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Meet the Founder

Personal Profile

Hello, visitors! My name is Aryana Wadhwani, I am an interdisciplinary researcher exploring the interventions of developmental neuroscience and neuroecology in the world of global sustainable development! 

I am excited to announce that I plan on getting published this summer in a scientific publication, where I explore how arsenic elements, such as cadmium and particulate matter (PM) impact neurodevelopment in children, within my publication, I hope to make the emerging field of environmental neurotoxicology known to fellow youth and researchers across the globe. 


My passion for interdisciplinary studies began in elementary school, with the influence of my father and my 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Natalie. What started as a simple recycling campaign around Atlanta Montessori International School transformed into a complex yet fascinating interdisciplinary web underpinning the route to global sustainable development. I always expressed my passion for STEM-related fields at our oakwood dining table to my father. This engineer had trained me in Newtonian physics and the basics of wastewater as well as environmental engineering, an area his co-engineers had always struggled with, whether it was trying to figure out whether calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, or coagulants should be added to a system to maintain environmental equilibrium. My mother, an anesthesiologist, spent long hours, particularly during one summer. It was a Saturday evening, reciting her local anesthetics textbook, jumping from topics such as toxicology and the physiological implications of overexposure to adrenal glucocorticoids. It all made sense—the definition of a scientist had been long pinned to my head: one who considers a breadth of knowledge in theory, integrating an array of perspectives and peer reviews while profoundly examining the world's most contemporary challenges. Noting that driving innovation and collaboration on the frontlines is critical, all of which increase the societal visibility of scholarly productivity, I began to sketch a picture of environmental toxicology into my head. Later on, this would become 'environmental neurotoxicology' when I started to dive deep into publications within the National Library of Medicine, Nature, and Wiley Online Library. I made a new mental note that pursuing multifaceted research requires critical thinking and understanding the need for complex, contextual, creative intellect. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.7 million children under the age of five died in 2012 from “modifiable environmental factors” – in other words things such as air pollution and water contamination. Text then turned into real life: I noticed the upfront framework of neurodiversity, and probably, my first neuroscientific observation. Hundreds and hundreds of children were lined up on the grounds of the 10-30 story apartments in the East Andheri region of Mumbai, India, all easily looking at least five years old; however, unable to mutter a two-phrase sentence, and participating in no social interaction with others, not even their mothers. The reasoning behind India's poor Sustainable Development Index Score of 29 had been answered right there and then. There was a total separation of those who lived in poverty versus those who were filthy rich–it was as if no effort had been made to mitigate the damage these children had experienced. There was no maternal health care plan and few early childhood education programs were offered by the Indian government; those that did exist had no concrete agenda. There was a market, a need, for this emerging field of environmental neurotoxicology—why hadn't anything been done, or at least addressed? Even the various problems seen amongst these children and the non-existence of a maternal health care plan had to be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective, from overpopulation and educational systems to the country's budgeting. To integrate interdisciplinary perspectives into society, policymakers must think from a multifaceted perspective—one size never fits all in the world of legislation. I further explored modules on how Responsible Appliance Disposal prototypes have played a role in sustainable development. Furthermore, I began communicating with professors, expanding on Bronfenbrenner's Theory of Ecological Development in Children, examining how greenspace interacts with the child's brain. I founded The World We Once Knew at the age of 15, the first non-profit organization where the emerging studies of neurotoxicology and modern global sustainable development empower the thinkers and advocates of future generations to reimagine the field of environmental health. Today, the World We Once Knew has reached over 20 countries globally and is a member of the Youth Climate Movement or International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO). I am also incredibly proud to announce that I will be a member of the Health and Agriculture and Food Working Groups at YOUNGO! Within my endeavor to re-innovate public health, I firmly believe that intellect, creativity, and ingenuity pave the foundation for sustainable development and empathy to flourish. Then, the world we once knew becomes the world we all know.

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