Speech therapy app wins top prize at Harvard Innovation Challenge, $75,000

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) – When Nathan Mallipeddi was younger, his worst fear was public speaking.

“Public speaking is something I’ve hated for as long as I can remember, I actually found solace in it,” Mallipeddi said. “It caused me to avoid relationships very early in my life. More so, it was a mental health issue, which left me feeling anxious, depressed and silenced.”

The Harvard medical student said he saw an opportunity because no one seemed to be addressing the issue of access to resources for those with speech disorders, such as stuttering. So the MySpeech app has been created.

The online portal offers users a digital hub of resources to find affordable speech therapy and community support, through virtual events, educational videos and a network of contacts.

“One of my heroes stuttered as a child.” Mallipeddi told WBZ’s Chris Fama.

This hero is now President of the United States and recognized Mallipeddi for his work helping those who have difficulty speaking.

President Joe Biden sent a congratulatory letter to Mallipeddi after receiving the 2022 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.

“I would especially like to thank this year’s Social Impact Laureates for addressing something that is deeply personal to me and millions of people around the world,” President Biden wrote. “Growing up, I stuttered. I remember the pain, the fear and the fear of speaking in front of a group or even to another person. But I also learned that when you persevere in the face of struggle, you’ll be stronger for it. And MySpeech’s efforts will help so many people persevere.”

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