Voting Now Open to Nominate 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalist for Improving Lives Award

3M and Discovery Education to Recognize Student’s Scientific Innovation with Strongest Potential to Make an Impact on the World

3M and Discovery Education today announced public voting is now open for the Improving Lives Award, a special recognition that will be awarded as part of the annual 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist). From now through October 15, 2021, students, teachers, parents, and other members of the public can vote once per day here, to choose the innovation from the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge that they believe has the most potential to make a positive impact on the world.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge exemplifies the impact that the next generation of scientists can have on solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at 3M. “Through the Improving Lives Award, and aligned with 3M’s longstanding commitments to STEM equity and STEM education, we continue to underscore the importance of getting young people interested in and excited about science – encouraging them to find the spark that could lead to making a lasting impact on society.”

In June, the top ten finalists were named for the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge – now in its fourteenth year as the nation’s premier science competition recognizing outstanding innovations from young scientists in grades 5 – 8. Each finalist will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to work virtually with a 3M scientist who will mentor them as they evolve their invention from idea to prototype.

The winner of both the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge and the Improving Lives Award will be revealed during an interactive virtual celebration on October 19, 2021. The public is invited to watch the final event live; more details and registration are available here.

The 2021 Improving Lives Award winner will receive a unique destination trip, and the grand prize winner of the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge will receive $25,000, a unique destination trip, and the prestigious title of America’s Top Young Scientist. In 2020, the public vote identified Anika Chebrolu as the recipient of the Improving Lives Award for using in-silico methodology for drug discovery to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The project also earned her the title of America’s Top Young Scientist.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge showcases the power of young people to solve real-world problems through STEM,” said Lori McFarling, president of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “We’re excited to see this year’s finalists demonstrate their science know-how and look forward to welcoming the public to witness the work of these incredible students on October 19th.”

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.

To learn more and meet this year’s finalists, visit

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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Equity & Access - Issue 28

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