School: Hamilton High School
It’s one thing to watch a news story on tv, or to see a posting on social media. It’s completely different to experience a wildfire in real life. Just ask Prisha Shroff. The moment her family had to turn around and try to find a different route home from Los Angeles changed her life. The air was acrid. The city was uninhabitable. The problem was unsustainable.
“The fire was blocking the entire freeway and we were forced to turn around,” Shroff said. “My friends were forced to leave their home. The pollution was so bad I couldn’t step outside, anything like that. It wasn’t that it affected one person, it affected everyone in the area.”
Shroff began thinking, and planning, which led to emails and phone calls. She’s developing an AI-based wildfire prevention system that would leverage satellite data from NASA, use environmentally friendly fire retardant developed by a Stanford researcher, detect current and active wildfires, and manage all of it using drone technology.
“I realized we need to do not just prevention, but prevention, detection and suppression all in one,” Shroff said. “I want to make the drone deployment solution an actual thing.”
The wildfire prevention system isn’t Shroff’s first invention. She’s also developed self-cleaning solar panels. Many of her ideas lie at the intersection between climate change and technology.
“We can improve our world today for future generations,” Shroff said. “Climate change is a pressing issue. I’ve seen disasters like wildfires. I want to do what I can to reduce climate change. I want to be an inventor who’s creating solutions to real-life problems. That’s my long-term goal.”
Along with the compassion for the environment and technology, Shroff also has a passion for education. She worked with a legislative aid and proposed the “Day One” bill to a senator for incorporating the Chief Science Officer program in every school, which makes STEM a priority.
Whether that is creating new technology or educating others in the world of environmentalism, she is determined to make this world we live in, a better place.Back to Recipients