STEM student Anjali Rao talks TIME cover and gives virtual learning and scheduling advice to students

She is an inventor, a scientist, and author.  You’ve seen her on late-night and daytime television, she made the list of Forbes 30 under 30 for her innovative work, is featured in a documentary produced by Google, and most recently, made the cover of TIME Magazine, but 15-year-old STEM sophomore Anjali Rao, is just getting started.

Anjali joined STEM Communications Manager Jeff Maher on a Zoom call to discuss her feelings on making the cover of TIME, and also offer advice to other students who might be struggling with a hectic schedule, and learning virtually.

One month after making the cover of TIME, Anjali says it is all still quite overwhelming.

“TIME just sent us 50 copies, and it’s still so surreal walking by that cardboard box everyday seeing my face on the cover of one of the most read magazines everywhere,” she said.  “And it still hasn’t really sunk in, but it is really an amazing opportunity, and I’m so glad that I’m here to represent Generation Z.”

Anjali also talked about what it’s like juggling speaking engagements, interviews, the spotlight, and still being only 15-years-old.

“It’s definitely a different experience nonetheless,” she pointed out.  “I try to stay grounded and down to earth because I know that if I continue to do great work, the side effects will continue to exist.  The biggest thing is trying to juggle interviews in between calculus class.  It’s definitely weird getting out of class, talking to someone on FOX, and going back in and trying to focus.  But it’s been an exciting experience, and I love sharing my message and amplifying my voice, and hopefully, it’s impacting someone out there.”

As for virtual learning and juggling a hectic schedule, Anjali said just like many other students, she had to change her routine as well.

“Virtual learning is definitely a new experience for me too,” she said.  “Like, I did virtual Fridays for a bit, but I never really took advantage of it.  I always wanted to go to school.  I always wanted to be in the building.”

Anjali said separating the home from the virtual classroom is something that she finds to be very effective.

“I think the biggest thing is having that one dedicated space and time for school,” she pointed out.  “And that has basically changed everything forever.  Like, this is my recording, my sound booth, my interview, and upstairs is where I do all of my school, and it’s separated from my bedroom.  I need my own space to do work, and I think that’s what makes me productive while trying to do everything, and understanding that I’m trying to segment out a time of the day for school, and the rest will be for what I love to do.”

To see Anjali’s interview, check out the video below.

STEM sophomore Anjali Rao talks with STEM Communications Manager Jeff Maher
Anjali Rao's cover on TIME Magazine, seen at a Safeway store in Highlands Ranch
Anjali Rao featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in December 2020
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