Speech Therapy App Wins Top Prize At Harvard Innovation Challenge, $75K

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

"Public speaking is something that I hated for as long as I can remember, I've actually found solace in it," Mallipeddi said. "It drove me to avoid relationships very early on in my life. Even more than that, it was a mental health issue, where it had me become anxious, depressed and silenced."

The Harvard Medical student said he saw an opportunity, as no one seemed to be tackling the issue of access to resources for those who suffer from speech impediments, like stutters. Thus, the MySpeech app was created.

The online portal gives users a digital platform 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.

That hero is now president of the United States and has recognized Mallipeddi for his work to help those who struggle with speech.

President Joe Biden sent a letter of congratulations to Mallipeddi after he was awarded the 2022 Harvard President's Innovation Challenge.

"I would especially like to thank this year's social impact winners for addressing something that's deeply personal to me and millions of people around the world," President Biden wrote. "Growing up, I stuttered. I remember the pain, dread, and 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 will be stronger for it. And the efforts of MySpeech will help so many people persevere."

"The more I work on this organization the more I realize just how many people have been invisible for so long. It's that fact and that inspiration that really pushes me through hard times." Mallipeddi said.

Stuttering impacts more than 3 million people in the United States and more than 70 million worldwide.

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports:

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