Peoria Teen invents a better way to irrigate water, receives a day named after her from the City of Peoria

She’s one of the newest members of the gBeta cohort through Distillery Labs’ entrepreneurship program
Kushi Shah is currently a part of the gBeta accelerator program and is considering which college she wants to attend next Fall.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 12:26 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2022 at 8:49 AM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - With a passion for sustainability, Khushi Shah says it all started on a trip back to her native home country of India.

“I was looking for a science fair project and when I was there in India, I notice a lot of people, including my family had to walk up to five miles for a basic human right: clean water,” explains Shah.

For her school science fair project, Shah decided to take what she saw overseas and build a more unique way to save water.

“When I came back to the states, this was something that was constantly on my mind. there was a moment when I saw someone had their sprinklers on in the rain and that was my ah-ha moment when I realized that irrigation is a sector in which we can reduce the water usage immensely to really allocate our water,” she says.

Born into a family of engineers, her dad has worked at Caterpillar for more than 20 years, it’s no surprise that now that project is turning into a full-fledged business.

“The product is called e-code and it’s a smart irrigation system, it utilizes irrigation between underground humidity sensors, propriety app to optimize water usage and minimize consumer costs to only irrigating when your land needs to be,” Shah says her passion for stem grew thanks to a helping hand along the way.

“My teachers played a huge role in inspiring me in taking my middle school science fair project into a full business. It definitely wasn’t easy. I didn’t know water conservation or programming or sensors to start off with. They helped me learn the ins and outs of all these topics to help me get connected with the right people. of course, my parents were a huge support to me throughout the process as well.”

“One thing that she’s always been is a leader,” now retired, former STEM & Technology Dunlap Middle School teacher Cindy James says, it takes exposure to teach kids about new and emerging career fields.

“I’ve taught several kids that have never coded before in their life and you give them that little experience. one of the languages I teach is scratch and I’ve had students write me and say, ‘they never knew anything about that until they took that class’ and now they are going to school to be computer programmers so it’s very rewarding to be able to teach that.” Says James.

With recognition from everyone from NASA to Google and the City of Peoria naming August 6th after her, she says she not looking for the accolades, her goal is simple.

“I’ve been able to turn my business into an LLC. File for a patent. I’ve also been working with a lot of accelerator programs and going to different competitions to find investors and mentorships to really take this to the next level,” finishes Shah.

Brett Brooks reporting.