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Elizabeth Hillman, Discovery Education


Paula DeGangi, for 3M


– Ten Young Inventors Compete for $25,000 and the Title of ‘America’s Top Young Scientist’ in Nation’s Premier Science Competition –

– Finalists Get Summer One-on-One Mentorship of a Lifetime with 3M Scientists to Refine Invention Concepts –

Silver Spring, Md. and St. Paul, Minn. (June 28, 2016) – Biodegradable plastic. A low-cost CPR simulator. Safe energy storing devices. An efficient water quality monitoring system.  Today’s innovative young minds are working to solve tomorrow’s challenges — making materials safer, solutions more efficient, and inventions more accessible. Now, Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) and 3M (@3M) announce 10 student finalists from across America in the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist). The annual premier competition recognizes scientific thinking and imagination in students grades 5-8 who dream up a solution to an everyday problem that ultimately could reshape the way we live our lives.

After submitting a short video communicating the science behind a possible solution to an everyday problem, these young scientists rose to the top of the competition and were selected over hundreds of others, due to their science acumen, innovative thinking and exceptional communication skills demonstrated in their entry videos. The finalists   ?  six girls and four boys, ranging in age from 12-14  ?   include those from public, private and home schools, from locations all across the nation.

The 10 Finalists

(in alphabetical order)*:

  • Meghna Behari, Sewickley, PA, Marshall Middle School, (North Allegheny School District)
  • Amelia Day, Sumner, WA, Lakeridge Middle School (Sumner School District)
  • Mrinali Kesavadas, Mahomet, IL, Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High School (Mahomet-Seymour School District)
  • Sara Makboul, Acworth, GA, Palmer Middle School (Cobb County School District)
  • Maanasa Mendu, Mason, OH, Mason Middle School (Mason City School District)
  • Rohit Mital, Rochester Hills, MI, West Middle School (Rochester Community Schools)
  • Will Paschal, Madison, GA, Morgan County Middle School (Morgan County School District)
  • Sofia Tomov, Knoxville, TN, Homeschooled
  • Rohan Wagh, Portland, OR, Stoller Middle School (Beaverton School District)
  • Kaien Yang, Chantilly, VA, Nysmith School for the Gifted

Each finalist will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a 3M Scientist during a summer mentorship program, where they will be challenged to develop their innovative concept that positively impacts them, their family, their community or the global population.  Students meet virtually with their mentors, who provide guidance from the student’s concept to actual prototype  ?  allowing for a complete experience in the scientific process in which the original idea may evolve. Throughout the program, each student will have access to resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education.

All 10 finalists receive $1,000 and are awarded a trip to 3M Headquarters in St. Paul, Minn to participate in the final competition at the 3M Innovation Center on Oct. 17 and 18, where they will be evaluated on a series of challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation. Each challenge will be scored independently by a panel of judges. The winner will receive $25,000, a trip to watch the taping of a Discovery Network show, and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

“At 3M, we know the importance of encouraging ‘next-gen’ scientific thinkers, who will invent new ways to solve the issues our customers face every day — from keeping workers safe on the job to addressing global issues like access to clean water,” said Jon Lindekugel, senior vice president for Business Development and Marketing-Sales at 3M.  “Through 3M’s summer mentorship with the finalists, we’re excited to hear their fresh ideas and to provide guidance through the scientific process as their projects move from concept to reality.”

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with 3M to support their commitment to fostering the next generation of science innovators,” said Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO of Discovery Education.  “The Young Scientist Challenge brings the magic of science to life for young people  everywhere — enhancing science exploration nationwide, and helping to develop the communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills today’s students need for success beyond the classroom.” 

Since its inception in 2008, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student scholarships and prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. It targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to wane and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. Winners have gone on to be featured in Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list, speak in front of members of Congress and attendees at the United Nations, meet the President of the United States, and demonstrate inventions on national news programs such as ABC World News Tonight, Fox & Friends, and The Ellen Degeneres Show.

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including photos and bios of the 10 finalists and a list of the 27 state merit winners, please visit On Twitter, follow @3M and @DiscoveryEd and join the conversation using #YoungScientist.


About 3M

At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $32 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at or on Twitter @3M or @3MNewsroom.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at