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  • America’s Top Young Scientists

    October 14, 2015







    • By Margaux Mitera, 3M Senior Product Development Engineer

      What is it like when a group of young scientists takes over the 3M Innovation Center? Energy and ideas abound.

      The 10 finalists from the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge came to St. Paul, Minnesota, to compete in the final event for the title "America’s Top Young Scientist.”

      That honor ultimately went to 15-year-old Hannah Herbst, for an energy probe prototype that seeks to offer a stable power source by tapping energy from ocean currents. Other innovations included monitors that can watch for stressors for people with autism spectrum disorder and brainwaves that indicate distraction, plus work to stop allergic reactions with nanoparticles. It was fascinating and, more than that, it was inspiring.

      As an engineer at 3M's headquarters and the mentor for one of the young scientists, I was fortunate enough to be part of it. I am passionate about STEM education so being able to share this passion with my mentee, Krishna Reddy, throughout the past few months has been incredible.

      During the final event, the young scientists were tasked with several challenges in addition to the final presentation of their invention. For this part, the students were paired together to test and develop their skills in creativity, collaboration and communication as they worked together to solve the challenge. As you can see in the photo, I was there to support finalist Conner Pettit and his teammate during the Chain Reaction Challenge. One thing I hope the young scientists took away from the challenge is the importance of teamwork and coming together to accomplish more.