Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalists, State Merit Winners, and Honorable Mentions have been announced! Use the tabs below to check out their big ideas and explore all finalists, winners, mentors, and judges!

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

Mentor
Since joining in 1988, Benson has spent the majority of his career leading research efforts to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing process technologies using high-energy radiation.

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
Data and analytics are Kandyce Bohannon’s passion. This, she says, feeds her fascination for technology and helps her gain a greater understanding of human behavior.

Dr. Döne Demirgöz

Mentor
Dr. Döne Demirgöz’s passion for science and engineering expands into many scientific areas at 3M. And when Dr. Demirgöz is not solving problems on the job, she’s inspiring and encouraging the next generation of young scientists through mentorship programs.

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.

Milagros Fornell

Judge
Milagros Fornell's numerous awards include, but are not limited to: 1984 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, 1998 South Florida Phi Beta Kappa Superior High School Principal, and 2001 Region VI Principal of the Year.

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

Mentor
With 81 issued patents and more than 20 pending, Oxman played a key role in revolutionizing the dental industry by helping to create tooth colored restorative filling materials to replace conventional metal fillings.

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
3D printing is an exciting technological development that is helping change the way we live our lives. It’s even more exciting when you’re printing one of the most robust polymers humans have ever discovered.

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.

Dr. Caroline Ylitalo

Mentor
Dr. Ylitalo has focused her career on developing new technologies that can be used across many businesses and has over 30 issued patents.