Search Begins for 2024 America’s Top Young Scientist

3M and Discovery Education open submissions to the 2024 Young Scientist Challenge 

3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) today announced that the 2024 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist) is now open to entries. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to compete for an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize, and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” Competition entries are accepted at YoungScientistLab.com until the deadline on May 2, 2024. 

Each year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge recognizes the grand prize winner, 10 finalists, four honorable mentions, and up to 51 state merit winners – nationwide and in Washington D.C – who have demonstrated a passion for using science to solve everyday problems and improve the world around them.  

To enter, students in grades 5-8 submit a one-to-two-minute video explaining an original idea using science to help solve an everyday problem. All entries are reviewed by a diverse group of judges and evaluated on their creativity, scientific knowledge, and communication skills. Videos can be recorded using a cell phone or digital camera and will not be judged on production skills. This year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge offers innovative ways for students to engage in science through new entry topics, including robotics, home improvement, automotive, safety, AR/VR, and climate technology. To learn more about the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including entry details and to find supporting resources, visit youngscientistlab.com. 

Previous challenge finalists have collaborated with 3M scientists to create solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, including cybersecurity, machine learning, water conservation, food waste, alternative energy sources, energy consumption, air pollution, and transportation efficiency. The 2023 winner – 14-year-old Heman Bekele from Annandale, Virginia – created a compound-based Skin Cancer Treating Soap (SCTS). Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with an average annual treatment cost of $8.1 billion. Inspired by this costly and widespread health issue, Heman developed an affordable soap solution that could positively impact skin cancer outcomes. Over the next five years, he hopes to refine this novel innovation and create a nonprofit organization that will distribute this low-cost solution to communities in need.    

In June 2024, 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program during which they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist. Each finalist then has the opportunity to compete in the final event at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota during an interactive competition comprised of hands-on challenges, presentations, live judging, and more. During the final event, October 14-15, 2024, the grand prize winner will be announced.  

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge encourages young people to solve everyday problems using science and innovation–and we can’t wait to see what you dream up!” said Torie Clark, Chief Public Affairs Officer at 3M. 

In the seventeenth year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge continues to inspire and challenge middle school students to think creatively and apply the power of STEM to discover real-world solutions. America’s Top Young Scientists have gone on to give TED Talks, file patents, found nonprofits, make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, 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. In addition, a 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network was formed in fall 2022 and welcomed more than 100 former challenge finalists and winners for networking opportunities. 

“For seventeen years, the best and brightest students have been connecting their passion for science with world-changing innovations,” said Amy Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “The Challenge inspires students to use their creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills to make the world a better place.” 

The award-winning competition 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 on Discovery Education Experience, the company’s award-winning K-12 learning platform.

Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 100 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com.

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Equity & Access - Issue 27

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