Thinking back to middle school, science projects seemed to revolve around model volcanoes and basic chemical reactions. However, in 2011, young scientific minds are using the power of science to solve problems, big and small. The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is committed to encouraging budding scientists and rewarding innovation among students each year, and Braeden Benedict of Rancho Palos Verdes, California is the latest to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”
Benedict competed alongside nine other finalists during the competition’s final event held at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota last week. As the grand prize winner, he has won $25,000 and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures for his innovation in developing a low-cost impact detection device that can make it easier to spot harmful concussions in athletes (watch his video entry).
Over the past three months, all of the finalists spent their summers participating in a mentorship program working directly with a 3M scientist as they created an innovation that solved a problem in everyday life. During the final event, the finalists presented their completed innovations to a panel of judges, including Reed Timmer from Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, Discovery Education and 3M representatives and educators from across the country. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges, which tested their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology.
Along with naming Benedict as the grand prize winner, Discovery Education and 3M awarded the nine other finalists with prizes. The second, third and fourth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures. Congratulations to:
- Cheyenne Hua from Hunter College High School in New York, New York
- Nolan Leonard from St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama
- Caroline Boschetto from Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, Pennsylvannia
The fifth through tenth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences. These finalists include:
- Jack Andraka from North County High School in Glen Burnie, Maryland
- Austin Curtis from Bedford Middle School in Bedford, Indiana
- Shawn Farmand from Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville, Pennsylvannia
- John Holtgrewe from Paducah Middle School in Pudacah, Kentucky
- Diyva Ravinder from Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida
- Albert Tung from University High School in Irvine, California
To learn more about this year’s finalists, please visit YoungScientistChallenge.com.