Shanza - The Start of a New Chapter

Hi everyone! I’m Shanza Sami from Iowa City, Iowa - today, I’m excited to share my thoughts on the start of this new chapter. 

My inspiration behind entering the challenge was that air pollution is one of the biggest and most prevalent issues highlighted to this day, and it was clear seeing this whenever my family and I would go traveling. The 3M Young Scientist Challenge was the optimal platform to create a groundbreaking innovation, consult with a 3M expert, and get the opportunity to learn more as a scientist - growing up watching innovators like Kara Fan, Anika Chebrolu, Sarah Park, and a multitude of other 3M Young Scientists use their revolutionary innovations to make a positive impact on the world. 

Inspired to enter my research and designs, I decided to create an entry video. This process was unlike any other and somewhat challenging - I had to compile months of research into one video, utilizing important skills like effective communication, persuasiveness, presenting detailed information, and creating aesthetically pleasing content. After perfecting every aspect of my video, I decided to submit my project. As the weeks passed, I became increasingly eager and excited to find out the results. It became a ritual for me to check my email and the Young Scientist Lab website every night. And finally, the results came out! The moment was exhilarating - I was ecstatic and emotional finding out the big news that I was selected as a 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalist. My family, teachers, and friends have been so kind, supportive, and encouraging. What was most rewarding was learning about the fact that my innovation could make a greater impact on the world, as I will be able to connect with my 3M mentor, Dr. Zimmerman, build a physical prototype using the wide selection of 3M products, and inspire many future young scientists to dream big and work hard. 

If I win the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, I plan to expand my prototype for a variety of other applications to combat ambient air pollution and mitigate climate change. I hope to continue making my innovation accessible to every single person around the world. I would also donate to the American Lung Association, the Coalition for Clean Air, the Global Action Plan, and other charities and organizations that work everyday towards improving the environment, our state of climate change, and public health. I would also provide a platform to encourage young scientists to take part in STEM, challenge themselves, and continue thinking big - through opportunities like the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. 

I am so excited for the start of this new chapter, and can’t wait to see what the future holds! This is Shanza Sami, signing off from Iowa City, Iowa.