Most Influential Teens of the 21st Century

While most teens were investing time in video gaming, social networking websites and partying, there were some, very few indeed, who were busy in activities that have given them global recognition. Aged under 19, their achievement are awe-inspiring and they have undoubtedly carved their names in global popularity.

While most teens are investing time in video gaming, social networking websites and partying, there are some, very few indeed, who have carved their names in the world popularity. Being under the age of 19, these few teens have left behind the smartest, toughest and most experienced of people in their respective fields.

Lydia Ko, 16

A New Zealand golfer born in South Korea, 16-year-old Lydia Ko has multiple LPGA wins. She turned pro this year—the LPGA waived the age requirement for her to join—and she’s already fifth in women’s world rankings after just 23 tournaments.

She’s the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and the youngest person ever to win an LPGA tour event (and the only amateur to ever win two LPGA Tour events).


Nick D’Aloisio, 18

When Marissa Mayer decides to buy your app for $30 million, you know you’re doing pretty well. When you’re only 17 at the time, “doing pretty well” is an understatement.

Programming whiz kid Nick D’Aloisio sold Summly, a news-reading and summarizing app, to Yahoo in March. Other investors include Wendi Murdoch, Yoko Ono, and Ashton Kutcher.


Missy Franklin, 18

The 18-year-old won six gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and in doing so not only claimed the title of winningest female swimmer ever at a world meet, but also became the fifth swimmer to capture six or more golds at Worlds or the Olympics.

She won the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award this year. And, she joined the Cal swim team, turning down millions of dollars of endorsements to get a college degree.


Malala Yousafzai, 16

In 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by the Taliban on the bus home from school in Pakistan. Malala was a target because of her vocal activism to better the education of girls under Taliban rule. After surviving the attack, the now-16-year-old didn’t hide in fear but strengthened her voice.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

“I speak for education of every child, in every corner of the world,” she said, and the world has been listening. This year she received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and a Clinton Global Citizen Award. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Ionut Budisteanu, 19

The 19-year-old scientist’s design for a low cost, self-driving car won first place and $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for high school students in May.

The prototype signals the potential of manufacturing autonomous driving vehicles to the masses, costing only $4,000 to build as opposed to Google’s $75,000 self-driving car. Budisteanu, a student in Romania, used artificial intelligence technology and a mounted camera on the car to identify traffic lanes, curbs, cars and even people.


Justin Bieber, 19

The Canadian-born pop star has become an industry to himself, valued by Forbes at $58 million. He released his first single at age 15, and in 2010, he became the youngest solo male artist to hit #1 on Billboards Hot 100, with My World 2.0, since Stevie Wonder.

His high profile breakup earlier this year with fellow star and girlfriend of two years, Selena Gomez, landed him in gossip sections the world over, as did an altercation in March with a photographer.


Jack Andraka, 17

While on summer break at age 15, Jack Andraka made a breakthrough in cancer detection that had eluded pharmaceutical companies and legions of PhDs.

Using information he found on Google and Wikipedia, Andraka, came up with an idea for a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that he says is 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive and 26,000 times more economical than the medical standard.

Andraka is now developing a new, rapid, and inexpensive method to detect an increase of a protein that indicates the presence of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer during early stages when there is a better survival rate with current treatments.

Faisal Arshad

Faisal is a business graduate working as an online content producer/manager. He has active interest and writings related to political, social and economic issues of Pakistan.



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