Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2018 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. Maria Appeaning

Mentor
Examples of Dr. Appeaning's work include the synthesis of novel dental monomers with 's Dental Health Care Division ( ESPE) to developing antimicrobial coatings with 's Medical Division.

Dr. Alireza Asgari

Mentor
Dr. Asgari brings the discipline of advanced numerical modeling 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.

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.

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 working on adhesives for electronics bonding in 3M’s Industrial Adhesive and Tapes Division.

Dr. Döne Demirgöz

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

Patti Duncan

Judge
After working for ten years as a food chemist, Patti Duncan made the switch to education teaching middle school and high school science for twelve years.

Dr. Kevin Eberman

Mentor
Dr. Eberman creates higher energy materials for batteries that power smart-phones, tablets, and electric vehicles.

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.

Dr. Belma Erdogan-Haug

Mentor
Dr. Erdogan-Haug serves as a volunteer tutor for students in St. Paul, MN area high school and is actively involved in mentoring students through the 3M Science Training Encouragement Program.

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.

Dr. Benton Free

Mentor
As a part of his role with the Electronics and Energy Group Laboratory, Dr. Free has worked on a diverse set of technologies.

Dr. Patrick Hager

Mentor
Dr. Hager has been instrumental in the invention and development of several key technologies including Command brand adhesives, simultaneous film orientation, surface structure and functionalization.

John Henderson

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

Dr. James M. Jonza

Judge
For three decades, Dr. James M. Jonza has improved lives by pioneering technology advancements in films.

Libbey Kitten

Judge
Libbey Kitten's twenty-two year teaching career spans three states in both public and private school settings.

Dr. Suzanne Lacey

Judge
Under Dr. Lacey’s leadership, Talladega County Schools has implemented a comprehensive plan to increase student engagement and to integrate technology to support learning.

Dr. Delony Langer-Anderson

Mentor
I have an awesome job. I come to work and use my imagination, education, and experience to translate ideas into physical products that people can use every day in their homes and at work.

Margaux Mitera

Mentor
Collaboration is key to taking ideas further, and having the right tools can make all the difference.

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
Nuclear energy provides 20% of the USA’s power generation. Sam and his team work to keep nuclear reactors running safely, efficiently, and economically.

Jacqueline Samuel

Judge
As an educator, she has studied conservation efforts in Ireland, served as an fellow for the Teachers for Global Classrooms, and helped develop instructional strategies for teachers in Jakarta and Ogan Ilir, Indonesia.

Dr. Matt Scholz

Judge
Dr. Scholz is an inventor on over 110 issued United States patents and has facilitated numerous healthcare products through to commercialization.

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.

Mike Szydlowski

Judge
Mike Szydlowski works with 100 secondary science teachers and 400 elementary science teachers in developing engaging science curriculum, assessments, professional development, and opportunities that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Dr. Kris Thunhorst

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

Reed Timmer

Judge
As the lead meteorologist and professional storm chaser on Discovery Channel's award-winning series Storm Chasers, Reed is one of the world's most respected experts on severe weather forecasting, safety and survival.

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. Martin Wolk

Mentor
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Wolk has worked on the application of micro- and nano-scale patterning techniques to potential 3M products for printing, displays and graphics.

Timothy S. Wyrosdick

Judge
Tim has a breadth of experience in Curriculum and Instruction administration and before being elected Superintendent of Santa Rosa County Schools in 2008, he served as Assistant Principal and Principal at Navarre High School and had a focus on Curriculum and Instruction.

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.