Hi! my name is Sanjana, and I am super excited to write about my first day experience preparing for the summer long project and to be mentored by Dr. Dailey. First of all, I would like to thank Discovery Education and 3M for considering my idea and allowing me to work with proper guidance from a renowned scientist. I am truly honored by it. About two months ago, after winning awards at Science Olympiad competitions, my 8th grade Science teacher suggested that I submit my new idea to Young Scientist Challenge. This really boosted my inclination to invent and work on science projects.

I always felt interested in solving real world issues, the ones that we face ourselves, see others troubled by, and often read in newspapers the damage they have done to people, society, and the environment. For this competition, the toughest part of making the video was to squeeze my entire idea, prototype, detailed research, and explanation in the allowed two minutes maximum window. I carefully divided what I wanted to convey in several buckets of few seconds and then prioritized each one. The process of making the video was not too difficult, as my parents helped me holding the camera and made sure the background noise (from cars, birds etc.) remained low. I used iMovie, a blessing for me, as it made the entire process of editing the clips quite simpler. I could re-record just the audio and superimpose upon video. My original video went for three minutes long, which I had to trim.

My joy knew no bounds when I got a surprise call from Discovery Education and 3M, telling me that my video and idea has been selected for the YSC finals. One could not imagine how delighted I was when I was told that I would be able to visit the 3M headquarters and be paired with a research scientist. Honestly, after I had submitted the video, I always had doubts on what if judges wanted to me to explain more, but I was hand tied to two minutes maximum duration. Did I edit it right? Did I trim the video at the correct points? I was confident that my idea had real value. It was just the part of conveying everything through a short video that made me anxious about the results.

If I win the YSC challenge, I would really like to use the new contacts, publicity, and the money to not only implement my idea and take it to the city council, but also to form a research group of students who can contribute and enhance the project going forward. When I told my family, they could not believe what I had achieved and told me that America is all about opportunity and they saw it first hand. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.” I am here to solve a problem, a real serious one, and I will do it!