Many people can't wait for 2016 to be over, and I don't blame them. A lot of cringe-worthy, heart-wrenching, and just-plain-bizarre things went down over the past year. However, that doesn't mean we should forget about all of the positives. Because, believe it or not, there were many of those too.

Take the people of Boston, for example. Amidst the chaos of 2016, there were plenty of people in our little city doing extraordinary things...and I think they deserve some recognition. Making waves in the tech industry, going out of their way to help others in need, and putting their feet down to take a stand for what they believe in - here are 11 Bostonians who did some pretty awesome things this past year.

Sampriti Bhattacharyya

Sampriti is an MIT grad student and founder of one of the most talked about manufacturing companies of the year, Hydroswarm. Her work with Hydroswarm - which develops autonomous underwater drones capable of scanning the ocean floor for missing planes, measuring oil spills and detecting radiation - earned her a spot on Forbe's 30 Under 30.


Meggie Noel and Kylie Webster-Cazeau

After a year filled with one racial discrimination after the next, two Boston students couldn't keep their silence any longer. Together they decided to call out the injustice they experienced at their school, which they accused of marginalizing minority students. Little did they know that their assertive activism would raise dialogue, and ultimately, change, throughout the entire city.


Dan Barouch and James Collins

After hours of research, colleagues from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, James Collins and Dan Barouch, developed a paper-based test that detects the Zika virus in just a few short hours. This is a medical breakthrough, as it not only makes it practical for widespread use, but has the potential to be adapted to other viruses.


Photo cred - Yahoo

Abbey D’Agostino

Remember those two girls who took a tumble in the middle of the women's 5,000 meter heat at the 2016 Rio Olympics? Well one of those girls happened to be New Balance Boston pro athlete, Abbey D'Agostino, and it was her reaction to this tragic fall that earns her a spot on this list (along with the International Fair Play award for sportsmanship). With a torn ACL and meniscus, Abbey encouraged fellow fallen runner to get up and finish the race, and together, they did.


Christina Baugh

With a Bachelor’s from Harvard, a Masters from Boston University’s School of Public Health, and an expected Ph.D. from Harvard, I think it's safe to say that Christina Baugh is one smart cookie. But it's her research on concussions in sports that is creating a stir within the athletic industry, and her desire to improve the quality of life for athletes that makes her a Bostonian worth noting. AND she's also made the Forbe's 30 Under 30 list.


via @davidortiz

David Ortiz

Oh Big Papi, hats off to you. With 2016 bringing a close to David Ortiz' baseball career, I'd say it's time to reflect on all of the amazing things this Dominican-native has done for our city. Not only did he help pull the Red Sox out of their 86 year World Series drought (along with a few other notorious wins), Ortiz has done some exceptional charity work, even founding his own organization.


Liz Powers

Although her remarkable work in Boston started years ago, Liz Powers has been receiving recent recognition with her appearances at high profile tech conferences including SXSW and the Lean StartUp Conference. This probably has something to do with her company, ArtLifting, whose continued social impact is making headlines across America. The amazing company is an online marketplace that sells artwork created by homeless, disabled and other disadvantaged people.


Photo cred - The Boston Globe

Patricia Jehlen and Ellen Story

After fighting their way for equal pay for decades, 2016 marked the year that these two MA legislators finally made some headway in the gender gap. That's right, thanks to these determined women, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bipartisan pay equity bill to ensure equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers and equal opportunities to earn competitive salaries in the workplace. #girlpower

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