Published: 26th October 2019
This 14-year-old budding researcher from B'luru is trying to formulate a cure for rare genetic disorders. Here's how
Monish Singhal, who was part of the team that recently won an international genomics challenge, tells us about how he wants to change lives through STEM
Most people, especially parents and teachers, often rue the fact that children nowadays have become slaves to technology — spending all their free time on ‘screen time’, like on computers, phones and other trendy gadgets. But that’s not always a bad thing, and a case in point is 14-year-old Monish Singhal who recently participated in the New York Academy of Sciences’ annual Global STEM Alliance (GSA) Summit, a three-day event dedicated to building a global community of Science and Technology leaders.
“I got this opportunity after I pursued online courses from GSA’s Junior Academy, a virtual portal that connects established STEM mentors to students from around the world. I had seen their ad on Facebook two years ago, but I could become a part of the Junior Academy only last year as the minimum eligible age is 13,” says Monish. He was also part of the team Fighting 7000, that comprised of five other international high school students and a professional mentor, that won the ‘The Fall 2019 challenge on Genomics’ for their end-to-end, four-part comprehensive solution, covering several aspects like the identification and treatment of rare genetic disorders.
“This once-in-a-lifetime project opened my eyes to the reality behind rare diseases. In India alone, there are about a million people who are known to be affected by rare genetic diseases and they suffer because either treatment is still in its infancy stage or very expensive. I want to pursue further studies on this subject and help people who are suffering,” adds the teenager who is a class X student of VIBGYOR High, Marathahalli, Bengaluru.
So, what was it that attracted Monish to this field? “For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in Science and Technology, but this particular fixation with STEM developed because of my mother. She is the founder of a start-up called WaveKids, which makes use of fun and unconventional teaching methods to promote STEM learning. ‘Out-of-syllabus’ learning has always been my thing because of this. So, I would call myself a self-learner as I put in a lot of effort to learn new things every day, but I have reached so far in my life only because of the support of my parents and teachers at VIBGYOR,” he shares.
Monish may be very young and is yet to write his board exams, but he is very clear about the career path that he wants to embark on. “I want to become a researcher in the field of Chemistry. I also want to explore how we can use STEM to improve human lives. I want to dedicate my life to this pursuit,” he signs off.