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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Efe Sakarya

Efe Sakarya

Efe had a very challenging start in life: the kidney problems he had from birth meant that the nurses and doctors called him the “survivor baby”, and he spent some time in intensive care as well as undergoing multiple surgeries. The removal of one of his kidneys, and damage to the other, caused further health issues right up until the end of middle school. However, from a very young age, Efe’s family noticed that he was gifted: he displayed an aptitude for solving math and science problems, and he would send original stories to children's science magazines, which were then published. Despite spending all his childhood years in hospital rooms and corridors, he was among 1,000 middle school students in his year (from a pool of two million) to win a full scholarship to a nationally prestigious high school.

Since then, Efe’s interests have widened considerably, and his learning has accelerated. At the age of 14, the BAU International College admitted him to their bioengineering program after reading his study on the Sustainable Development Goals and Turkey's position on the 2030 Agenda. Efe was one of the founding members of his school’s robotics competition team, and after participating in the FIRST Lego League – a program of STEM and robotics learning events for young people – he was selected as the youngest FIRST Lego League Tournament Selector Judge in Turkey's history.

Efe has also been recognized with a number of major awards. As well as having almost the maximum possible GPA in high school, Efe has been named a Rise Global Winner and one of Forbes’ Brightest 100 Young People, as well as winning several medals at national and international competitions in biology, mathematics and physics. He has also been a member of the Earth Prize Scholar Team, a NASA Space Apps Challenge Turkey Representative, and a Conrad Challenge Finalist. All of these accomplishments are linked by a shared goal: to help conserve the planet's ecosystem and make it a better home for future generations.

If Efe were to win the Global Student Prize 2023, he would use the funds for two different purposes. First, he would develop some of his projects that require funding to move to a trial stage – such as the medical mask he created with three classmates that decomposes when interacting with H2O molecules. Second, he would fund technological resources for some of the students he meets in his work as a volunteer instructor for children who do not have decent access to education. Sometimes students lack a device of their own or a stable Internet connection, which can make a big difference to the quality of lessons and how much time they can spend learning away from class. Efe would dedicate a certain portion of funds to providing tech devices, ensuring that no one is left out.

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