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Congratulations to Our 2023 Winners and Honorees!

by | Oct 9, 2023

We’re so proud to introduce our 2023 Barron Prize young heroes!

They’re a stellar group of 25 young leaders who are changing the world in meaningful ways. Many are caring for the environment – combatting climate change, addressing ocean pollution, and protecting honeybees. Others are helping their communities – supporting people with disabilities, feeding those in need, and providing books to underserved kids. All of them are forces for good who embody heroic ideals like courage, compassion, and commitment.

This year’s 25 young heroes give us great hope and remind us of the power we each hold to make a difference. We’re delighted to honor them and so happy to welcome them to our Barron Prize family!


Jonah Larson crocheting a special blanket for a Sesame Street character.

Alexander Knoll, age 18, of Idaho, who created the Ability App, a crowdsourced web app that serves people with disabilities by providing a road map of accessible public spaces and businesses.

Armando Parrish, age 18, of Texas, who founded Project Lorenzo, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness by providing technology certification courses and job assistance to homeless individuals living in shelters.

Atreya Manaswi, age 17, of Florida, who created a highly effective, eco-friendly, and inexpensive way to protect honeybee hives from virulent pests.

Grace Sun, age, 17, of California, who founded Melodies for Remedies, a nonprofit that uses the performing arts to bring healing and joy to senior citizens, including those living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jonah Larson, age 15, of Wisconsin, who founded Jonah’s Hands to use his passion for crocheting to raise $75,000 for school improvements in the Ethiopian village where he was born.

Mateo Lange, age 14, of Michigan, who created a community recycling program in his small town that has raised over $250,000 for more than 50 local youth organizations.

Matias Habib, age 18, of Illinois, who developed an eco-friendly pesticide to combat the Japanese Beetle, an invasive species that devastates U.S. agriculture each year.

Nathan Elias, age 17, of Texas, who developed InvasiveAI, an app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify invasive species and predict their spread.

Rafi Ahmad, age 17, of Illinois, who founded Operation Viridis, a nonprofit climate justice initiative that addresses environmental racism in his hometown of Chicago through the planting of trees in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Rory Hu conducting bee research.

Rahul Vijayan, age 16, of Texas, who created Farm to Tray to provide schools with hydroponic gardening systems that allow students to grow fresh produce for their school lunch programs.

Rania Zuri, age 18, of West Virginia, who founded the LiTEArary Society to end book deserts and support early childhood literacy for disadvantaged children ages 3 to 5. Her nonprofit has donated over $200,000 worth of new books to more than 21,000 children.

Rishab Jain, age 18, of Oregon, who developed a new open-source biomedical tool called ICOR which aims to enable the rapid production of vaccines and address the rising cost of pharmaceuticals.

Rory Hu, age 13, of California, who conducted yearlong research that yielded a viable way to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder, a problem plaguing beekeepers and threatening the ecosystem.

Shrusti Amula, age 16, of Maryland, who founded the Rise N Shine Foundation to reduce food waste in her community. Her nonprofit feeds those in need and combats climate change through food recovery and composting programs at local schools and organizations.

Te’Lario Watkins, age 15, of Ohio, an avid gardener who created The Garden Club Project to help end hunger in his community and to encourage kids to eat healthier. He has donated more than 300 pounds of produce to food-insecure families.

Brynne Rhodes, age 14, of California, who co-founded the Pink Lemonade Stand Challenge, a nationwide campaign that has raised more than $185,000 for breast cancer research.

Jason Starr, age 17, of New York, who created Tutor Partnerships to provide free, in-person tutoring. He has paired high school volunteers with elementary and middle school students in 29 schools across several states.

Maanit Goel, age 17, of Washington, who founded the Washington Youth Ocean & River Conservation Alliance (WYORCA) to protect Pacific Northwest orca and salmon. He leads his peers in lobbying legislators to remove dams that harm salmon and to replace them with renewable energy.

Maya Gowda, age 18, of Florida, who created Students for Environmental Education & Discovery (SEED), a K-12 climate literacy program that has reached over 100,000 students in 173 schools.

Paisley at the Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in October 2021 reading one of her favorite books.

Paisley Elliott, age 10, of Texas, who founded Paisley’s Pals to help refugee children around the world. Her portable, Montessori-based school kits called SHINE boxes are supporting students at a refugee settlement in Western Uganda, where she is also building a preschool.

Sawyer Anderson, age 13, of North Dakota, who founded Water Works to bring clean water to people in poverty-stricken Zambia. She has written a children’s book about the water crisis and has partnered with international nonprofits to raise $1.2 million.

Sriram Bhimaraju, age 17, of California, who created Seas Brighter to help protect oceans through educational materials and new technologies. He has developed a smartphone app that reads labels on personal care products to determine if they’re safe for marine life.

William Winslow, age 17, of North Carolina, who founded The Food Drive Kids to address childhood hunger in his community. In the past 10 years, he has built a network of nine Little Free Pantries and has collected and donated over 70,000 pounds of food.

Zach Gottlieb, age 17, of California, who created Talk with Zach, a Gen Z wellness platform with a worldwide following that aims to combat the youth mental health crisis through live conversations with mental health experts, youth advocates, and teens.

Zoe Terry, age 16, of Florida, who founded Zoe’s Dolls to support girl empowerment and combat bullying. Her nonprofit has donated more than 50,000 black and brown dolls to girls of color around the world.