Kiara Nirghin

Kiara has developed a unique superabsorbent polymer that holds hundreds of times its weight in water when stored in soil. It is biodegradable, inexpensive and free of harmful chemicals, unlike the manmade materials currently used. The polymer, made entirely from waste products, improves the environment, increases the chance for plants to sustain growth by 84% during a drought and can increase food security by 73% in disaster-struck areas. Last year, Kiara was awarded the Grand Prize at the Google Science Fair, featured by both The Times and the Guardian on their top 30 most influential teens lists, and invited by Forbes and TED to speak about her work. Using these platforms, and her role as a Worldwide Fund for Nature Student Ambassador, Kiara actively promotes the importance of protecting our environment through innovation. By the end of 2018, Kiara plans to successfully implement the polymer in her community and explore other solutions for agriculture worldwide. She also hopes to use her international platform to encourage other young girls to pursue innovative solutions to the challenges that their own communities face. Kiara will be a student at Stanford University studying Biomedical Engineering with a secondary in Computer Science.