Suneetha Prabhu wants to pursue research


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Class 11 student Suneetha Murje Prabhu, from Belthangady, who received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar on January 22, aspires to pursue a career in research.

Ms. Prabhu, a student from Centre for Advanced Learning here, was among the 14 students who bagged the puraskar in the innovation category. President Ramnath Kovind gave away the puraskar on January 22 to 49 children in the arts and culture, bravery, innovation, scholastic, social service and sports categories. Apart from Ms. Prabhu, Pagun Pudukoli (art and culture) and Yash Aradhya S. (sports) were the other two from Karnataka to receive the award. Ms. Prabhu was conferred the award in recognition of her innovation in finding a mosquito-repellent cotton fabric. This research was among the 10 projects from India that featured at the international science fair in 2018.

Speaking to reporters at Mangaluru airport after her arrival from New Delhi on Tuesday, Ms. Prabhu said she was excited about her brief interaction with the President. “He patted my back and asked me what the meaning of Prabhu was. I replied that it meant God.” The President gave away a medal and a tablet to each awardee, she said. On January 24, all the awardees were invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his house for a close interaction.

 

Her drive to create a cost-effective repellent for mosquito bites helped her develop the cloth. She had the help of her teachers at SDM School in Ujire. She used facilities of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune. The fabric, she said, was effective against mosquitoes for 49 washes. She was now trying to develop a mosquito-repellent silk fabric.

Ms. Prabhu arrived at the airport with her father Vivekananda Prabhu, a saw mill owner; mother Shantala Prabhu, a homemaker; and elder brother Rahul Prabhu. Mangaluru City South MLA D. Vedavyas Kamath, former MLA Yogish Bhat and former BJP district president Pratap Simha Nayak, welcomed them.

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