Indian Americans account for 5 of 10 finalists in prestigious 3M Young Scientist Challenge

3M and Discovery Education have announced the 10 finalists of its 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Half of the finalists are Indian American students.

The Young Scientist Challenge is America’s premier middle school science competition, which recognizes scientific thinking, communication and curiosity in students grades 5-8 who demonstrate a passion for solving everyday problems that could ultimately improve lives around the world.

Among the finalists – which span across the US – are Jaya Choudhary of Canton Charter Academy in Canton, Michigan; Reshma Kosaraju of Harker Middle School in San Jose, California; Nishant Lahiri of the Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning, New York; Camellia Sharma of George H. Moody Middle School in Glen Allen, Virginia; and Samyak Shrimali, of Valley Catholic Middle School in Beaverton, Oregon, a media release said.

Choudhary, a 13-year-old 7th grader, engineered an Airflow Control Robot designed to help reduce energy consumption in the home by eliminating the use of heat in unoccupied rooms.

Kosaraju, 13, a 7th grader, created a predictive model using machine learning and neural networks to predict and prevent the instances of forest fires.

The 14-year-old 8th grader Lahiri developed iCART, a new approach to carbon capture that extracts carbon dioxide from the air and recycles it into natural volcanic rock.

Sharma, a 12-year-old 6th grader, developed a water leakage detection system to identify underground water leakage and reduce the estimated 48.6 billion cubic meters of water lost annually through current distribution systems worldwide.

And Shrimali, a 14-year-old 8th grader, designed a sensor-based system to track hand hygiene compliance in hospitals to reduce the fatality rate associated with nosocomial infections.

“We are excited to recognize this new generation of scientists as part of 3M’s ongoing commitment to STEM-equity and science advocacy for all students. We are really energized to play a part in shaping the next generation of change-makers who will lead and mold our future,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president of corporate affairs at 3M.

After submitting a short video communicating the science behind a possible innovation to solve an everyday problem, these young scientists rose to the top of the competition and were selected over hundreds of others, because of their science acumen, innovative thinking and exceptional communication skills demonstrated, the release said.

The top 10 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists – five boys and five girls, ranging in ages from 9-14 – include those from public and private schools across the nation.

Each finalist will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a 3M scientist during a mentorship program, where they will be challenged to bring their innovative concept to life, the release said.

All 10 finalists will receive $1,000 and a trip to 3M’s Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn., where they will participate in the final competition Oct. 28 through Oct. 29.

They will be evaluated on a series of challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation. Each challenge will be scored independently by a panel of judges.

The grand prize winner will receive $25,000, a unique destination trip and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist, the media release said.

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