When I was in high school, I learned about The Tech Awards, which recognizes 5 companies each year that have built technology that benefits society. The award is sponsored and hosted by Microsoft, Nokia, Intel, Applied Materials, and The Swanson Foundation (Robert Swanson, founder of Genentech). Winners have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Ted Turner. I thought, maybe one day I’ll build something impactful enough to be recognized by The Tech Awards. 8 years later, it happened. When I got to the 1,200 gala that would announce the winners, I was already thrilled to be one of the nominees. There were five categories and we were in the running for the Young Innovator Award. We met our judges, which included scientists from Genentech, and talked to the sponsors of our award, the inspiring and beautiful Erica Swanson and Judy Swanson of The Swanson Foundation. When it was announced that we were a winner, it was the cherry on top.
In college, I co-founded Nanoly Bioscience with Balaji Sridhar, Mark Tibbitt, and Peter Matheu. We developed polymers that enable vaccines to survive without refrigeration. Rural places with no electricity or infrastructure do not receive vaccines and these are the regions that are most vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Our goal is to get vaccines to anywhere in the world.
With the sponsors of our award, Erica Swanson and Judy Swanson from The Swanson Foundation.
With my awesome co-founder, Balaji Sridhar. I’m not short-he’s just really really tall!
The reception area before the gala and awards show began.
The gala was attended by 1,200 people including the biggest names in Silicon Valley.
A live choir performed between awards!
With Mr. Ted Turner, founder of CNN and TBS, and the person who donated $1 billion to the United Nations. He is a recipient of The Tech Award’s Global Humanitarian Award. He said, “Don’t stop until you’ve made a $1 billion.” I’m working on it, Mr. Turner!
The gala begins!
The anticipation builds as the winners are about to be announced!
What can I say? I was pretty excited.
I think this is the first time that I’ve given an acceptance speech. Definitely nerve-wracking!
The trophies were heavy! The entire base is made from silicon (appropriate!).