TIME names 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao its first Kid of the Year

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY

Time magazine has selected 15-year-old scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao as its first-ever Kid of the Year.

The magazine has named a Person of the Year for 92 years, and in 2019, Greta Thunberg became the youngest person to ever receive the honor. Before Thunberg, the youngest recipient was 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh in 1927.

This year, Time partnered with Nickelodeon to search social media and school districts across the country to find the most influential kid of 2020.

The list was narrowed down from 5,000 young Americans to five finalists, who will each receive a cash prize and be given a chance to contribute to the magazine. The short list includes artist Tyler Gordon, 14, designer and activist Jordan Reeves, 14, world’s first crayon activist Bellen Woodard, 10, and youth hunger activist Ian McKenna, 16.

2019 Person of the Year: Time names teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg

“Small steps can lead to big change,” TIME for Kids editor Andrea Delbanco said in a statement. “These are everyday kids making change in their communities in a fun and accessible – but very impactful – way.”

Rao told Angelina Jolie in an interview for Time she was 10 years old when she became interested in carbon nanotube sensor technology, molecules that can detect chemicals in water. At age 11, she won the Young Scientist Challenge for creating a device that can detect lead in drinking water with the help of a mobile app. Last year, she was named to Forbes' 30 under 30 list.

She also has developed an app and Chrome extension called Kindly which uses artificial-intelligence technology to detect cyberbullying at an early stage, she told Time.

Rao said she has developed an interest in genetics and is working on a way to detect biocontaminants like parasites in water and a product to diagnose prescription ­opioid addiction early on.

She told the magazine she has also partnered with rural schools, STEM organizations and museums around the world to run innovation workshops to help young students develop their own inventions. She said she has mentored more than 30,000 students.

"My goal has really shifted not only from creating my own devices to solve the world’s problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well," she said. "Because, from personal experience, it’s not easy when you don’t see anyone else like you."

Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TIME names scientist Gitanjali Rao as first ever Kid of the Year