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3M & Discovery Education Name 10 Grant Recipients Supporting Nation’s Young Scientists

3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) today announced the 10 recipients of the inaugural 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network Alumni Grants Program. Launched in 2023, the program supports past participants and future scientists as part of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist).  

As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to compete for a mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize, and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” The new Alumni Network and Alumni Grants Program offers previous participants networking opportunities, resources, events, and funding for existing science projects. Former finalists must be registered members of the 3M Young Scientist Alumni Network to apply. 

The Alumni Grants Program awarded a total of $25,000 in funding to ten 3M Young Scientist Challenge alumni. The 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Grants Program recipients across three funding areas are as follows:  

  • Braeden Benedict is a 26-year-old from Missouri and a 2011 finalist. Braeden received $1,000 for the project The Health Career Collaborative at Washington University in St. Louis that provides mentorship, engaging health curriculum, and exposure to health careers to high school students from low-income, underrepresented minority communities.  
  • Leanne Fan is a 15-year-old from California and 2022 America’s Top Young Scientist & Grand Prize winner. Leanne received $1,000 for the project Teaching Science to Kids Through Expos! that introduces young students to science.  
  • Reshma Kosaraju is a 17-year-old from California and a 2019 finalist & Improving Lives Award Winner. Reshma received $1,000 for the project Eco Quest: An environmental conservation board game that teaches students about climate change. 
  • Kathryn Lampo is a 20-year-old from Colorado and a 2017 finalist. Kathryn received $1,000 for the project NYC Model Rocketry Initiative that makes space science and engineering accessible to underserved middle schoolers across New York City through engaging STEM resources. 
  • Viraj Pandey is a 14-year-old from California and a 2021 finalist. Viraj received $2,500 for the project Enhancing Crop Yields and Minimizing Crop Diseases Using Graphene Quantum Dots to Combat Overpopulation and Adverse Climate Changes that will help sustainably increase crop yield. 
  • Sarah Park is a 15-year-old from Florida and a 2021 America’s Top Young Scientist & Grand Prize winner. Sarah received $5,000 for the project Spark Care+: Personalized Music Therapy App using a Mobile and AI that provides accessible and affordable music therapy for emotional wellbeing. 
  • Samvrit Rao is a 15-year-old from Virginia and a 2020 finalist. Samvrit received $1,000 for the project STEMForU Innovation Bootcamps that inspires underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM by providing innovative learning experiences and resources to help develop STEM critical thinking skills. 
  • Moitri Santra is a 13-year-old from Florida and a 2021 finalist. Harini received $2,500 for the project Novel Phyto-Nano Drug Delivery System that investigates the potential of medicinal phytochemicals at the nano-scale for reducing adverse drug reactions. 
  • Daniel Thomas is a 15-year-old from Texas and a 2022 finalist. Daniel received $5,000 for the project ClearWTR Portable: A Novel Water Disinfection and Purification Device that creates safe and clean drinking water. 
  • Harini Venkatesh is a 15-year-old from New Hampshire and a 2022 Improving Lives Award Winner & finalist. Harini received $5,000 for the project The Comptometrist: A Novel Method to Efficiently and Effectively Calculate Optical Power Current that calculates eye prescriptions. 

 “It’s incredibly inspiring to see how the 3M Young Scientist Challenge alumni have continued their scientific innovations,” said John P. Banovetz, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Environmental Responsibility at 3M. “Congratulations to each of the recipients of the inaugural alumni grants program! 3M is proud to support these inspiring students as they apply their passion for science to make the world a better place.” 

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network brings together a growing community of former Challenge finalists and mentors to connect over shared experiences, celebrate, and promote innovations and STEM as a whole. America’s Top Young Scientists have gone on to give TED Talks, file patents, found nonprofits, make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and exhibit at the White House Science Fair. These young innovators have also been named Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year, featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, and Business Insider, and have appeared on national television programs such as Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more.  

“The new Alumni program is designed to nurture growth and support ongoing science opportunities for prior participants as they tap into a network of innovators. These are innovative ideas that will change the world and we could not be prouder,” said Amy Nakamoto, General Manager of Social Impact at Discovery Education.  

The award-winning 3M Young Scientist Challenge supplements the 3M and Discovery Education program – Young Scientist Lab – which provides no-cost dynamic digital resources for students, teachers, and families to explore, transform, and innovate the world around them. All the resources are also available through the Young Scientist Lab Channel and in the Social Impact Partnerships channel on Discovery Education’s recently enhanced K-12 learning platform 

Learn more about the 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network Alumni Grants Program recipients here.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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