Gitanjali Rao, America's top young scientist of 2017, nabs another $25,000 for lead-detection invention

Gitanjali Rao wowed the world when she was awarded $25,000 and the title of "America's top young scientist" in January for her invention, a lead-detection device inspired by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Just three weeks later, the 11-year-old scientist has doubled her funding.

The 7th grader took to the stage at the 2018 MAKERS Conference on Tuesday to pitch the Tethys device and provide an update on her next steps, which include making her device more compact and partnering with Denver Water to perform tests requiring instrumentation like interference and false positives. 

See photos of Gitanjali Rao and her invention, Tethys:

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Gitanjali Rao, America's top young scientist
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Gitanjali Rao, America's top young scientist
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Gitanjali Rao speaks onstage during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MAKERS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: (L-R) Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, Gitanjali Rao and Co-Founder & President, Lean In Rachel Thomas attend The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MAKERS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 06: (L-R) Chief Executive Officer, Shift7, Megan Smith, Karlie Kloss and Gitanjali Rao speak onstage during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MAKERS)
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO - NOVEMBER 7: Gitanjali Rao, 11, shows her 'Tethys' device at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on November 7, 2017 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Inspired by the Flint, MI water crisis, Gitanjali has been named Americas Top Young Scientist after she developed a device that quickly detects lead levels in water. (Photo by Kathryn Scott/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO - NOVEMBER 7: Gitanjali Rao, 11, second from right, works on assignments with fellow students in her 7th-grade computer science class at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on November 7, 2017 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Inspired by the Flint, MI water crisis, Gitanjali has been named Americas Top Young Scientist after she developed a device that quickly detects lead levels in water. (Photo by Kathryn Scott/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO - NOVEMBER 7: Gitanjali Rao, 11, shows her 'Tethys' device at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on November 7, 2017 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Inspired by the Flint, MI water crisis, Gitanjali has been named Americas Top Young Scientist after she developed a device that quickly detects lead levels in water. (Photo by Kathryn Scott/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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So impressed were members of the audience, that founder of Crisis Text Line Nancy Lubin and venture capitalist Ann Miura-Ko pulled Rao back on stage and urged her to ask for capital.

"You have all these people here! You forgot to ask for funding!" Miura-Ko said. 

"She has a prototype that you saw. She has to go through a lot of experimentation. We are not starting until this room raises $25,000," Lubin continued, facing the crowd. 

And it didn't take long. Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient and MAKERS Board of Directors member, immediately sprung up and pledged the whole sum.

"I hope to make it commercially available in the next year so that it's in everybody's hands," Rao said one month ago. 

Thanks to her new investor, the young founder is a step closer to her goal. 

See the moment Rao raised $25,000 below:

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