At first glance, Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, from San Cristóbal, Chiapas, southern Mexico, looks just like any other typical 10-year-old kid. However, the little girl, who has a penchant for soccer and mathematics, is actually a child genius who became the first kid to win a distinguished science prize from Mexico’s National Autonomous University for her ingenious invention.
Xóchitl’s journey as an inventor began when she was just 4 years old. She joined classes under the UNAM Adopt a Talent Program, and ever since, she has been entering her inventions in science competitions, clinching various prizes at science fairs.
When she was 7, she developed a perfume named The Essence of Xochil. “I won the State Fair and I went to Mexico City for the first time,” the little girl said, in a speech addressed to then-president-elect of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2018, according to Latina Republic.
At the tender age of 8, Xóchitl designed a low-cost solar-powered device called Warm Bath (Baño Calentito) to heat water.
The cold weather in her hometown in San Cristóbal was what inspired Xóchitl to develop the project.
“In San Cristóbal it’s very cold most of the year so if people shower with cold water they can get sick with respiratory illnesses and constantly have to go to the doctor,” the budding scientist said, Mexico News Daily reported.
“I want to help with my knowledge because there are a lot of poor people here,” she said.
Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, de #PAUTAChiapas , gana primer lugar en Expo Ciencias 2017 en la categoría “ciencias de…
For her remarkable scientific achievement, Xóchitl was awarded a science prize from Institute of Nuclear Sciences at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México—UNAM) in 2018.
Xóchitl, a student at Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary School, made history to be the first child to receive such a prestigious “ICN Recognition for Women,” which is usually given to commend female adults’ accomplishments in science.
The smart little girl built her solar water heater on her family’s rooftop using just recycled materials, which include 15-meter black hose, 10 PET bottles, a wooden base, black nylon, as well as recycled glass.
With some assistance from her father and support from the UNAM Adopt a Talent Program, she successfully finished her project to help low-income indigenous people in her rural community. The solar-powered heating device answers their needs to heat their water without chopping down trees for firewood.
The child genius told El Universal: “These are low-income people who don’t have the possibility to buy these heaters, so what they do is cut the trees to get firewood.”
The little girl has her own invention installed on top of her family’s roof. The box-like glass-and-wood device with hose connecting buckets and water tank can heat 10 liters (approx. 3 gallons) of water to between 35 and 45 degrees Celsius (95 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit).
With the aim to construct bigger heaters with solar panels, Xóchitl has sought financial support from universities and researchers.
“My brother and I want to improve the heater,” she said.
“I want to do the third phase of my project: to install my solar heater in homes of indigenous communities in Chiapas so that people will no longer get sick from the respiratory illnesses because they bathe with cold water. I know my project is expensive, but I will try,” she explained.
Without a question, the water heater powered by sunlight will make life easier for the indigenous communities in her hometown. Their lives will be made better with more convenient access to hot water.
With Xóchitl having invented something that benefits humanity, Xóchitl’s parents are so proud of her.
“It’s a great honor to know all that she has done,” Xóchitl’s mother, Alma Lopez Gomez, said, as per Offsite Solar.
Whilst her dad, Lucio Guadalupe, a teacher at a preschool, said: “I’m very proud of my daughter because here in Chiapas it’s very difficult to excel in science.” He added families should “support the little ones, who are the future.”
Xóchitl expressed her gratitude to her parents and brother for their support. “I am very happy for the awards. I never imagined getting here. It’s something I cannot describe,” she said.
Not recognizing talent is a mistake that authorities in Mexico made. Jesús Iradier Santiago, state coordinator of UNAM’s Adopt a Talent Program (PAUTA), emphasizes there are many children like Xóchitl, who have shown great potential in science. Unfortunately, these kids didn’t receive adequate support and recognition by authorities and their families.
Being able to accomplish so much at such a young age, the sky’s the limit to what she can achieve. Keep changing lives through your brilliant inventions, Xóchitl!
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