Capgemini interviews young Inventor & Scientist Gitanjali Rao

Capgemini interviews young Inventor & Scientist Gitanjali Rao

 September 14, 2022

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Capgemini actively champions women and girls in STEM roles. The Capgemini Research Institute quarterly journal Conversations for Tomorrow featured a conversation with Inventor, Scientist and Time Kid of the Year 2020 winner, Gitanjali Rao, about her STEM advocacy work. 

Meet Scientist & Inventor, Gitanjali Rao

Gitanjali Rao is an inventor, an aspiring scientist, author, speaker and an active promoter of STEM around the world. She was celebrated as America’s Top Young Scientist and was a recipient of an EPA Presidential Award. She was honored as Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science in 2019 and Time’s Top Young Innovator and Kid of the Year for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally. She was also appointed as a UNICEF Youth Advocate 2021 for using science for solving social problems such as cyberbullying and developing solutions for environmental protection.

Attracting girls to STEM subjects

In the interview with Capgemini, Gitanjali explains how to make STEM subjects more attractive to and inclusive for girls.

"I clearly remember science and programming camps a few years back, where I would be the only girl. It made me want to run away! I would be alone during lunch or would sit with the instructors. It made me feel that I did not belong there. However, when I realized that I really did want to be there, I relaxed and started to make friends. The boys were happy to include me in their chats and games; they just hadn’t thought to do so before. They made an effort and included roles for me when I asked them to. You just need to have confidence in yourself," says Gitanjali.

"That changed my perspective on the idea that someone is stopping women or girls from doing science. At some point, we have started to presume that, because we don’t always see role models, this is not for us. Today, there are several girls in STEM organizations, but few are staying in research or developing products. Science and technology are about more than coding and research; they are about having a real impact on the world we live in and the people around us. Gender should not stop you from solving problems in the real world and everybody should be able to be part of it. Most girls lose interest in science after middle school; this could be because we are stereotyped, and society has decided a role for us, but also because we make a choice to exclude ourselves," explains Gitanjali.

"We need to recognize that we all learn differently. Coding and programming with robots and machines all around may not be a great introduction for all girls. I usually start my workshops by finding out what everyone likes to do and finding problems to solve in those fields, whether it is sports, nature, animals, food, etc., and then look for new solutions that use some of the latest technology. Technology can be combined with art and music in solving problems, as well. We need to introduce girls to a variety of topics and let us pick and choose or mix and mash them. I  have had girl students who came up with ideas to help dyslexic students and wanted to find a way to allow their teachers to understand how they see letters differently to most students. The point is girls can bring a different perspective," adds Gitanjali.

Innovations leaders transforming industries

In the fifth edition of Capgemini's quarterly journal, Conversations for Tomorrow, the company looks at how innovation leaders transform industries - from energy and utilities to life sciences, retail, financial services, and high-tech. Capgemini takes a 360-degree look at innovation, from religious, scientific, business, and political perspectives, and from a multigenerational viewpoint.

Read the full article featuring Gitanjali Rao.

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