School: Arizona College Prep High School
Teenagers are not exactly well regarded for their culinary pursuits. Mihira Karnik is special, not only for her affinity for – and talents with – cooking, but also her scientific approach to cooking and nutrition. She just might change the way you eat someday.
“When I was in sixth grade I noticed a lot of food problems with my family,” Karnik, 16, said. “Me and my mom had really weak stomachs. I wanted to see why this was happening. Basically, as you cook your food, cell walls break down and vegetables become easier to digest but you don’t get nutrients from it.”
Karnik, a junior at Arizona College Prep High School, got to work developing a smart cooking device. She worked with a professor at ASU, filed for a patent and co-founded the company, MAAI Health.
“The sweet spot in cooking is ‘Give me your vegetables but let’s make sure you get nutrients,’” Karnik said. “I’ve kept researching this idea until now, basically. It started with looking into onions. Now I’m looking at other vegetables.”
Karnik’s prototype alerts a user when their vegetables are properly cooked, maximizing the nutritional value while also finding that “sweet spot” for those folks who have sensitive stomachs.
Karnik has started creating videos offering nutrition tips and other information about food and health. She’s also thinking about developing and marketing her cooking pot.
“I do want to market my product,” she said. “Right now, I’m most focused on creating the videos. Starting to market my product, that’s my ‘What’s next?’”
What’s next indeed. Karnik, a student of many talents, is also the lead on a project called EcoClamp. This project has a technology-based program that would detect items that are recyclable before being thrown away.
Karnik plans to use her love for science to ultimately, change the world.Back to Recipients