Every day, young adults are accomplishing amazing things all around the world. Acknowledging them should be our greatest priority, as our future is in their hands.
Throughout this article, we shine the spotlight on seventeen young adults who have achieved incredible things. It’s guaranteed that in a decade’s time, they will be the leaders of their industries, inspiring the younger generations. They represent the young Zuckerbergs, Winfreys, and Einsteins of our time and, therefore, should not be overlooked.
1. Emma Yang, 13
Emma Yang is a computer scientist who is passionate about empowering girls and women to pursue careers in male-dominated fields. She believes the world would benefit greatly from the groundbreaking ideas of the uncharted demographic. In 2015, Emma claimed second place in the Technovation Challenge, a technology entrepreneurship competition that encourages girls to practice code. After winning the competition, Emma went on to develop an app called ‘Timeless’.
Timeless helps Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones to reestablish a sense of control and connectedness at times they feel most powerless. When addressing the matter of stimulating creativity and innovation she had the following to say: “There’s so many opportunities and possibilities. It’s really a time for you to experiment and see what you’re interested in.”
You can download Emma’s app here.
2. Henry Burner, 15
Henry Burner is the founder of ‘Buttonsmith’, an online store that sells various knickknacks. It all started with a class project on trading when Henry was in the fourth grade. Not long after setting up the business, Henry went from selling his products at a local farmers market, to e-commerce stores such as Amazon, to now managing his own website. Likewise, the range of products quickly expanded from buttons to lanyards, magnets, and badge reels. Henry is also behind the ergonomic and recyclable design of the patented Thinker Reel, the swappable and decorative badge reels.
You can purchase the Thinker Reel along with others products here.
3. Rowan Blanchard, 16
Rowan Blanchard is an actress and activist. Many of us may know her from her role in Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World”. Rowan uses the influence she has over the youth with the utmost responsibility, something that can’t typically be said of her predecessors. She advocates for young people and wishes to show the world that our future is in good hands. Rowan is incredibly eloquent and sophisticated in the way she addresses her audience. It’s reassuring to know that adolescents browsing the unfiltered contents of the internet are presented with a positive role model. Her followers have the opportunity to witness her progressive criticism of current affairs on a daily basis.
Click here to follow her on Twitter.
4. Gabriel Mesa, 17
Gabriel Mesa is the founder of Mesa Foundry, a company dedicated to sponsoring innovators whose revolutionary concepts have the potential to change the lives of millions around the globe. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Gabriel is also an inventor. He began developing a biodegradable Carbon Battery, one of his many inventions, at the age of 15. The battery serves as a motion-powered energy source which harnesses free energy. The next step for Gabriel would be to commercialize his inventions, a process which entails fabrication and distribution.
Read more about the Mesa Foundry along with Gabriel’s vast array of inventions here.
5. Marley Dias, 13
Marley Dias is the founder of “1000 Black Girl Books”, a campaign which aims to collect 1000 books featuring a black female as the protagonist. As of now, more than 9000 books have been collected and catalogued on the database. Marley has also published her own book, “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!” an autobiography in which she discusses her passion for making a difference in the world and accomplishing great things at a young age.
Learn more about Marley and her journey here.
6. Hannah Herbst, 17
Hannah Herbst is the inventor of BEACON (Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy), a device that captures energy from ocean waves. BEACON has the potential to provide a stable source of power for the world. Hannah strives to deploy the system in LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) where it can power medical equipment and water purification.
Find out more about Hannah’s path to creating BEACON here.
7. Madina Nalwanga, 17
Madina Nalwanga acts alongside respected AOCs (Actors of Color) such as Lupita Nyong’o in “Queen of Katwe”. She plays Phiona Mutesi, a girl from the Kampala slum of Katwe who becomes an international chess champion. Nalwanga has received countless accolades recognizing her outstanding performance. These include a Women Film Critics Circle Award, an NAACP Image Award, and multiple Critics Choice Award nominations. When discussing her journey to reach her aspirations in life, Nalwanga stated that “Phiona’s life is my life. Everything she went through to be successful is everything that I went through to make sure that I’m successful.”
Watch the movie trailer for “Queen of Katwe” here.
8. Peyton Robertson, 16
Innovator Peyton Robertson is the youngest winner of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and the National STEM Education Award. He already holds patents for five of his inventions. Among these, a bike with retractable training wheels and a sandbag which helps fight seawater flooding.
Continue reading about Peyton’s achievements here.
9. Ashima Shiraishi, 16
In 2015, rock climber Ashima Shiraishi became the first female in history to complete a V15 grade climb. Many of her fellow competitors consider her the best climber in the United States. Ashima emphasizes the importance of having a strong mind when practising a sport like rock climbing. She claims climbing has contributed greatly to her heightened sense of discipline and focus, commending the sport for the benefits it has on the psyche. “Although rock climbing is a dangerous sport,” she admits, “the only thing I fear is not being able to reach the top.”
Watch a documentary short about Ashima here.
10. Skyler Grey, 17
The Fresh Prince of Street Art (otherwise known as Skyler Grey) is renowned for his modern and eccentric graffiti art. At just 11 years old, Skyler’s work was exhibited in his first art show. Skyler has painted murals for the Four Seasons in Dubai and his work has been in the London’s Graffik Gallery. Not to mention his art is well sought after by reputable musicians such as Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz.
You can preview Skyler’s greatest pieces here.
11. Rohan Suri, 17
Rohan Suri is the founder of Averia Health Solutions, “The World’s Most Inexpensive and Accurate Concussion Test.” The method uses nothing more than the practitioner’s smartphone and a headset to perform the diagnosis via eye tracking tests. Rohan was motivated to develop Averia after his brother was misdiagnosed with a concussion. At the time, the success of eye tracking tests was being held back by the costly equipment necessary to perform the tests. Since then, Rohan’s invention has gained a considerable amount of traction after successfully diagnosing hundreds of patients.
Find out more about Averia Health here.
12. Maanasa Mendu, 15
Maanasa Mendu sought out to resolve the scarcity of energy in the South of Asia after witnessing an unprecedented number of blackouts in her home country of India. This led her to create Harvest, a device in the shape of a leaf that collects various forms of renewable energy from nature. Her ingenious concept won her the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in 2016 along with the respect of numerous scientists around the world. Maanasa’s goal is to commercialize Harvest in order to make it available in LEDCs.
Read more about her incredible inventions here.
13. Alia Al Mansoori, 15
In 2017, Alia’s research on heat shock proteins won her the Genes in Space Award. She discovered that these could potentially be used as a shield for the human body for conditions such as microgravity and radiation that are typically encountered in outer space. “Astronauts can’t keep wearing suits to protect us forever,” she claims. “I wanted to find a way to keep us safe from the inside out.” This statement illustrates Alia’s philosophy which constitutes in a forward-thinking mentality.
Read about how this attitude got her invention launched up into space here.
14. Haile Thomas, 16
Haile Thomas has been an advocate for proper diet and nutrition from a young age. At the start of last year, Haile became the youngest certified health coach in the United States after graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In 2012, she founded HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth), a nonprofit organization that provides affordable culinary education to the youth in malnourished communities. When explaining what motivated her to choose this career path Haile had the following to say: “When I was 8 years old, my dad was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, a disease caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices,” she explains. “This diagnosis opened the eyes of my entire family. We started to learn about the importance of exercise and how food really affects the body.”
Find her delicious and nutritious recipes here.
15. Hebh Jamal, 17
Hebh Jamal is the activist behind the student walkout in New York City protesting President Trump’s Travel Ban. “If there’s an issue you’re passionate about, research it and really understand it,” Explains Jamal. “Then just yell until someone hears you. And after people hear you, organize with them and have them yell with you.” This perfectly represents her outspoken attitude, her dedication, and her ambition. Jamal is one of the leading members of Integrate New York City while also working full time at the New York Appleseed, organizations that fight against school segregation.
Learn about what went on behind the scenes of the student walkout here.
16. Chloe Kim, 17
Chloe Kim dominated the Women’s Snowboarding category at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. It was a record-breaking year for her to say the least. She became the first American woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding along with earning the highest score in the history of the competition. These achievements have gained her the well-deserved title of “Snowboarding Sensation.”
Watch her compete in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
17. Sydney Gutiérrez, 16
Sydney Gutiérrez is an activist and advocate for education. She is passionate about challenging traditional perceptions regarding women’s role in society. She has spoken out about her hopes for the future of women’s rights on The Voice of Women, a radio show in Mexico. Sydney’s contributions to the education of women have been recognized by notable figures such as Malala Yousafzai.
Find out more about her work as an advocate for education here.