Documentary Film "Inventing Tomorrow" featuring Bengaluru teenager Sahithi Pingali wins the prestigious "Peabody Award"
"Meet passionate teen innovators from around the globe tackling environmental threats in their own backyards while they navigate the doubts and insecurities of adolescence.
"Meet passionate teen innovators from around the globe tackling environmental threats in their own backyards while they navigate the doubts and insecurities of adolescence. Join these inspiring teenagers as they present their cutting-edge solutions at the largest convening of high school scientists in the world, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair ( ISEF )
These are the lines about the documentary movie titled " Inventing Tomorrow"…. And the exhilarating news is that our very own Bangalore girl, Sahithi Pingali is one of the four teen innovators whose innovative work is featured in this documentary for being recognized as a cutting-edge solution to environmental threats.
About Sahiti Pingali, we can proudly proclaim "She has done it again" – because as the high school teenager,she was extensively in National and International news when a planet was named after her for her work on the lakes of Bengaluru.
Now Sahithi finished her second year of undergrad at Stanford University in California, where she is majoring in Environmenal Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.
Sahithi explains –"Inventing Tomorrow follows young scientists from all over the globe as they pursue innovative projects to address environmental issues they see in their own communities. I am one of them, and my project, WaterInsights, focusses on enabling citizen monitoring of water to collect large-scale water health data. It was inspired by the heavily polluted lakes of Bangalore that have been known to foam and even catch fire. Growing up around these lakes, I wanted to do something to work towards fixing water pollution issues.
To make the movie, the filmmakers interviewed hundreds of students from around the world who had environmental projects competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (the largest pre-collegiate science fair in the world). Eventually they narrowed it down to just 4 projects. The entire film crew flew out and filmed with me in Bangalore, and also in the US when I travelled there to compete in the science fair and continue my research at the University of Michigan afterwards.
Inventing Tomorrow has a lot of messages for young people. It showcases the importance of science education, and science communication. It emphasizes the importance of observing environmental threats in your own backyard, and striving to make a difference with whatever skills you have in a world that's in a truly dire environmental state. Most of all, it shows that anyone, no matter how young, can make a difference
My project began back in 2016, when I helped co-found a club in my school focussed on raising awareness about Bangalore's polluted lakes. My interest in activism combined with my interest in science, and I created the first version of WaterInsights. I used to go to 7 lakes every Friday to collect and test water samples. Over the last several years, the project has grown from a very basic lake monitoring project into an ultra low-cost water monitoring system that anyone can use to check the health of water in their home or environment. All data collected through this system goes towards creating a crowdsourced first-of-its-kind Water Health Map of the World.
WaterInsights has grown into a non-profit startup, and I've developed lesson plans to go with the monitoring system so schools can have students collect water data and then use the excitement of that practical activity to jump start an environmental education conversation. Inventing Tomorrow has had a huge positive impact when included in the lesson plans – students love seeing the movie and then actually using one of the projects from the film!
The movie team is also doing a lot of impact work on using the film to promote science and environmental education, and this has helped me get a lot of exposure and excitement for WaterInsights. I've had students in over 13 US states use the system!
Currently, Sahithi is continuing to work on WaterInsights to make it even more accurate and easy to use. After completing a beta test in the US last year, she is now working on rolling out the system to many schools in both India and the US. 'There are a lot of interesting things I am hoping to use the collected data for, such as pollution alerts, health predictions, and automated remediation recommendations." she says, and adds' that she is interning at an energy storage company as developing good, cheap energy storage is essential for making a global transition to cleaner energy and stopping climate change!"
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PEABODY AWARD CITATION for "Inventing Tomorrow" announced on June 10, 2020
In a world full of existential crises—climate change, pollution, environmental degradation—it feels like at every turn we are confronted with seemingly unsolvable problems. It's enough to make one despair, but for the next generation of scientists. Inventing Tomorrow follows young scientists—girls and boys of all backgrounds from across the globe—as they develop real, practical, and indeed, inspired solutions to these crises. We follow them as they form and test their hypotheses, as they debate with their families over dinner, and ultimately as they travel on their path to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's most prestigious science fair. For serving not only as a celebration of science, of the beauty of knowledge, of sheer ingenuity, but also as a celebration of the young people who are working to solve the problems gifted to them by prior generations Inventing Tomorrow wins a Peabody.