Iris - Before the challenge

           Hello all, I’m Iris Gupta. I am extremely excited to be a Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalist!
           Last year I came across an interview with the 2012 YSC Grand Prize Winner Deepika Kurup on FOX news. I continued watching the story and read about this competition where you could submit innovation ideas. I always used to have so many ideas for so many problems, and had always wondered how I could solve it, and this competition seemed like the perfect opportunity to showcase my ideas for these problems. So, I got encouraged and signed up for alerts. When I entered this contest, I wanted to showcase the project I had been developing for months. The inspiration for the project had come unexpectedly. Last summer, I was at my friend’s house, when suddenly, her mom noticed that my eyes were swollen, and my face was completely red. I realized I had an allergic reaction to her cat. Unexpectedly, this was inspiration for my innovation. I would come up with an idea to stop allergies at its source!
           I was very nervous while making my entry video, and it certainly took countless tries to make it. One time, during my video, my sister had sneezed very loudly, and I had to re-record. On another try, the wind blew away my poster board. This was before I noticed my phone was out of storage! Plus, after I had shot the video, I realized it was more than 2 minutes, so I had to edit and crop footage out of the video.
           After submitting my entry video, it was a long wait until I would know whether my video was selected. I repetitively questioned my choices for the video, and my innovation, and kept on going over my idea over in my head again and again all the other ideas I was contemplating of submitting. I even watched the video I submitted several times to see if I had missed any details. However, there was nothing I could do and I knew I just had to wait to see whether it was accepted or not. As the exact date of the announcement was not known, I was full of anticipation, along with the rest of my family, waiting.
           When I received the call from YSC, I was thrilled, and when the news came out, my relatives from India were even congratulating me! If I won the first prize, I might see if I can get an opportunity to work with a scientist in a laboratory in future. However, due to age restriction, I cannot work in a laboratory for next 2-3 years, but when I become of age, I will try to work in one. Also, if I won, I would ask my family to treat me to a vacation to Hawaii.
           I thank my family for all the helpful support!