Running a marathon, seeing friends in person for the first time, creating solar panels out of bacteria
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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Content I made
I am back with an exciting update about our moonshot project! If you remember from last month’s newsletter, TKS students were given a one month challenge to create a 10X solution to a global problem.
After one crazy-busy month of working with my beautiful team (Apoorva, Noémie, Graeme + Tobias), we create Synthis - a company that is making solar panels out of bacteria that is 5X more efficient than average solar panels and have an unlimited supply chain. Our vision is to make renewable energy generation truly sustainable. Check out the following links to learn more!
Our team was chosen as one of the top 10 teams to present our idea to three very amazing judges: Noel Hurst, Fareena Contractor, and Fuad Ali. And it is my great honor to announce that my team won the 2022 TKS moonshot!! Synthis was awarded the overall top prize by the judges as well as the GoogleX award for the highest impact idea. In the near future, our team will have a meeting with the top innovation team from Ford and a special presentation at the TKS final showcase which I will be giving.
Running a marathon
I ran the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon this month!! For the past 3 months I have really ramped up my usual running training to prepare for 42.2km (26.2 miles). The marathon was on the last weekend in May, so I flew up to Ottawa with my Dad to run the marathon. As I lined up on the start line with 3000 runners from around the world I felt proud - proud of the months of dedication and training I had put into this, proud of making it to the start line, proud of myself whether I finished or not.
3 hours 38 minutes and 52 seconds later this feeling of pride swelled as I crossed the finish line. Every muscle in my body hurt, I was dripping with sweat and my feet were covered in blood blisters. Those last 10km were painful but I pushed through it and finished as the youngest runner of the 2022 Ottawa Marathon and 8min. off qualifying for the Boston. Although it was hard, I enjoyed every single second of the race. The course was beautiful, the volunteers were incredible and the cheering crowd kept me going the whole time.
Was it hard? Yes. Did I want to stop? Yes. Did I keep going? Hell ya!
So my message to you is to put in the hard work and long hours to accomplish your wildest goals! Yes it will be hard, yes it will take a long time and yes it will absolutely be worth it. Keep going and never give up!
(P.S I am still quite sore from the race but am pumped for my next marathon which will hopefully be at the end of this summer)
Seeing my best friends in person for the first time
After a full year of meeting “my people” (lifelong friends who I absolutely adore and love spending time with,) through Zoom, I finally got to meet them in person!! During my trip to Ottawa I attended my first in-person TKS session and got to meet my directors, Ian and Damian, in person for the first time which was such a surreal experience.
I went kayaking with Noémie, painted pottery with Lina, talked about the marathon with Graeme, sang karaoke at a TKS party and had many incredible dinners in the company of my most favorite humans.
My Dad and I also went kayaking on the St.Lawrence river, went to the National Gallery and visited the ByWard Market. (HUGE thank you to my incredible Dad who came to Ottawa with me and made the trip so much fun. We did so many fun things together and I will never forget the time we spent together.)
Between running the marathon and spending time with my friends in person, my trip to Ottawa has definitely been a highlight of the year. I had so much fun and can’t stop smiling as I think about it!
Throughout the entire year I have been trying to understand gene editing and CRISPR as deeply as I can. During my gene editing research I became extremely interested with the application of gene editing in agriculture, which lead to my passion for agritech. For the past few months I have been doing a deep dive with maize, understanding it’s importance as the most used crop in the world, understanding how it works at a molecular level and the major drawbacks of maize in developing countries. Once I understood all this I shifted my focus to innovating - how can I make maize better and help feed millions more people? I am super happy to say that after almost a year of work I have come up with an entire plan for a transgenic strand of maize that solves all the limiting factors of maize in Africa. You can read all about it in the article I wrote below :)
A transgenic strand of maize that can lift millions out of poverty
Other cool things that happened month
I competed in the Canada wide science with my project on using CRISPR to genetically modify e.coli bacteria. There was a full week of judging, presentations and fun STEM events. I ended up winning the biotech award!
Got accepted into activate, the second year program in TKS!
I am SOOO excited for the Collision conference that I will be attending in Toronto this month. It will be my first in-person conference, and I can’t wait to network with professionals, listen to incredible speakers and [hopefully] get some cool opportunities. The rest of my excitement is to finally meet my best friends (I’m looking at you Apoorva and Tobias!) in person! All of the 20 TKS students chosen to attend Collision will be staying in a massive airbnb so we will have lots of time to talk and spend time together!
This month I finished writing an article about my maize research, so in June I will be making a video about it!
The end of year TKS showcase where students get to show their family and friends what they’ve been working on all year is right around the corner! Since my moonshot team won the moonshot, we get a special spot to give a 4 min. presentation about our solution. I am super excited to be giving this presentation as well as speaking about my maize project.
Sadly TKS ends this month! I can’t even begin to say how much I have learnt and grown this year. I have met lifelong friends, worked on epic projects and have realized that I am capable of so much more then I ever imagined. I am now determined to help solve poverty and improve the quality of life for millions of people. I will miss TKS so much and am so thankful for my time at TKS.
And that, my friends, is all the fun stuff that happened this month! I hope that you had a wonderful May, and have an even more wonderful June! (One more month left of school then it’s s u m m e r! No school. Can you tell how stoked I am!)
Enjoy the sunshine and see you all in June! ☀️🌱🌼
Until then, feel free to reach out to me on: LinkedIn, or email me at: email@example.com
And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button on Medium and YouTube so you can read my articles and watch my videos as I publish them.
Happy JUNE and have a lovely rest of your day!
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