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 3M and Discovery Education announced Abhinav Anne, from Indian Prairie Community Unit School in Naperville, IL, as one of ten finalists of the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The competition recognizes students in grades 5-8, who use scientific thinking to create an innovation that will improve lives both in their local communities, and globally.  

Abhinav will compete against nine other finalists for a grand prize of $25,000 and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”   

Abhinav developed a way to extend the safety and shelf-life of blood products. Earlier this year, students like Abhinav submitted short video entries online that demonstrated their creativity and passion for science.  

Throughout a summer mentorship program, Abhinav will partner with a 3M scientist to turn his concept into a reality. On October 18-19, Abhinav and the other finalists will compete during a final event.  

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge asks students in grades 5-8 to identify an everyday problem in their community or the world and submit their ideas for a solution in the form of a one- to two-minute video explaining the science behind their solution. An esteemed and diverse group of judges evaluates entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and communication effectiveness. The competition event will take place from October 18-19, 2021, at the 3M Innovation Center in Minneapolis.  

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge demonstrates the transformative power of young minds to address global challenges by combining their unique and diverse perspectives on innovation, creativity, and a passion for a better world,” saidDenise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer, 3M. “The 2021 finalists, honorable mention recipients, and state merit winners prove the efficacy of STEM thinking. We are proud of this year’s competitors and remain committed to building greater STEM-equity that unlocks the power of people, ideas and science and imagines what’s possible.” 

The top 10 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists include students from public and private schools across the U.S. Each finalist will receive $1,000, along with a virtual mentorship with a 3M scientist. All 10 finalists will be evaluated on a series of challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation. Each challenge will be scored independently by a panel of judges. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000, a unique destination trip, and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist. 

The top 10 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists are as follows in alphabetical order by last name: 

·       Abhinav Anne, Naperville, Ill., Clifford Crone Middle School, Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204 

·       Samarth Mahapatra, Marietta, Ga., Dodgen Middle School, Cobb County High School Area 1 

·       Snigtha Mohanraj, West Haven, Conn., Engineering and Science University Magnet School, New Haven Public School District 

·       Veda Murthy, Herndon, Va., Rachel Carson Middle School, Fairfax County Public School District 

·       Viraj Pandey, San Jose, Calif., Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose Unified School District 

·       Sarah Park, Jacksonville, Fla., Bolles School-Bartram, Private 

·       Moitri Santra, Oviedo, Fla., Jackson Heights Middle School, Seminole County Public School District 

·       Danielle Steinbach, San Jose, Calif., Harker Middle School, Private 

·       Aadrit Talukdar, San Jose, Calif., Basis Independent Silicon Valley, Private 

·       Sydney  Zhang, San Diego, Calif., Mesa Verde Middle School, Poway Unified School District 

Additionally, there are 30 State Merit Winners, selected for their passion, innovation, and superb communication skills. Each State Merit Winner receives special recognition on the challenge website, along with a technology prize pack.  

The 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge State Merit Winners are listed below in alphabetical order by state: 

[Alabama] Sophia Al-Halaseh, Fort Payne Middle School, Fort Payne City School District 

[Arizona] Prisha Shroff, Accelerated Middle School, Chandler Unified School District 

[California] Connor Chin, Ocean Grove Charter School, Private 

[Connecticut] Xander Shavers, Beecher Road School, Woodbridge School District 

[Florida] Noah  Richardson, Oakstead Elementary School, Pasco County School District 

[Georgia] Christina Jordan, Centennial Academy, Atlanta Public School District 

[Iowa] Kalyani Bhat, Prairie Ridge Middle School, Ankeny Community School District 

[Illinois] Aarushi Tiwari, Aptakisic Junior High School, Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 

[Indiana] Rohan Bhosale, Carmel Middle School, Carmel Clay School District 

[Kentucky] Karthika Hariprasad, Jessie M Clark Middle School, Fayette County Public School District 

[Louisiana] Maya Trutschl, Caddo Middle Magnet School, Caddo Parish Public School District 

[Massachusetts] Amy Sun, Raymond J Grey Jr High School, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District 

[Maryland] Annika Balaji, Takoma Park Middle School, Montgomery County School District 

[Michigan] Shreyas Ikare, Novi Meadows Elementary School, Novi Community School District 

[Minnesota] Nithila Meganathan, Prairie View Elementary School, Eden Prairie Independent School District 272 

[North Carolina] Prithu Kolar, Davis Drive Middle School, Wake County Public School Northwestern District  

[Nebraska] Anuj Singh, Peter Kiewit Middle School, Millard Public School District 

[New Hampshire] Nikhil Shokeen, Elm Street Middle School, Nashua School District 

[New Jersey] Raunak Singh, Memorial Middle School, Fair Lawn School District 

[Nevada] Vera van der Linden, Sage Ridge School, Private 

[New York] Matthew James, Clear Stream Avenue Elem School, Valley Stream 30 Union Free School District 

[Ohio] Kaavya Tatavarty, Seven Hills School, Private 

[Oregon] Vihaan Paliwal, Carden Cascade Academy, Private 

[Pennsylvania] Alexander Wang, Germantown Academy, Private 

[South Dakota] Malya Chakravarty, George S Mickelson Middle School, Brookings School District 5-1 

[Tennessee] Nipun Rajan, Houston Middle School, Germantown Municipal School District 

[Texas] Arya Catna, Coppell Middle School West, Coppell Independent School District 

[Virginia] Kriesh Tivare, Cooper Middle School, Fairfax County Public School District 

[Washington] Alexander Lui, Odle Middle School, Bellevue School District 405 

[West Virginia] Dhruvika Soltani, Suncrest Middle School, Private 

For the first time in competition history, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge will also recognize entrants with an honorable mention award. These projects were selected for their unique and innovative concepts and effective communication skills. The four 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge honorable mention recipients are as follows in alphabetical order by last name: 

·       Srinija Chukkapali, Tampa, Fla., Richard F Pride Elementary School, Hillsborough County School District – Area 8 

·       Varini Kadakia, San Jose, Calif., Chaboya Middle School, Evergreen School District 

·       Anika Pallapothu, San Jose, Calif., Harker Middle School, Private 

·       Ella Reeves, Petersham, Mass., Petersham Center School, Petersham Center School District 

“Empowering young minds to solve the world’s challenges through STEM is what the Young Scientist Challenge is all about,” said Lori McFarling, president of corporate partnerships and social impact at Discovery Education. “We celebrate each of the finalists and honorable mention recipients and look forward to the final event at 3M’s global headquarters October 19th.” 

To learn more about the 3M Young Scientist Challenge and meet this year’s finalists, visit