Mason High School freshman Maanasa Mendu was recently featured in the class of 2017 Forbes 30 under 30 list, making her the youngest to earn one of the coveted spots.
Mendu won the Discovery Education 3M Scientists Challenge with an energy-harvesting device. The goal of this device was to harvest both wind and solar energy as power sources.
Mendu said she was surprised to receive this level of recognition and hopes that she can inspire people to make good use of their talents.
“It’s way beyond what I initially expected (after winning),” Mendu said. “I guess it does feel like a pretty big responsibility to set an example so that other people can also be inspired to use their talents to do something good for our world.”
Mendu said being featured on this list will allow her to develop connections and start her on a path towards a career in science.
“It helps me contact people who are in the industry and well accomplished,” Mendu said. “At first I didn’t really think of it as a career–just a cool project I was working on. Now I’m considering it because I’m at the phase of taking it forward.”
Her innovative mind has brought her an immense amount of recognition. In order to come up with ideas, such as her harvesting complex, Mendu said she first starts with analyzing problems and evaluating current solutions.
“Take a look at the problems that are currently affecting society, make a list of one through five and then start off by looking at more of the specifics, ” Mendu said. “Try to narrow down on the problems that you’re thinking about solving, and then look into current solutions and the flaws of current solutions–that’s pretty important so that you have an idea of what you want to do.”
Mendu has shown her age is nothing but a number as she continues to achieve great success in the science field. Mendu said taking chances on ideas and not losing faith in them despite the skepticism one may receive is key to achieving a goal.
“Don’t be afraid of your ideas,” Mendu said. “Sometimes you think ‘these are stupid, they’re never going to work,’ but sometimes you have to be brave and go for it. If you believe in it, you will be fine.”