Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2021 3M 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!

Nancy Addison

Judge
During the past three years, Nancy has assisted in the expansion of the STEM magnet programs in CMS through targeted professional development for staff and recommendations for quality STEM curriculum materials for students.

Dr. Mahfuza Ali

Judge
Dr. Ali is the inventor of several material technologies including specialty thermoplastic and pressure sensitive adhesive polymers, antistatic quaternary monomers and polymers, ink-receptive and paint blocking polymers and surface modification.

Sergio Anaya

Judge
With a strong background in History, Anthropology and Instructional Technology, Mr. Anaya provides support to curriculum development.

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. 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. Raha Been

Mentor
Dr. Been's work at 3M focuses on the development of advanced wound care technologies and products and holds a central role in 3M's future in regenerative medicine.

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
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.

Mary Brown

Mentor
With expertise in product development, commercialization, project management, and application engineering, Mary utilizes her skills to educate those around her on the technologies used in our favorite household products.

Dr. Mary Caruso Dailey

Judge
Dr. Caruso Dailey is currently working on adhesives for electronics bonding in 3M’s Industrial Adhesive and Tapes Division.

Tesha Alston Dampier

Mentor
Through effective problem solving and opportunity-mining, Tesha Alston Dampier has excelled in various roles—from biochemistry to engineering—over the past 14 years at 3M.

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.

Kathy Dong

Judge
Kathy Dong has served at the state level in the Arizona Education Association on the Instruction and Professional Development Committee.

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. Ann Fornof

Mentor
As an inventor with more than 25 granted patents, Dr. Ann Fornof brings practical knowledge of technology development to help 3M business divisions commercialize its innovative products.

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.

Sara Frisco

Mentor
Driven by her passion for disruptive technology platforms and innovation, Sara enjoys working on new product development, new technologies and intellectual property strategy.

Tina Powers Garrett

Judge
As a Prekindergarten through twelfth grade STEM Coordinator, Tina sets high goals for the district curriculum and for all educators while being a role model for students.

Amy Gensemer

Judge
Amy has 20 years of educational experience in Science, Technology, and Engineering in the classroom and now serves as the Senior Director for K-12 Digital Instruction at Discovery Education.

Anne Gold

Mentor
When it comes to developing products and business concepts, Anne is no stranger to complexity and ambiguity. Driven to create communities that foster success, Anne leads teams across functions and technologies to take ideas from concept to reality.

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.

Dr. Cordell Hardy

Mentor
While a project developer for 3M's Consumer and Office business, Dr. Hardy guided the development of various adhesives, tapes, and home cleaning products.

John Henderson

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

Dr. Pam Henson

Judge
Dr . Henson is a former science teacher and has developed numerous programs for students in Baldwin County and in the State of Alabama.

Dr. James Jonza

Mentor
Dr. Jonza is an inventor on over 45 patents, with more than 15 pending, and has authored 11 publications.

Dr. James M. Jonza

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

Dr. Alireza Kashef-Asgari

Judge
Dr. Kashef-Asgari leads the development of innovative respiratory products, that protect the health and safety of millions of workers, all over the world.

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.

Dr. Jesse Miller

Mentor
Before joining 3M, Dr. Miller was a marine biologist with the University of Mississippi, focusing on coral reef disease research.

Margaux Mitera

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

Rodney Moore

Judge
As Science Learning Specialist, Rodney Moore plays a key role in STEM expansion in his district which includes collaboration between local organizations, businesses, colleges and the community around STEM education.

Dr. Cristin Moran

Mentor
As a 3M scientist, Dr. Moran identifies new market opportunities and develops new consumer product platforms by combining technologies with consumer needs to create unique solutions.

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.

Michael O'Toole

Judge
O’Toole has been immersed in education and coaching for more than two decades.

Michael O'Toole

Judge
As the Coordinator of Science Curriculum for St. Vrain Valley Schools, Michael O’Toole is interested in promoting STEM Education and the use of technology in the classroom.

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.

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.

Godfrey Rangasammy

Judge
Godfrey has designed, implemented and coordinated and facilitated numerous professional development sessions, as well as professional learning communities, focused on best practices for improving 21st Century teaching and learning within STEM education.

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. Vasav Sahni

Mentor
Vasav identifies disruptive ideas that lead to new adhesive technologies and products.

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. Kannan Seshadri

Mentor
Kannan is a serial inventor-innovator who thrives on translating new ideas and consumer insights to commercialization. His expertise in materials science and manufacturing brings a proven track record in product commercialization, new-to-world technology, and manufacturing process development.

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.

Jonah Shaver

Mentor
“Protecting the sensors of an autonomous vehicle is like protecting one’s eyesight,” just ask Jonah Shaver, Ph.D. and product development specialist at 3M.

LeAnn Simmerman

Judge
As an educator, LeAnn serves students and educators in grades K-12.  LeAnn is Co-President of the Tennessee Association for the Gifted, an affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children.

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.

Tonya Woolfolk

Judge
Tonya Woolfolk is a passionate science educator with many exploratory experiences that began in elementary school, which nurtured her passion for science.

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.

Dr. Patrick Zimmerman

Mentor
Patrick brings a unique expertise and background that spans across automotive, adhesives, aerospace, and beyond. He has a wealth of knowledge and leadership skills and is known as a mentor to those he works with.