Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2017 Young Scientist Challenge Finalists and State Merit Winners have been announced! Use the tabs below to check out their big ideas and explore all finalists, winners, mentors and judges!

Dr. Mahfuza Ali

Mentor
Dr. Ali has developed a number of technologies including specialty thermoplastic and PSA polymers, quaternary monomers/polymers, ink-receptive polymers and surface modification.

Dr. Alireza Asgari

Mentor
Dr. Asgari brings the discipline of advanced mathematics to the business of creating innovative materials.

Dr. Brian Barnhart

Judge
Dr. Barnhart is in his sixteenth year as Superintendent of Western Springs School District #101 in Western Springs, IL, a 1500 student, pre-K through Grade 8 district in the near-west suburbs of Chicago.

Dr. Olester Benson, Jr.

Judge
Dr. Benson is currently a Corporate Scientist in the 3M Corporate Research Process Laboratory and is a graduate of the University of Colorado.

Kandyce Bohannon

Mentor
Wearables and analytics are Kandyce Bohannon’s passion. As a 3M software architect, Kandyce analyzes human behavior to drive digital transformations that will keep workers safe around the world.

Dr. Mary Caruso Dailey

Mentor
Dr. Dailey is currently developing a thermal bond adhesive for new products and new technologies around responsive materials for 3M’s Industrial Adhesive and Tapes.

Dr. Döne Demirgöz

Mentor
Applying her chemical engineering knowledge to different scientific areas is the strength of Dr. Demirgöz.

Jeffrey Emslander

Mentor
From graphic films for vehicles and reflective materials on traffic signs to more energy-efficient construction materials, Jeffrey Emslander is helping to create a greener planet.

John Henderson

Mentor
The impact of John Henderson’s work can be seen anywhere there’s been an impact – between vehicles, that is.

Dr. Cindy Moss

Judge
As senior director of global STEM initiatives for Discovery Education, Dr.Moss designs, develops and implements initiatives to inspire students’ curiosity in STEM.

Dr. Joe Oxman

Judge
Currently a corporate scientist with 3M's Oral Care Division, Dr. Oxman has worked at 3M for 34 years and has 99 issued patents.

Sam Reiss

Mentor
“Safety first” is the motto for Sam Reiss. As a 3M risk management engineer, he makes sure the company’s products that are designed to protect and prevent injury perform perfectly.

Dr. Kathleen Shafer

Mentor
Dr. Shafer helps convert corn and other plants into … plastics! Her molecular research in polymers helps turn interesting science into cool products that improve lives.

Dr. Candace Singh

Judge
As an educator in San Diego County for close to 30 years, Dr. Singh is well-known and respected for her work as a turnaround principal and superintendent.

Dr. Holly Sullivan

Judge
Following an 18 year teaching career, Dr. Sullivan now serves as the Coordinator of Science, Health and Physical Education for Lexington County School District One in Lexington, SC.

Dr. Kris Thunhorst

Mentor
Dr. Thunhorst collaborates closely between the Industrial Business Group Research and Development Laboratory to scout and research new technologies

Dr. Andrea Washington

Judge
Dr. Andrea "DeeDee" Washington is a veteran educator who has served for more than 27 years in multiple roles including curriculum facilitator, principal, personnel director, associate superintendent, and classroom teacher.