FHS grad selected for UN new initiative

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Karan Jerath, 2015 Friendswood High School graduate and currently a sophomore at The University of Texas, has been announced one of 17 young participants in the United Nation’s new initiative, Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals.

In New York City, on Sept. 19, the United Nations Envoy on Youth Today unveiled the inaugural class of 17 youth leaders who have been recognized for their leadership and contribution to the achievement of the 17 Global Goals, also known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Jerath, 19, will collaborate with UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, to help with such goals.

The UN called for nominations of young people between the ages of 18 -30 from around the world, and across multiple sectors, who are leading positive change towards a sustainable future.

Selected from over 18,000 nominations from 186 different countries, these leaders, aged 19-30 years old, come from many different backgrounds and will support efforts to engage young people in the realization of the SDGs and will have opportunities to engage in UN and partner-led projects.

The class of Young Leaders will be active for two years. Every year a new class will be selected by public nominations and the overlap of service years will allow cross-collaboration among the two classes, building a network of alumni around the world.

The inaugural 17 represent many countries including India, Kenya, Canada, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Australia, Tunisia, Indonesia, Colombia, Bangladesh, Uganda, Republic of Maldives, and the United States.

Jerath was born in India and lived in Malaysia until he moved to Friendswood when he was 13.

Jerath’s accomplishment began when he was 17. At that time, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred. The difficulties BP faced in the situation to close the blowout well and also capture escaping oil gave Jerath an idea for a device to assist in handling large oil spills.

“I realized that much smaller spills are happening on a daily basis and negatively affecting our oceans and environment,” he said. “I had to find a solution.”

And he did. He developed a subsea wellhead containment device that could capture the blowout’s gushing oil and gas as well as separate the two into liquids and gases that would be contained on a surface vessel.

Jerath worked on his design for two years. With mentors, he used a 3-D modeling software and presented his device as a science project. He won the young Scientist Award and $50,000 at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

Intel ISEF invites approximately 2,000 top young scientists from more than 82 countries to compete in the fair. Jerath’s best of category win brought him not only scholarship funds but also a trip to India to compete in their national science fair.

He has also been honored as one of the nation’s important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and brightest stars. He was one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2016 in the Energy and Resources category. He was the youngest of the 30 chosen for their accomplishments at a young age.

Jerath is pursuing petroleum engineering at UT in Austin. He is the son of Vivek and Kamal Jerath of Friendswood.

Story by Karolyn Gephart

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