Growing up and watching her community on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico go without got 16-year-old Raquel Redshirt thinking.
“My great grandparents barely used their stove because they couldn’t afford to buy propane,” Raquel says in the video.
So, to solve this problem she used materials around the Navajo Nation to build solar ovens using something the Navajo Nation has plenty of, sun. The idea earned her a special award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her project “Improving the Heat Capacity of Homemade Solar Ovens.”
“Raquel’s desire to really seek materials that are available in the community is what makes her project so unique,” says Rachel Mercer-Smith, a special programs teacher, says in the video. “It really is a community focused research project inspired by a need in the community and then developed around the materials available.
Raquel wants to become an environmental engineer and be able to further help her community.
“I want to go to a big university and see the world, and come back and give to my community someday—and maybe change some lives while I’m doing it,” Raquel said.