Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Check out the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge! Registration opens for next year’s challenge on December 15th, 2017 and will run until April 15th, 2018. Winners receive $25,000 and past winners and finalists have gone on to speak in front of congress, secure careers in STEM fields and work with some of the foremost scientific leaders of our day and age.

I’d like to highlight this year’s winner, America's Top Young Scientist - 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao.

From a recent press release:

“3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) have named 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao from Lone Tree, Colo., the winner of the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist). Gitanjali is working to develop Tethys, a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques.

Rather than using expensive equipment for testing, Gitanjali’s cost-effective approach to water safety uses a mobile app that populates the water’s status almost immediately. Tethys is designed to be portable and easy to use, allowing individuals to test water safety whenever needed. She hopes to solve the water contamination crisis and decrease long-term health effects from lead exposure.

A seventh-grader at STEM School and Academy, Gitanjali competed alongside nine other finalists during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 prize.

During the past three months, Gitanjali and the other finalists had the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M scientist to develop their innovations as part of a unique summer mentorship program. Gitanjali was paired with Dr. Kathleen Shafer, a 3M research specialist who develops new plastics technologies that have real-world applications in dentistry and other fields.

Each of the students collaborated with some of 3M’s leading scientists, who provided guidance as they worked through the scientific method to advance their ideas from a theoretical concept into a physical prototype. Together, the 3M mentors and finalists shared their passion for science, reviewed the scientific process and worked virtually through pre-assigned objectives, with resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education.

“3M’s commitment to the next generation of science leaders is energized each year by the creativity and ingenuity of these young scientists,” said Paul Keel, senior vice president, business development and marketing-sales, 3M. “Making the world a better place through science starts with a spark of curiosity, which leads to passion – and results in making an impact. 3M is inspired by these finalists and their contributions to making lives better.”

During the final competition, the finalists presented their inventions to an esteemed panel of 3M scientists, school superintendents and administrators from across the country. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists paired up to compete in two additional challenges through which they combined multiple 3M technologies to solve a real-world problems.

“Discovery Education proudly joins 3M to celebrate a 10-year commitment to fostering the next generation of passionate innovators,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education. “Empowering students with access to innovative learning opportunities sharpens their mastery of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and ignites their desire to improve the world with science.”

For teachers, students and parents seeking a place to explore the world of scientific innovations and opportunities, Discovery Education and 3M developed the Young Scientist Lab, an interactive portal filled with engaging activities and standards-aligned teaching tools, anchored by the award-winning annual Young Scientist Challenge.”

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