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Every year, Forbes Magazine releases a list of new elite business leaders who’ve broken the billion mark in their respective net worth. This year Forbes lists a woman whose net worth is $4.5 billion, and she’s only 31. (Excuse me, WHAT?) The best part is that this person earned her insane bank account by developing a technology that will make a huge difference in the world of medicine.

Meet Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, a medical technology company currently dedicated to making blood analysis quicker, easier, and less expensive. Theranos developed blood tests that can help spot dozens of various ailments using just a tiny drop of blood instead of a whole test tube — if you want to be technical, the website boasts needing only 1.29cm. The company is working to make testing available not only in hospitals but in pharmacies as well. In participating Walgreens (only in California and Arizona, for now), you can diagnose and thus treat ailments such as high cholesterol and diabetes for just a few dollars. Theranos plans to expand to more than 8,200 pharmacies in the future. Their goal is to make diagnoses easier and more accessible—ultimately, saving lives.

“We see a world in which no one ever had to say, ‘If only I’d known sooner,’” she told the New Yorker. “A world in which no one ever has to say goodbye too soon.”

elizabeth-holmes-2Holmes founded the Theranos at age 19 after dropping out of Stanford. “I think a lot of young people have incredible ideas and incredible insights, but sometimes they wait before they go give their life to something,” she told CNN. “What I did was just to start a little earlier.”

“My father worked in disaster relief and so I grew up in a house that had pictures of all these little children in really tough parts of the world,” she continued. “I was absolutely convinced that was what I was going to do. Then when I started realizing that a company could be a vehicle for having very direct impact over a change that you are trying to make, I started thinking about the concept of what could I build that could impact a lot of peoples’ lives?”

By 2014, Holmes registered 18 US patents and 66 patents outside the US. She’s number 111 on the Forbes 400, a list dominated by men. More importantly, she has just become a huge inspiration to every girl interested in taking up math, science, and technology. STEM for the win!

My favorite bit of trivia is that she can quote Jane Austen by heart.

According to Holmes, she never quite fit the mold as a kid. “I was reading ‘Moby-Dick’ from start to finish when I was about nine,” she told The New Yorker, “I read a ton of books. I still have a notebook with a complete design for a time machine that I designed when I must have been, like, seven. The wonderful thing about the way I was raised is that no one ever told me that I couldn’t do those things.”

Hear that, kiddies? Stay weird, stay true to yourself, and you can go far.

(source: Hello Giggles)

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Christina E. Janke

Christina is the co-host of “Intro to Geek” on Shauncastic and Editor-in-Chief at Agents of Geek. Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Gail Simone. She hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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