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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Padmaksh Khandelwal

Padmaksh Khandelwal

Padmaksh comes from the town of Kota, which is well known in India as a top location for standardized test prep. Each year some of the brightest students from all over the country come to Kota to prepare for national engineering and medical entrance exams at coaching centres. Being immersed in this setting – and being exposed to people intensively studying a wide range of academic subjects – has encouraged Padmaksh to explore the intersection between computer science and medicine. His entry to the World Artificial Intelligence Competition for Youth was a machine learning model in Python for diagnosing heart diseases, and recently, Padmaksh has also begun to work with doctors to design medical equipment such as an AI detector for vitamin B12/B9/iron deficiency. Government hospitals' access to proper diagnostic tools is limited, as they need appropriate data interpretation machines: Padmaksh’s anaemia detector will enable Kota’s pathology labs to distinguish between iron deficiency and macrocytic anaemia, and he also plans to use image classification to distinguish subtypes in conditions like sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia and haemolytic anaemia. 

However, this is far from the only way in which Padmaksh is making a contribution to his community. In particular, he has done a lot to respond to concerns about the safety of the students at Kota’s coaching centres. Being isolated from their families with little emotional support and an intense pressure to succeed has resulted in a high rate of stress-related disorders for these students, and in 2022 Kota had an increase of over 4.5% in suicide cases compared to 2021. Padmaksh wanted to help students who were far away from family and friends, so he and his grandfather came up with a support plan. Padmaksh asked his friends to visit the students to encourage them, and he also helped provide access to therapy and counselling – collaborating with a psychologist who specialized in student anxiety to put on a two-day seminar focusing on de-stressing tools like exercise, music therapy and meditation.  

Another way in which Padmaksh has helped the wider community is through the Mogya Education Program, which aims to benefit the socially and economically marginalized Mogya tribe. While the world around them has gradually modernized, their poverty means that these hunters must still resort to poaching tigers. Alongside the NGO Tiger Watch, Padmaksh launched the Mogya Education Program for children, working towards uplifting and educating the next generation of Mogyas so that they do not have to poach. Its primary aims are to empower Mogya children to read and write fluently, and to tackle the high dropout rates at school. The program was launched with only ten students, but this has now grown to over 200 students with an equal ratio of female students across eight villages. Through the program’s efforts, several children who dropped out of school have rejoined. With funds from the Global Student Prize, Padmaksh would continue supporting the Mogya Education Program, principally by reopening the Mogya hostel facility that existed before the COVID pandemic, but this time for both girls and boys. He would also use a portion of the prize money to deploy his AI anaemia detector, raise awareness of the different causes of anaemia in the Kota region, and provide training sessions for pathologists in the use of the equipment. 

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