

Avi Schiffmann, a Harvard student and internet activist, is best known for his websites that track the Ukraine war, Black Lives Matter, and the COVID-19 crisis. Schiffmann created, a COVID-19 tracking website, in January 2020, and it quickly became one of the most visited tracking sites trusted by governments, health departments, and scientists. Schiffmann also created a website to help Ukrainian refugees find safe host homes around the world and another website to help people locate Black Lives Matter protests and resources during the abortion crisis. His dedication to making information accessible and accurate in the face of rampant misinformation is commendable. 

Gitanjali Rao, a 17-year-old author, youth scientist, and advocate, was named Time magazine's Kid of the Year in 2020. She has used carbon nanotube technology to detect lead in water and created a tool for recognizing protein-based biomarkers that correlate to addictive behaviors in humans. Rao has also created a non-punitive anti-cyberbullying API and is involved in nanoscience cancer research at Cambridge. Her empathy-first approach to science is a refreshing reminder that technology can be used to promote kindness and compassion. 

Hailey Hardcastle, the secretary of mental health at the University of Oregon, played a pivotal role in passing House Bill 2191 in 2018, which allows students in the Western US and Colorado to take mental health days from school. Hardcastle, who was diagnosed with a trauma-induced anxiety disorder at the age of seven, believes that mental health is just as important as physical health and is working to apply social-emotional learning standards in schools and provide on-site mental health clinics. Her foundation, Work to be Well, provides free, student-created mental health lesson plans for K-12 educators. Her advocacy for mental health and wellness is especially important given the looming mental health crisis among young people. 

In conclusion, the Generation Z innovators showcased in this panel offer hope and inspiration that the blend of social justice and STEM may just have a chance at saving the world. Their contributions to science, mental health advocacy, and information technology remind us that the younger generation is full of bright and innovative minds who are committed to making the world a better place. It's exciting to see what these young innovators will achieve in the future, and we should all be paying attention. 

In this blog, we've already discussed the impressive achievements of four Generation Z innovators who are using technology to make a positive impact on the world. But what challenges did they face along the way, and how did they overcome them? What impact have they had on their communities and the world, and how can young people learn from their example? And what broader lessons can we draw from their accomplishments about the role of technology in promoting social justice and global health? In this section, we'll explore these questions in more detail and offer insights and advice for the next generation of innovators. 

Discuss the challenges that these Generation Z innovators faced and how they overcame them. For example, Dasia Taylor may have faced skepticism from her peers and teachers when she first proposed her idea for color-changing stitches, but she persisted and ultimately achieved success. 

Provide insights into the impact that these young innovators have had on their communities and the world. Have they inspired others to take action or make a difference in their own ways? Have they influenced policy or created meaningful change in their fields? 

Offer advice to young people who aspire to follow in the footsteps of these Generation Z innovators. What traits do they need to cultivate to succeed in STEM, mental health advocacy, or information technology? What resources or opportunities are available to them, and how can they best take advantage of them? 

Highlight the broader significance of the contributions of these young innovators. What do their accomplishments tell us about the role of technology in promoting social justice and global health? How can we continue to support and empower the next generation of innovators to make a positive impact on the world? 

As we wrap up our exploration of the contributions of these Generation Z innovators, one thing is clear: the future is in good hands. Their achievements remind us that the potential for positive change lies within each of us, regardless of our age, background, or circumstances. Let's continue to celebrate and learn from the young innovators who are shaping the world we live in, and support them in their quest to make it a better place for all.