British Columbia Teen Inventor Named Forbes 30 Under 30

“Canadian inventor Ann Makosinski can now add Forbes 30 Under 30 to the long list of accolades she has collected since she won the 2013 Google Science Fair as a 15-year old.

The second-year UBC student, who invented a flashlight powered by the heat of a human hand and a cell-phone charging mug, says she was honoured to be included in the list and inspire future young inventors like herself.

“Everyone can find a role model who can inspire them in the Forbes list. I never thought, back when I started making things when I was a kid, that any of this would happen.”

She told Metro jokingly the Forbes announcement also made up for the fact that she did not get into Stanford, one of three American universities she applied to.

“Apparently getting on the [Forbes] list is harder than getting into Stanford,” she said.

Makosinski, originally from Victoria, B.C. is currently studying English Literature and says its part of her goal of creating scientific documentaries.

“I want to always have a balance of arts and science,” she said.

“I think nowadays, people’s jobs and what they do is going to be very different than the stereotype of just because you study business you’re going to be a businessman.”

At the same time, she is also improving her existing inventions and working on getting her flashlight product on store shelves by the end of the year.

“What I’ve decided to do right now is to study English so I can get that storytelling and film background. I can keep science and business outside of school and I’m learning a lot through meeting people and actually doing it.”

 Makosinski, who has spoken at 5 TEDx Talks and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon twice, says one of the challenges of finding fame so young is balancing speaking engagements and media interviews with her real job: learning.

“Its fun to do but I also have to remember when I do promo its not my main job all the time. My main job is to develop my inventions and to learn.”

She hopes that one day her company can help other young creators make their ideas a reality.

Inventing is an ongoing process that doesn’t always yield immediate results, she said. She wants aspiring inventors to know it takes perseverance to create a working product.

“I would advise them not to be discouraged when they’re making something and it doesn’t work the first time. It’s very normal and you learn more when you fix your mistakes more than if you got it perfect on the first try.” ”

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