Search for America’s Top Young Scientist of 2022 Begins

3M and Discovery Education Open Submissions to the 2022 Young Scientist Challenge

3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) are excited to announce that the 2022 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 until the April 26, 2022 deadline. 

Each year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge recognizes the grand prize winner, 10 finalists, the Improving Lives Award winner, and up to 50 state merit winners, as well as Washington D.C., nationwide who have demonstrated a passion for solving everyday problems to improve the world around them.  

To enter, students in grades 5-8 will share an original idea that helps solve an everyday problem in their community. They are invited to submit their solution in the form of a one-to-two-minute video explaining the science behind it. A diverse group of judges will evaluate entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and effective communication skills. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras. 

Previous challenge finalists have collaborated with 3M scientists to create solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, including COVID-19, water conservation, food waste, alternative energy sources, cancer treatments, energy consumption, and transportation efficiency. The 2021 winner – 14-year-old Sarah Park from Jacksonville, Fla. – created Spark Care+, an innovation that personalizes music therapy treatment for mental health improvement using artificial intelligence (AI), skin response (GSR) and photoplethysmography (PPG). 

In June 2022, 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program where they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist. Each finalist receives the opportunity to compete in the final event at the 3M Innovation Center in Minneapolis, MN – an interactive competition comprised of hands-on challenges, presentations, live judging, and more. At the final event, to be held on October 17-18, the grand prize winner and the Improving Lives Award winner will be announced.  

“Every day, 3M captures the power of our people, our ideas and 3M science to reimagine what’s possible and for the past 15 years, in partnership with Discovery Education, we’ve been inspiring students to apply their passion for STEM to making the world a better place,” said Karina Chavez, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at 3M. “The 3M Young Scientist Challenge encourages students to make the most of their creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills to develop an idea that can transform the world. We eagerly await this year’s entries!” 

In its 15th year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge inspires and challenges middle school students to apply the power of STEM to discovering 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, ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and exhibit at the White House Science Fair. A 2013 finalist recently held a 3M summer internship in the Corporate Materials Lab division, a testament to the ongoing learning opportunities for students who participate. These young innovators have also been named Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year, featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Business Insider, and on national television programs such as Good Morning America, CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more. Learn more and meet all past finalists at 

“Every year, the students participating in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge help make the world a better place,” said Lori McFarling, President of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “The 3M Young Scientist Challenge connects today’s students with scientist mentors so that their STEM dreams can come to life and better their community. We are incredibly excited to see the powerful ideas this year’s participants bring to life.” 

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.

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.

Current issue of Equity & Access:

Equity & Access - Issue 28

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