Local Student Wins Title of “America’s Top Young Scientist”
Discovery Education and 3M have named 15-year-old Hannah Herbst from Boca Raton, Fla. the winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Herbst created an energy probe prototype that seeks to offer a stable power source to developing countries by using untapped energy from ocean currents. This innovation was inspired by Herbst’s desire to help her 9-year-old pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacks a reliable source of power and electricity. Herbst’s scientific thinking reflected the competition’s goal of applying science to everyday life, creating a solution that will improve lives and strengthen communities around the globe.
Herbst, a ninth grader from Florida Atlantic University High School, competed alongside nine other middle school finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 cash prize.
During the past three months, Herbst and the other nine finalists had the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M scientist to develop their personal inventions as part of a unique summer mentorship program. Herbst was paired with Jeffrey Emslander, a 3M corporate scientist whose research and patents have helped 3M reduce emissions to the environment and use less energy in the making of products. Each of the students collaborated with some of 3M’s top scientists, who provided guidance as they worked through the scientific method to advance their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype. Together, the mentors and finalists shared their passion for science, reviewed the scientific process and worked virtually through pre-assigned objectives, with resources and support provided by Discovery Education and 3M.
During the final competition hosted by Discovery Education’s Lance Rougeux, the finalists shared their completed inventions with a panel of judges, including Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and star of Science Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges: 1) combining multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) building a simple machine using science and engineering principles.
“3M is rooted in scientific exploration and an unwavering belief that every problem has a solution. Watching these middle school students embrace this core belief with such zeal and passion has been truly remarkable,” said Jon Lindekugel, senior vice president, business development at 3M. “Our partnership with Discovery Education underscores our shared values and vision to support the next generation of scientific thinkers as they seek to transform the world. We congratulate them all!”
“The Young Scientist Challenge empowers students with the tools and experiences they need to apply science and their critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems,” said Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO, Discovery Education. “We are proud to stand alongside 3M in their efforts to advance STEM education through this unique project-based learning opportunity that celebrates the next generation of innovators, creators, engineers and scientists. We congratulate Hannah Herbst and the rest of this year’s finalists for their innovation and the inspiration they provide middle school students everywhere.”