A young girl from Bengaluru will soon have a minor planet in the Milky Way Galaxy named after her!.
Sahithi Pingali, a class 12 student from the city’s Inventure Academy, has reached the stars with her award-winning research project on ‘An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies,’ focusing on the lakes in Bengaluru.
The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), that takes the responsibility of naming minor planets, recognized the young scientist’s achievements at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles.
The decision to christen a minor planet after Sahithi was motioned after she came within the top levels at the international forum.
Apart from being awarded at ISEF, the 16-year-old has been on a winning spree with her research, with a gold medal at the International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project (ISWEEEP) Olympiad held in Houston, Texas, earlier this month.
Sahithi’s association with the entire concept that led to her research didn’t begin in a day. Wining a scholarship from her institute to participate in the American India Foundation (AIF) program in July 2015, she first got an overview about the impact of rampant urban development on scarce resources of water, case in point here being that of Bengaluru’s network of lakes.
Also, Sahithi had been a part of a student team from Inventure that researched on an experiential case study on Varthur Lake, participating in the Our Lakes Our Voice (OLOV) (an Inventure Change Maker initiative).
“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 said after her win at ISWEEEP, according to TOI.
At the finals of INTEL ISEF international forum, she was bestowed with three special awards apart from being given an overall second place in the Earth and Environmental Sciences category.
Currently an intern at the University of Michigan, Sahithi is working in collaboration with PhD students and professors in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.