Rachna Nath is developing future innovators as a teacher at the Arizona College Prep High School within Chandler Public School District. She is being honored as the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year at the AZBio Awards on September, 28, 2022.
Nath describes herself as a honey bee scientist, innovator and entrepreneur that works as an educator. Over a career of two decades, she has worked with multiple entrepreneurs, students, and non-profits. Her work has been nationally and internationally recognized. Most recently, she was recognized as one of the TIME Innovative Teachers 2022.
Her creativity combined with a commitment to give the best to her students inspires them and teaches how to become innovators. Nath’s students innovate, apply for patents, and work to develop their ideas. Her students they have applied for six provisional and two patent pending’s by following a program which she calls DRIPBL (Dream Research Innovate Problem/Project Based Learning).
These innovations start with a potential grant opportunity from MIT, NOAA, HUE, SBIR, etc. She then identifies a group of students that are passionate about the topic of the grant proposal and together they research the topic. The process includes patent searches to help determine if the idea is unique. The students then work on an innovative solution that can be potentially patented.
She also works with the City of Chandler Incubator to have the students trained in establishing companies. Nath’s innovative program has resulted in more than $100,000 in funding for student projects and the development of prototypes based on the student’s ideas.
Her students have won various grants using this innovative program. Student teams have benefited from research grants from The Society for Science and the Public, HUE, Lemelson MIT Excite award, Limitless Space Institute, Intel and many more. She continually works to help her students make connections. These efforts have helped her students build relationships NASA, National Geographic, Limitless Space Institute, ASU, UA, Caltech, and many others. The students have won science awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair, science competitions across state, innovation awards from MIT, Climate champion awards from Maricopa County and many others.
Rachna Nath excels in motivating future innovators in the classroom and at home too. She and her 14-year-old daughter Diya Nath are co-founders of OxiBlast, a nutrition company that developed and markets healthy products with fundamental ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables.
“Sometimes, our adversities in life lead us to discover our strengths” – Rachna Nath
Nath’s unique journey to the classroom forms part of the philosophy she shares with her student innovators. The process of creating and bringing innovative products and services to market is rarely easy. She openly shares stories with her students about her experiences as a young girl in Northern India, as an immigrant working to build a career in her new country, as an academic researcher, and as an entrepreneur.
For her work inspiring and developing our next generation of innovators, Rachna Nath is being honored as the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year.