|19 Jul 2023|
|2023 Finalists Global Student Prize|
At the age of just 17, Brianna is already a high-achieving robotics developer. Ever since 5th grade she has been fascinated by the subject, and when she began to work on coding and robotics projects that had a real-world impact, she realized that using her skills in this way was her vocation.
Brianna sees coding as an expression of ingenuity, innovation and freedom, and her work is centred on trying to make a positive difference to her community and the environment. Excess levels of air pollutants in her town prompted her to raise awareness and take action, so she founded WeBreathe – a citizen science project that actively involves high-school students to help create pollution monitoring networks. Brianna used her skills to design and build an “Internet of Things” pollution monitoring station with air quality sensors: more stations were then manufactured by the school robotics team, and Brianna organized workshops to instruct volunteers in how to help operate the stations. The next step for WeBreathe is an improved prototype with more sensors and advanced features, aiming to implement live prediction for the most dangerous pollution parameters in the future. Brianna is currently working with Women In Tech Romania to implement this project in more schools, find funds for more prototypes, and transform WeBreathe into an educational program for STEM skills used in real life.
Brianna’s achievements have been widely recognised at an international level. She is the first ever European student to win the FIRST Robotics Dean's List Award (2022) at the World FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Championship, Houston, USA – an individual prize for which she was selected from more than 130,000 contestants. She is a 2022 Rise Global Winner (awarded by Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust from more than 80,000 applicants in 170+ countries after eight months of interviews and evaluations). She has also won many other medals at European competitions, as well as a full academic scholarship to a private institution in Bucharest.
If she wins the Global Student Prize, Brianna will use some of the prize funds to pursue projects related to space exploration – for instance, looking at how to optimize the de-orbiting of space debris using mixed integer linear programming. She would also look at launching websites to provide free AI models for farmers, marine biologists, or other fields that would benefit from tech help.