- Saving lives one device at a time
- Age: 21
- School: Harvard Law School
- Hometown: Austin, Texas
- Gender: Male
- Category: Science and Technology
Cortlan was just 19 when, in 2010, he became the youngest African-American man to earn a bioengineering degree at Rice University. There he worked on a number of major research projects, including ways to test the sensitivity of premature babies' hearing, developing a heart- and respiration-rate monitor for infants and modifying pacemakers to better monitor vital signs. Cortlan's interest in the medical field developed early. Cortlan's father died of a heart attack at age 40, and cancer and diabetes run in his family. He wants to help develop cost-effective medical devices and lessen the time it takes for such devices to make it to market. Now in his second year at Harvard Law School, Cortlan plans to specialize in intellectual property.