Brevard student among 31 winners in Florida of 3M Young Scientist Competition

·2 min read

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An Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School student is one of 31 state winners in the national 3M Young Scientist contest for inventing a way to mitigate harmful effects of algae blooms.

For the contest hosted by 3M and Discovery Education, students in grades 5-8  had to identify an everyday problem in their classroom, community, or the world and submit a one-to two-minute video communicating the science behind their solution.

Students could choose to solve a problem in one of six categories: health, safety, mobility, the environment, energy consumption or community. Judges, including 3M scientists and leaders in education from across the country, evaluated entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and communication effectiveness.

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Sharanya Natarajan, an 8th grade student, described a plan to design affordable floating devices that track algae growth and mitigate harmful blooms. The devices would be controlled by an app and cast less than $250 per unit, far more affordable than existing solutions, Natajaran said in a presentation.

Sharanya Natarajan, an Edgewood 8th grader, is one of 31 state finalists in the national 3M Young Scientist competition.
Sharanya Natarajan, an Edgewood 8th grader, is one of 31 state finalists in the national 3M Young Scientist competition.

Natajaran also placed in the state science fair and won the junior environmental engineering award for the Lockheed Martin Science Challenge at the Orlando Science Center for the same concept.

Natarajan is one of 31 national winners, each representing one state.

“The ‘3M Young Scientist Challenge’ supports young innovators who have demonstrated that same passion to create what’s next and see their creative discoveries unfold and improve the world around us,” Karina Chavez, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at 3M, said in a press release.

“We are thrilled to welcome the latest generation of finalists and honorable mention recipients, and we are energized by a future that embraces STEM-for-all and what it can do for the world around us.”

Each of the 31 students identified as state winners will receive a ‘3M Innovation Prize Pack,’ that includes technology prizes. The organization has not publicly disclosed what those prizes might be.

Next, ten students will be selected as finalists and will compete in a final competition on October 17-18 at 3M’s Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. They will each also receive $10,000 and a summer mentorship from a 3M scientist. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 and a two-day destination trip.

Bailey Gallion is the education reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at 321-242-3786 or bgallion@floridatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Brevard student state winner in 3M Young Scientist contest