2017 Young Scientist Challenge Finalist
Kathryn is currently a sophomore at Columbia University pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Applied Physics.
What have you been up to since participating in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge?
Since I was a finalist in 2017, I’ve graduated from high school and moved from my hometown in Colorado to New York for college. Even though my challenge entry was focused on sustainable engineering and robotics, I’ve continued to develop other interests in aerospace engineering and astrophysics, which I pursue here at school. Outside of my studies, I’ve also spent the past two summers as a space intern, and I plan to study abroad in Madrid this coming spring semester.
What are your plans for the future?
Following the completion of my bachelor's degree, I hope to attend graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in an aerospace or astrophysics related field. What happens after that remains to be seen!
What is your favorite innovation of the last 100 years, and why?
My favorite innovation of the last 100 years is the atomic clock—a timekeeping device that relies on electron energy states in atoms to tell time with extraordinary accuracy. It’s been fundamental to many major technological advancements since its creation in 1948, including GPS and cell phones. It has also contributed heavily to developments in aerospace and discoveries in physics, and establishes the global standard for timekeeping.
Describe your relationship with your 3M Mentor.
Working with Dr. Daily was easily one of the highlights of my 3M Young Scientist Challenge experience—the knowledge and experience she shared was invaluable, and she helped me not only develop my innovation, but develop my skills in regard to the engineering design process as well.
What advice do you have for a student who is considering entering the 3M Young Scientist Challenge? How would you say the 3M Young Scientist Challenge has impacted your life?
My best advice is to just go for it! I almost didn’t submit my entry video because I felt like there were still too many flaws in my design to present it to the judges. Remember that science and engineering are iterative processes, and it’s okay if your work isn’t perfect! I’m so glad I did decide to hit that submit button, because the 3M Young Scientist Challenge turned out to be a perfect opportunity to develop not only my technical skills, but also to develop confidence in my STEM abilities, encouraging me to continue to pursue even the loftiest of my goals. If you’re considering it, give it a shot after all, you never know what might happen!
“I’m so glad I did decide to hit that submit button, because the 3M Young Scientist Challenge turned out to be a perfect opportunity to develop not only my technical skills, but also to develop confidence in my STEM abilities, encouraging me to continue to pursue even the loftiest of my goals.”