Emma Yang

New York, USA

Emma  Yang

Born in Hong Kong, Emma began coding when she was six years old, making small games and animations. In the few short years since then she has developed a serious specialism in computer science and become a top social entrepreneur, engineer and developer. However, it is through her startup app, Timeless, that Emma is making the biggest difference to the lives of ordinary people.

When Emma was eight years old, her grandmother started forgetting things. The family set up whiteboards in her living room where they would write things down for her, and sent photos to her iPad so her caregiver could show her pictures of her loved ones. However, there was no mobile app that could consolidate everything they had set up for her, so Emma began to create an app that would do exactly that – collaborating with Alzheimer’s specialists, designers, and technology advisors along the way. Timeless is now a first-of-its-kind, caregiver-assisted, easy-to-use app for Alzheimer’s patients that helps them remember events, stay connected and recognize people with the help of AI. 

Nonetheless, Emma faced huge difficulties in getting funding to develop the app, and she remembers trekking from boardroom to boardroom unsuccessfully in eighth grade. However, without the rejections, she thinks she wouldn’t have learnt as much about the industry, or acquired the confidence to advocate for young founders. She is a passionate advocate for young girls and women in STEM, having founded her middle school’s Coding Club and co-leading her high school’s all-girls robotics team. Her work as the Academic Director of the Wolfram Middle School Summer Camp attracts mentors and middle school girls from around the world – from India to Switzerland and Greece – to help develop their interest in computational thinking. 

Emma has won various awards for the Timeless app, including the 2017 MIT Solve Brain Health Challenge, the 2018 Women Startup Challenge Grand Prize (out of 300 women-led startups in the US), and the 2020 SupChina NextGen Female Rising Star Award. Academically, she is a World Science Scholar (1 of 30 exceptionally talented mathematical students in the world), winner of the National Merit Scholarship (top 0.5% of 1.5 million entrants), and a recipient of the Equitable Excellence Scholarship. She has also performed three times at Carnegie Hall and achieved Top 3 places at several national and international piano competitions.

However, the academic achievement she is proudest of is her contributions to university research. During 2021, she has worked with Dr. Yaron Meirovitch at Harvard University on a platform called mEMbrain, which democratizes deep learning in the field of connectomics (neuron-mapping) by providing neuroscientists with machine learning tools.

If Emma wins the Global Student Prize, she will use the funds to expand Timeless’ target audience from the Alzheimer’s community to the elderly population at large, creating a new product that helps the elderly with the challenges of staying connected and maintaining as much independence as possible.