Girl, 17, outshines world leaders as she invents trailblazing tool to end starvation

Now THIS is the kind of person we want to see grace the cover of Vogue.

Meet Lillian Kay Petersen, aka inventor extraordinaire who has just developed a tool to help prevent starvation in Africa.

And all at just 17-years-old.

Thanks to the aspiring philanthropist’s efforts, Lillian has been crowned winner of a teen science fair which has seen her secure an impressive $250,000 (£191k) in prize money.

Lillian was one of ten finalists in America’s prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search competition for high school seniors who showcase exceptional scientific leadership.

The New Mexico native developed a tool for predicting harvests growing early in the season, which can help improve distribution planning for those without access to food.

Speaking about her invention, Lillian said: “I created a model to predict crop fields in every country in Africa, three to four months before the harvest, using satellite imagery.”

The inspiration for her tool came directly from her own family, as she revealed that nine years ago, her parents adopted three children – all of whom faced food insecurity in their childhood and struggled with developmental delays.

Lillian added: “Ethiopia faced a major drought and 18million people were at risk of starvation, I became motivated to help organisations respond to droughts in real-time.”

The tool now does exactly this, by analysing vegetation health on domestic crop data. It has been tested for countries in Africa and accurately predicted successful harvests.

Lillian concluded: “I would advise any student interested in science to see the world through computer programming.

“It opens the doors to everyone to participate in real science at a young age.”

Talking about her remarkable success, President of the Society for Science & the Public, Maya Ajmera, said: “Students like Lillian are the stewards of our future.

“The current pandemic has made it clear how important science is to our wellbeing.

“With these finalists at the forefront of scientific and engineering discovery, I know we are in good hands. They will be solving the world’s most intractable problems.”

We couldn’t agree more.