Mason High School freshman Laalitya Acharya is one of 10 national finalists in the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. (YOUTUBE SCREEN SHOT)

Mason High School student could be ‘America’s Top Young Scientist’

Not bad for a 13-year-old.

Laalitya Acharya is one of 10 national finalists in the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

“On my family’s yearly trip to India, I saw children who have no power in their homes, huddling near dangerous fires. I wanted to change their position in life, to make it better by creating clean energy and electricity,” she said.

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The Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for grades five through eight.

The competition’s winner will be named “America’s Top Young Scientist” and receive a grand prize of $25,000.

Her advice to peers? “Just be you and pave the way for change.”

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In 15 years, Acharya hopes to be solving new challenges and saving lives. Her favorite invention of the last 100 years is the bypass surgery.

“Two years ago my uncle had a heart attack, it was so severe that he had to undergo an emergency bypass surgery. This bypass surgery saved his life, but before 1976, if you had a heart attack the chances of survival were slim. Now, thanks to modern medicine and bypass surgery invention by René Favaloro, survival rates have increased since before 1976.”

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Acharya follows in the footsteps of MHS sophomore Maanasa Mendu, who won the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, and then went on to be named to Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 for her work creating HARVEST, a bio-inspired energy device that uses solar and wind power to capture energy in the form of wind, rain and sun – and converts it to power.

Acharya will be honored by the Mason City Schools Board of Education during its Aug. 8 meeting.

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