SANJANA - NARROWING AND SELECTING A PROJECT IDEA

Ever since Discovery Education and 3M announced that I was a finalist, I have come up with possible problems we face that I could solve as my final project. I narrowed the list down to three problems, by choosing the ones I was most interested in solving. I also took into consideration the time I had and the scope of impact of my solution. I eliminated the ones that addressed only a limited amount of the population. I eliminated the ones that did not have a large economical impact as well.

From Time magazine, I got a list of current problems that I could solve. I read newspapers and asked people in my neighborhood what they felt was the most pressing issue. I created a list of eight problems, which ranged from political to social to economic issues, and started narrowing down my ideas. My passion for programming, technology, and science helped me to narrow down the list.

The way I began to narrow down my ideas was by generating a spreadsheet that consisted of the problem, the number of people it affected, and the economic impact/value. From there, I chose the problem that affected largest population count, whose solution would have the greatest economic benefit.  But this was not enough. I then mapped my solution, which I had in mind, to various sections of Experimental Design that I had learned in Science Olympiad. These areas were hypothesis, materials, procedure, data table, graphs, statistics, analysis and interpretation of data, and conclusion. I am using these steps in order to make sure, that I will be able to complete my solution end to end.

I discussed with my mentor, and we both came to the conclusion that the problem I chose is a major issue that impacts a vast majority of the population and is the best option to solve for my final project.

As I was researching, I thought about what motivates 3M scientists to solve problems. I believe that the motivation to solve problems comes from the impact of both, the problem and the solution, on the community. I think 3M scientists get motivated by seeing their solution making a sizable difference, and in the process, seeing others getting inspired/encouraged to solve more problems.