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The Best and The Brightest of 2023



Age 16 | Junior
Hamilton High School
Alexis Li is naturally curious. When her grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, Li channeled that curiosity into a new mission. She founded Innovation Leads the Way, spearheading scientific research and innovation to study diseases and other challenges for social good.

Li has used her passion for programming and AI (artificial intelligence) to focus on making the path to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis more efficient and accessible, ultimately giving patients more treatment options and improving their quality of life. She has developed and tested prototypes and is working closely with her mentor from Emory University, to create an AI model that is strong and robust enough for use in a clinical setting. Li has also expanded her area of focus to include mood disorders and other brain-related diseases.

“There’s just so much we don’t know about ourselves right now and so much we could know about ourselves,” said Li. “The brain affects every single part of our lives and every single part of our body, so being able to understand the brain means that we can unlock our own secrets.”

While Li enjoys doing scientific research, she realizes the information can be complex and even intimidating for many students. That is why she is working with organizations like Sigma Xi, a highly prestigious, nonprofit honor society for scientists and engineers, to create a program that makes scientific research easier to understand and more accessible for students from all backgrounds. She also thrives through volunteer work, and launched a STEM4ALL AI camp with the Salvation Army last summer to help students participate in academic competitions and research.

“There are so many issues out in the world, we really need innovations and people to be able to ease our current circumstances,” said Li. “The younger people start, the more invested they can get in the field.”

Alexis hopes to launch her own start-up company one day and run her own research lab, with a focus on the role of AI in biology or medicine, and ways to give more people access to this type of innovative technology.
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