Innovator and Inventor
Who is Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz?
Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz is an elementary school student from Chiapas, Mexico with more than just an interest in science. She has an interest in change and changemaking. Her science is a tool for that. Through her inventions, she is learning how to actively improve the lives of those in her community and bring true social transformation to the people who need it. She started young, with the support of her parents. One of the ways she got started was through the Adopt a Talent Program, which provides long-term mentorships and learning opportunities for Mexican students interested in the STEM world. It was through being introduced to this world that Xóchitl met and learned from professionals who are continuing to support her in projects today.
One of those projects was building a science lab in her family’s house. With very limited resources, Not only did Xóchitl do this, she successfully extracted and preserved flower aromas, calling this project “Xóchitl’s Essence.” If you think that’s incredible, you’re not the only one! She won first prize at the PAUTA statewide fair.
However, it was her second science project that propelled her to international fame. Xóchitl wanted to find an alternative to heating water with firewood for her community in Chiapas, Mexico. She had the idea to create an inexpensive solar-powered water heater as a way to lessen her family and neighborhood’s reliance on cutting down trees for firewood, also decreasing its negative impact on the environment, particularly with regards to climate change. “In San Cristóbal, it’s very cold most of the year so if people shower with cold water they can get sick with respiratory illnesses and constantly have to go to the doctor,” Xóchitl said. “These are low-income people who don’t have the possibility to buy these heaters, so what they do is cut the trees to get firewood, which affects the world through climate change. So, what I did is make this project, this heater, from recycled objects that don’t hurt the environment.”
3 Things We Love About Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz:
- Xóchitl first built the heater on the roof of her family’s home with the help of her father.
- There were very limited resources and skills to support Xóchitl’s talent for science.
- Xóchitl’s father, Guadalupe, said: “ “I’m very proud of my daughter because here in Chiapas it’s very difficult to excel in science… As teachers we don’t have that specialization, and we’re finding out little by little how to teach the young ones. The truth is that we’ve learned a lot with her.”