Skip to content


static image


Trisha Seminara, Hunter Public Relations for 3M
212-679-6600 ext. 212

Christina Scripps, Discovery Communications

– Braeden Benedict Awarded $25,000 and Named America’s Top Young Scientist –

– Panel of Judges Included Reed Timmer of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers –

(St. Paul, Minn) – Discovery Education and 3M have named Braeden Benedict from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., winner of the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Benedict, a 14-year-old graduate of St. John Fisher Parish School and a freshman at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” $25,000 and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures for his innovation in developing a low-cost impact detection device that can make it easier to spot harmful concussions in athletes. He competed alongside nine other finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Over the past three months, Benedict and the other finalists had the exclusive opportunity to participate in a summer mentorship program working directly with a 3M scientist in creating an innovation that solved a problem in everyday life. The 3M mentors provided guidance as the finalists developed their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype. Each of the ten finalists received a 3M Camcorder Projector Shoot ’n Share to document their summer mentorship program.

During the competition yesterday, the finalists shared their completed innovations with a panel of judges, including Reed Timmer of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges in which they were asked to: 1) combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) identify where a tornado may hit on a map based on specific scientific factors and weather conditions. Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology.

“The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge showcases Discovery Education’s commitment to satisfy students’ innate curiosity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and prepare them to become our nation’s next generation of leaders,” said Bill Goodwyn, CEO, Discovery Education. “Braeden and the rest of this year’s finalists have proven they possess the drive and innovative thinking that can lead us to a bright future in the years to come.”

“The opportunity to encourage and celebrate science achievement among our nation’s top students carries great meaning for the future of our society,” added Ian Hardgrove, President, 3M Foundation. “Innovation is a way of life at 3M and the inventing never stops. We’ll look to the talented minds of the next generation like those represented today to lead us to new frontiers of discovery in the years to come. We at 3M congratulate them all.”

The remaining nine finalists also received a variety of prizes from Discovery Education and 3M. The second, third and fourth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures to Costa Rica. These extraordinary students are:

  • Cheyenne Hua from Hunter College High School in New York, N.Y., received second place for her innovation that helps prevent flood damage to homes.
  • Nolan Lenard from St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala., received third place for his innovation that alerts drivers to upcoming pedestrian crosswalks, speed limit zones and other signs to help ensure safer driving.
  • Caroline Boschetto from Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, Pa., received fourth place for her innovative device that captures renewable energy from the most unlikely of sources — wheelchairs and strollers.
  • The fifth through tenth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences, which offers first-hand, memorable adventures they see and learn about on Discovery’s networks. These finalists, in alphabetical order by last name, are:

  • Jack Andraka from North County High School in Glen Burrie, Md.
  • Austin Curtis from Bedford Middle School in Bedford, Ind.
  • Shayan Farmand from Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville, Pa.
  • John Holtgrewe from Paducah Middle School in Pudacah Ky.
  • Divya Ravinder from Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla.
  • Albert Tung from University High School in Irvine, Calif.
  • For more information on the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and to learn more about this year’s finalists, go to

    About the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge
    As the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. In January, students nationwide were asked to create a one- to two-minute video communicating the science behind a possible solution for an everyday problem related to one of the following categories: The Way We Move, The Way We Keep Ourselves Healthy or The Way We Make a Difference. In June, the top ten national finalists were selected. For more information on the challenge, including ages and entry videos of the ten finalists, go to

    About Discovery Education
    Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education. Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement. Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services. Explore the future of education at

    About 3M
    3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $27 billion in sales, 3M employs about 80,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

    *All finalists were in grades 5-8 at time of competition entry.