7 Inspiring Teens Who Are Truly Making a Difference

Angela Zhang

Governments may be ruled by grown-ups, but teens are just as capable -- some may say even more capable! -- of creating positive change. No matter what motivates them, their drive to make a difference in science or an important social cause should be fostered -- and celebrated!

Here, seven inspiring teens who are making headlines for their accomplishments, aspirations, and attempts to make the world a better place for us all ...

  1. Julia Bluhm, 15, from Waterville, Maine, is a blogger for the girl-fueled SPARK Movement, which fights against sexualized images of women and girls in the media. She got news outlets buzzing last summer for starting a petition on Change.org that asked Seventeen magazine's Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket to publish one spread each month of unaltered pictures. In turn, Shoket had the entire staff of the magazine sign an eight-point pact, which includes a pledge to "never change girls' body or face shapes" and will only include images of "real girls and models who are healthy." Hurrah, Julia!
  2. Nithin Tumma, 18, from Fort Gratiot, Michigan, won the top $100,000 prize at the Intel Science Talent Search for his groundbreaking research that could make breast cancer treatments less toxic and more effective. He discovered doctors could slow the growth of cancer cells by suppressing certain proteins.
  3. Malala Yousafzai, 16, from Mingora, Pakistan, survived a brutal attack by the Taliban in October 2012 and today is considered a force to be reckoned with. On her 16th birthday in July, Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever give an address to the UN in New York, calling for worldwide access to education.
  4. Neveah Mosher, 13, from South Bronx, New York, reads 300 books a year. This is a goal she set for herself because she wants to be the first person in her family to pursue higher education. She attends MS302 in New York City and participates in an after-school program run by City Year, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on education.
  5. Jack Andraka, 16, from Crownsville, Maryland, invented an ultra-sensitive and low-cost diagnostic test to quickly identify pancreatic cancer in its most early stages. Last year, he won the top Gordon E. Moore Award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair -- the world's largest high school science contest. Now, he's speaking out on how "science shouldn't be a luxury, and knowledge shouldn't be a commodity." Cheers to that, Jack!
  6. Julien Leitner, 14, from Portland, Oregon, founded the Archimedes Alliance, an organization that asks one million people to donate $2 for a worthy cause. Leitner launched his initiative with a 100-second video describing the logic behind his lofty goal. He points to the ancient Greek mathematician, Archimedes, who said, "Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I can move the Earth." Awesome!
  7. Angela Zhang, 18, from Cupertino, California, been making headlines recently after taking home a check of $100,000 from the national Siemens science contest, and now it has been suggested that her research could lead to a potential cure for cancer. She created a nanoparticle that's "kind of like the Swiss Army knife of cancer treatment in that it can detect cancer cells, eradicate the cancer cells, and then monitor the treatment response. So the major aim of the project was to personalize cancer medicine," Zhang told ABC News. Amazing! Here's a news clip about her research ...

Who are some other inspiring teens doing something special?

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