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2021 Young Scientists Challenge winners named – the Journal

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STEM & STEAM Education

The 2021 Young Scientists Challenge winners named

Artificial intelligence and machine learning were among this year’s top two entries for the 3M Young Scientists Challenge, a college science competition sponsored by 3M
and Discovery education.

Ten finalists were selected from one to two minute video submissions in which they described a new invention or solution that could solve or influence a daily problem affecting them, their families, their communities or the world. This year’s challenge brought the finalists together virtually over two days. Each competitor was assessed in a series of rated challenges and the final presentation of their innovation. They were assessed, according to the organizers, on their “innovative thinking, scientific acumen and exceptional communication skills”.

Over the past few months, the finalists have also worked with a scientist from 3M who mentored and worked with them one-on-one to help them turn their ideas into prototypes. Sarah, for example, was paired with Ann Fornof, Senior Research Specialist in the Adhesives Division at 3M.


Big winner Sarah Park, now an eighth grader in Jacksonville, Fla., Developed Spark Care +, a music therapy treatment for mental health disorders that uses AI, galvanic skin response (GSR) for sweat gland response, and photoplethysmography (PPG) for heart rate monitoring. Sarah said she envisions developing personalized bracelets with her invention for use by anyone looking to improve their mental health.

As the grand prize winner, Sarah received $ 25,000, a two-day trip, and the title of “America’s Best Young Scientist”.

Fourteen-year-old Samarth Mahapatra from Marietta, Georgia took second and was also named the winner of the Improving Lives Award, which was chosen by public vote as the solution with the greatest potential to have a positive impact on the world. . Samarth’s project, “Accessibility Friendly Guidance System for Optimal Cooking Operations based on Machine Learning,” was inspired by a family member who had to give up cooking due to glaucoma-induced blindness. The project uses advanced vision algorithms to help people with visual limitations “cook easily”.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge aligns with 3M’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of science leaders and illustrates how quality STEM education can engage and excite young people in science as a way to improve lives across the world. world, ”said Denise Rutherford, director of corporate affairs at 3M, in a statement. “Against the backdrop of an ongoing global pandemic, the finalists each demonstrated how courage, determination, resilience, innovative thinking and scientific process combine to create truly amazing innovations with the potential to meet great challenges. 3M is inspired by these young inventors, and we celebrate their accomplishments. “

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is Senior Contributing Editor for Educational Publications at 1105 Media The newspaper, Campus technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.



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