This year's TCT Awards ceremony saw the announcement of the first TCT Sanjay Mortimer Foundation Rising Star Award winner.
The award, launched in collaboration with TCT and the Sanjay Mortimer Foundation, was established to shine a spotlight on an up-and-coming neurodivergent young person who has the potential to contribute greatly towards the engineering industry.
Sixteen-year-old Zac Smith was the inaugural recipient of the award. Nominated by his teachers at Simon Langton Grammar Boys school in Kent, Smith was one of the youngest nominees for the prize which includes a Prusa 3D printer, plus the opportunity to become an SMF Star, providing access to grants, training and more.
Smith commented: "These engineering projects and activities have been life changing, they have boosted my confidence and transformed me from a boy who struggled to communicate, lacked the ability to socialise and found daily life extremely challenging into someone who looks forward to each new day and the opportunities it brings. Thank you to the SMF for seeing promise in me."
Teula Bradshaw, Executive Director of the SMF added: "We were overwhelmed by the exceptional quality of entries for this award, with each applicant showcasing their struggles, combined with an evident passion for 3D printing and engineering, making it an incredibly challenging decision.
"Zac’s love for 3D printing combined with his achievements, from such a young age, meant he wholeheartedly deserved to win this prize."
The Sanjay Mortimer Foundation was founded in 2022 in honour of the late Sanjay Mortimer, a co-founder of E3D-Online, who passed away at the age of 32. Mortimer lived with ADHD and transformed it into his superpower to build one of the leading companies providing 3D printing nozzles, extruders, and essentials. In an effort to continue this spirit of innovation and championing of neurodivergent children and young adults, the SMF plans a introduce series of Awards and initiatives as part of its future outreach.