Hi! I’m Arunima, an 18-year-old innovator, designer, and STEM enthusiast from Bangalore, India. I’m passionate about designing innovative solutions to global problems using STEM. I love working with like-minded individuals on a variety of projects.
I’ve been the recipient of several international and national awards, including the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement) - the highest civilian honor for Indian citizens under the age of 18, President’s gold medal, MPower Financing Women in STEM grand award, United Technologies Future of Buildings and Cities Challenge grand award, Big Data Challenge grand award, Infosys Science Foundation Nutrition Challenge grand award, and a Distinguished Student award from the New York Academy of Sciences. Additionally, I’ve given talks at popular forums like TEDx, Kyoorius Designyatra, Salesforce, and All India Radio.
Currently, I’m taking a year off to focus on my work, hone my skills, travel to new places, and expand my network before I start university next year. When I’m not working on research projects, collaborating with international students, or working on something cool, you can find me trying out new restaurants in town, playing my guitar, or painting.
What I've done so far...
JUNIOR INTERN, SALESFORCE
I interned at Salesforce in the summer of 2017 under the Girls in Tech initiative and developed an interactive management system using different Salesforce tools like data.com, financial services cloud, and philanthropy cloud. The management system was aimed for public libraries.
ISSYP SCHOLAR, PERIMETER INSTITUTE FOR THEORETICAL PHYSICS
I was accepted as one of the 40 students overall and 20 students internationally to attend the International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) with full financial aid and scholarship. I attended lectures and seminars in quantum mechanics, special relativity, general relativity, and cosmology. Additionally, I studied and presented a poster on quantum mechanics and cryptography in a mentored group led by Jamie Sikora, a postdoc at Perimeter Institute.
YALE YOUNG GLOBAL SCHOLAR,
I was accepted to the Yale Young Global Scholars program, a highly-selective academic enrichment program at Yale University. I attended the session in Applied Science and Engineering with a near-full scholarship. In addition to attending seminars and lectures in diverse subjects from particle physics to robotics, I completed a capstone project on cleaning ocean garbage debris. I was also selected as one of the ten speakers for the YYGS ASE and IAS Speaker Series.
MEMBER OF THE JUNIOR ACADEMY OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
I was accepted to the Junior Academy, a selective online research program for high school students with an acceptance rate of 10%, in my sophomore year of high school. Since then, I have collaborated with international students and co-developed eight projects. I was a part of the winning teams of three challenges and a part of the finalist teams in four challenges. You can read more about my involvement with the Academy here.
MEMBER, R.A.S.I.T GIRLS IN SCIENCE FOR SDGS
I am a team member of the Girls in Science for SDGs international platform, an initiative by the Royal Academy of Science International Trust. I work with girls in science advocates from across the world to decrease the gender gap in the sciences and achieve the UN 2030 agenda.
STUDENT INTERN, LABORATORY FOR ELECTRO-OPTICS SYSTEMS, INDIAN SPACE RESEARCH ORGANIZATION
I interned at the Thin Films, MEMS, and Detector group at LEOS, ISRO in the summer of 2018 and researched on the quantum efficiency of silicon photodiode and solar cell using vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL).
All through my high school years, I've endeavored to combine my skills and experiences with my passion. My collaborative projects, displayed below, reflect my efforts to make an impactful change in the world.
HOMESTEAD GREEN: DESIGNING THE BUILDINGS OF TOMORROW
Designed an energy-efficient skyscraper for both residential and commercial use with a low carbon footprint on the environment, featuring all modern conveniences that enhance the well-being of occupants while merging nature and technology to promote a green lifestyle. The skyscraper integrates various sustainable technologies and green walls which will contribute to the fauna adaptation in the urban environment.
Team Members: Darius Filip (Romania), Bani Singh (Norway), Ioana-Elena Tarabasanu (Romania), Sachin Dangi (Nepal), Irhum Shafkat (Bangladesh), Arunima Sen (India)
Created a solution to effectively combat malnutrition among expectant mothers and children under the age of five in India. Podible is a cheap but impactful dissolvable nutrient pod that acts as an effective supplement to meals. The pod, cased in monosol, contains nutrients (like iron, omega 3, and folate) required by children under the age of five and care-taking mothers. Also created a distribution algorithm that creates an index that determines which states need the most funding to tackle malnutrition.
Team Members: Leela Jay (USA), Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran (India), Prithve Shekar (India), Sandeep Rao (India), Arunima Sen (India)
PETS: POACHING ELIMINATION AND TRACKING SYSTEM
Developed a sensor-based technology to detect and control poaching. The technology consists of a low-cost monitoring system that can identify poachers without requiring human interference. The system will use infrared cameras to differentiate between animals and humans, and alert nearby animals if unauthorized humans, most-likely poachers, trigger one of the systems.
Team Members: Abdallah Sabah (Egypt), Margaret Gates (USA), Ioana-Elena Tarabasanu (Romania), Vaibhav Chetty (Scotland), David Oliveira (Brazil), Arunima Sen (India)
PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS FOR BARLEY YIELDS
Analyzed the relationship between barley yields in the United States and climate change factors using open data and data analysis techniques and devised a solution - using IoT and data science - to increase yield. Developed a system for farmers to use data-backed decisions to maximize yields. The solution implements IoT which uses sensors and internet connectivity to gather and analyze data.
Team Members: Archi Parekh (USA), Kevin McManus (Mexico), Javier Arevalo (Guatemala), Arunima Sen (India)
SWIPACS: SMART WILDFIRE INTEGRATED PREDICTION AND CONTAINMENT SYSTEM
Designed a prototype of an integrated wildfire prediction and containment system. The system consists of an effective machine learning model, chemical suppressants and retardants, rods, and drones.
Team Members: Abdallah Sabah (Egypt), Kesava Kirupa Dinakaran (India), Margaret Gates (USA), Rishabh Java (UAE), Vikram Mishra (India), Arunima Sen (India)
Designed an integrated aircraft system combined with various sub-systems to address various issues within the airline industry. Main issues tackled were takeoff and landing distances, logistics of boarding and storing of aircraft, energy efficiency in flights, combustion efficiency, drag and aerodynamics, safety and detection of crises, and in-flight services and entertainment. Designed a dynamic winglet system that adjusts in-flight to give optimum pressure and drag reduction rates and made a variety of adjustments to the existing engine systems, including an increase to the number and speed of compression blades in order to allow the plane to travel at higher altitudes, a thermo-cooling system to reduce the temperature of the engines given the insulation of the internal engine duct, oxygen injectors to ensure complete combustion to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. To reduce mass as well as produce additional energy, we plan on using an HPEV system to produce electricity, hydrogen gas (for hydrogen fuel cells) and oxygen gas (for the engines), using sunlight collected via focal lenses and fiber optic.
Team Members: Abdallah Sabah (Egypt), Margaret Gates (USA), Rishabh Java (UAE), Robyn An (South Korea), Sthuthi Satish (India), Arunima Sen (India)
ENERGÍA SOLAR FAHRZEUG
Designed a prototype of an energy-efficient solar hybrid bus to achieve the UN SDGs. Used Li-ion batteries to store solar energy and HEPA filters for air purification and conditioning.
ESF aims to reduce direct pollution, combat the issue of traffic jams by offering people a clean-air, comfortable, and efficient alternative to personal transportation, and act towards alleviating the drastic climate change brought in the recent years.
Team Members: Miruna-Elena Vlad (Romania), Havana Key-Menezes (India), Humfrey Kimanya (Tanzania), Thangam Ann (USA), Arunima Sen (India)
SPECTRONUTRIENT: SPECTROPHOTOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF MICRONUTRIENTS
Conceptualized a device using Arduino Pro Mini to determine the micronutrient levels in a body from strands of hair by the process of spectrophotometry. We concluded that measurement of micronutrients can be accurately determined in a custom-made hair solution using a spectrophotometry device with an easy, accurate and inexpensive procedure to fulfill needs for better data from South East Asia, Africa, and India.
Team Members: Natalia Sikora (Poland), Ronja Holopainen (Finland), Evan Batov (USA), William Edmonds (USA), Arunima Sen (India)
PRADHAN MANTRI RASHTRIYA BAL PURASKAR (THE NATIONAL CHILD AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL ACHIEVEMENT) IN INNOVATION
I received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, the highest civilian honor for Indian citizens under the age of 18, for my exceptional achievements in the field of innovation. I was one of the 6 winners and the only female awarded in this field. I received this award from the Hon'ble President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind at the presidential residence, Rashtrapati Bhawan, on the 22nd of January. I, along with other awardees, also had an interaction with the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi at his residence on the 24th of January.
Besides being conferred with a gold medal and a cash prize of INR 100,000, I was also given a book voucher worth INR 10,000, a certificate, and citation. The awardees were also a part of the historic Indian Republic Day parade.
GRAND WINNER OF THE INFOSYS SCIENCE FOUNDATION NUTRITION CHALLENGE
With a team of four other high school students, I participated in the Infosys Science Foundation Nutrition Challenge conducted in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences. The participants were required to come up with a solution to effectively combat malnutrition among expectant mothers and children under the age of five. Our project revolves around a cheap but impactful dissolvable nutrient pod that acts as an effective supplement to meals. We created a pod cased in monosol that contains nutrients (like iron, omega 3, and folate) required by children under the age of six and care-taking mothers. We plan to deliver these pods through the Anganwadi centers and state-run canteens to increase our outreach to improve overall nutrition levels in India. We also created a distribution algorithm that creates an index that determines which states need the most funding to tackle malnutrition. There were around 3000 participants in this challenge and our team emerged as the best team across India.
We were awarded by Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Mr. Mohandas Pai at the Infosys Prize Ceremony. I received an educational scholarship of INR 500,000 and an all-expenses-paid visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation to witness the launch of PSLV-C45.
GRAND AWARD WINNER OF THE UNITED TECHNOLOGIES FUTURE OF BUILDINGS AND CITIES CHALLENGE
With a team of international high school students, I participated in the Future of Buildings and Cities Challenge sponsored by the United Technologies Corporation and designed an energy-efficient skyscraper for both residential and commercial use with a low carbon footprint on the environment. The skyscraper features all modern conveniences that enhance the well-being of occupants while merging nature and technology to promote a green lifestyle.
We were chosen as the grand winner out of the numerous teams that participated in the challenge. We received the grand award of $7500 and all-expenses-paid trips to West Palm Beach, Florida and New York City where we interacted with United Technologies and attended the Global STEM Alliance Summit of the New York Academy of Sciences respectively. We were featured by the Fast Company, My Palm Beach Post, and Firstpost.
GRAND AWARD WINNER OF THE BIG DATA CHALLENGE
I worked with an international team and analyzed the relationship between barley yields in the United States and climate change factors using open data and data analysis techniques. We developed a system - using IoT and data science - for farmers to use data-backed decisions to maximize yields. My team was chosen as the grand winner of the Big Data Challenge sponsored by Medidata, Regeneron, and STEM Fellowship.
DISTINGUISHED STUDENT AWARD OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
In my involvement with the New York Academy of Sciences, I have co-developed eight STEM research projects with international peers: a device to non-invasively determine micronutrient levels in organisms, a prototype of an energy-efficient solar hybrid bus, a smart and sustainable green building, predictive analytics for optimizing barley yield in the United States, a sensor-based technology to detect and control poaching, a novel data-driven intervention model to combat malnutrition in India, an integrated wildfire prediction and containment system, and an integrated aircraft system to increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and produce additional energy using HPEV systems. You can read more about the projects in the 'Projects' section. I was the grand winner of three challenges -- UTC Future of Buildings and Cities Challenge, Big Data Challenge, Infosys Science Foundation Nutrition Challenge -- and a finalist in four challenges - Human-Wildlife Conflict Challenge, Challenge 2030, UTC Aerospace Challenge and Wildfires Challenge.
I was invited to New York and Florida two consecutive years in a row to present my projects to eminent personalities including Nobel Laureates and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, I was accredited as a Young Member for having proved personal and educational commitment in the field of STEM and I also served as the Bicentennial Ambassador of the Academy for spreading the word about the importance of supporting scientific research, STEM education, and science literacy around the globe.
SPEAKER AT KYOORIUS DESIGNYATRA 2019
I was the youngest among 26 speakers at Kyoorius Designyatra 2019, India’s largest design and innovation conference. I had the honor to share the stage alongside accomplished designers like David Carson, Timothy Goodman, and Paul Sahre. I spoke about my passion for sustainability, my collaborative project on smart and sustainable buildings, design thinking, and contrarianism.
GRAND WINNER OF THE MPOWER FINANCING WOMEN IN STEM SCHOLARSHIP
At age 17, I’m the youngest recipient ever of an MPower Financing Scholarship. I received this award alongside a Harvard Medical Student. The Women in STEM Scholarship valued worth USD 5000, will help me cover my tuition expenses. As per their website, they “designed this scholarship program to focus on women who will use their STEM degree to benefit society and the planet and who have the potential to serve as role models and advocates for women in STEM”.
Watch the TEDx talk I gave at the International School of Business and Research, Bangalore!