Discover more from Rachel’s Newsletter
Synthis, 42.195km, breaking boundaries
Hi everyone! Nice to meet you/see you again! My name is Rachel. I am a 15 y/o innovator at TKS interested in quantum computing, renewable energy, future of food, gene editing, and all new tech. I love running and being outside, and I never say no to a challenge. My biggest goal in life is to help solve poverty.
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This month I had a lot of fun making more videos! If you have any video topics that you’d like to learn about, be sure to email me your suggestion and I’ll make one on that topic :)
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, the TKS moonshot has started this month. The purpose of the moonshot is to find a solution to one of the world’s biggest problems (or create an interesting future) that is ten times better than what is currently available. The word ‘moonshot’ kind of gives it away - we are challenged to come up with an idea as crazy as going to the moon, that will somehow help humanity.
I have had the honor and absolute pleasure to work on this project with my amazing team: Graeme Epp, Noémie Pound, Tobias Grether-Murray and Apoorva Panidapu. I have spent a lot of time with these incredible humans over the past month and have loved getting to know them better. After lots of research and work we landed our moonshot idea, which is a fully biodegradable, self growing solar panel that is made of purple non sulfur bacteria. Our solution, Synthis, is nano-thin, very cheap and extremely environmentally friendly. The panel is 5 times more efficient than current solar panels and can operate at temperatures ranging from -25°C to +50°C, and can easily be commercialized to developed and developing countries all over the world.
Our team now has all the technical and scientific aspects of our idea figured out, so the next steps are to make a company logo, company website, article and video explaining our idea, and one pager to summarize it all. Then if our team makes the finals, we will have the opportunity to present our idea to extremely knowledgeable and successful moonshot investors.
The biggest highlight of this month has been signing up for my first ever full marathon (42.195km / 26.2 miles). I am running the International Ottawa Tartan Marathon on May 29 and am SO EXCITED! I will be flying down to Ottawa at the end of May and will have the chance to meet some of my close friends in-person for the first time, and will also get to meet my amazing TKS directors in-person. To say that I am excited is an understatement. It will be incredible to meet my best friends who I have only ever spent time with over a computer screen. ‘In the flesh’ for the first time will be unforgettable…
And of course the race itself will be absolutely amazing. Running a marathon has been a life goal of mine for the past 2 years since I began my running journey, so I am excited that I finally get to experience 42km.
This also means that this month has been jammed packed with running. I have ran way more than I have ever ran before, running my longest [ever] run of 36km. These longs runs are both physically and mentally hard (like really hard), and I have finished these runs more sore than I have ever been in my life. Despite these long, exhausting runs and the painful soreness after, I have been having so much fun. I love running with all my heart, and it seems like the more I run, the more I fall in love with the sport and the feeling I get while running.
While training for my first marathon I have learned that there is no such thing as limitations. Limitations are just boundaries our brain puts on ourselves to keep us safe and protect us from doing hard things that might hurt us. Breaking these mental boundaries are hard, but they are by no means impossible. Training for a marathon is the first time in my life that I have experienced this first hand - I would have never guessed that I was capable of running 42km at 15 years old, but I have surprised myself by breaking all the limitations that I thought stood in my way. I have proven to myself that I am capable of way more than I could have ever imagined.
And this is a good feeling. I feel unstoppable. Alive. Strong.
My goal for April is to continue to break both the physical and mental limitations that hold me back from my goals. I am so curious and excited to see what I can accomplish in my life if I learn how to stop setting mental boundaries on my potential…
Other cool things that happened this month
My challenge team (Yelim, Apoorva and I), were chosen to present our idea of a meal planning app to Walmart executives, including the CEO of Walmart Canada. The presentations were livestreamed to the entire company, who loved not only our ideas, but also the presentations. Apoorva was the presenter for our team who did a phenomenal job at communicating our ideas and values for a stress-free shopping experience with the aid of a meal-planning app to the Walmart team. (View our recommendation dec here!)
I competed in the North Western Ontario Science Fair and placed top 3 for my project on using CRISPR to genetically modify e.coli bacteria. I presented my project in front of 7 STEM professionals and had a lot of fun preparing and presenting for the competition.
This month I interviewed for the Activate program, which is the 2nd year program in TKS. Innovate (1st year program that I’m in) focuses on introducing emerging technologies. It helps dip your toe in the huge ocean of STEM fields that are out there. The purpose of Activate though, is to use these technologies to solve huge problems in the world. Innovate is innovating and learning about cool STEM fields, and Activate is taking that knowledge and acting upon it to truly impact the world.
My goal for Activate (if I am accepted) is to actually do something to help alleviate poverty in developing countries. For the past year I have been writing articles, having interesting conversations and making videos, but I haven’t done anything to make the world a better place. It has been all talk and no action. In Activate I want to take everything I have learned in Innovate and actually help solve poverty.
Some very exciting news I just found out a few days ago, is that I am one of 15 TKS students to be chosen to attend Collision, one of the largest tech conferences in the world. The conference takes place in Toronto at the end of June, where speakers and entrepreneurs from around the world gather for a 5 day event of presentations, speaking, networking and learning. I am beyond excited to be attending my first ever in-person conference!! The best part is that I will get to meet some of my best friends in person! All the TKS students will be staying in a large airbnb, so we will get a lot of time to socialize and get to know each other. It is so incredibly exciting that after one year of building the deepest friendships of my life, and spending hundreds of hours with my best friends over a computer screen - I finally get to meet these wonderful humans in person. It is a dream come true!
I have lots of running planned this month to make sure I am in prime form for the Ottawa marathon.
Then at the end of May I will be flying to Ottawa to run the marathon and meet some of my best friends in-person for the first time.
I will be working with my moonshot to finish all content we need to create, and then if we are chosen as a top team we will be pitching our ideas to judges. Our goal is to be a top finalist team.
Since I placed top 3 for the regional science fair, I was selected to compete in the Canada Wide Science Fair which will be happening in the beginning of May. I will be working this month to polish my presentation for the national competition.
During May I want to continue with my maize research project and write a detailed article about my idea. I want to narrow down the genes I would like to integrate into maize, and decide how I will insert them into maize. Hopefully by the end of next month I will have a complete plan of how I can create a transgenic line of maize that can help to feed millions more people in Africa.
And that, my friends, is my month in a nut shell! I hope that you had a wonderful April, and have an even more wonderful May!
Enjoy the sunshine and see you all in May! ☀️🌱🌼
Until then, feel free to reach out to me on: LinkedIn, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy May and have a lovely rest of your day!