Innovative Minds: Luka Nguyen

Challenger School-Silverado | 7th grade grade | 11 years old

NOMADS Nutrient Optimized Mangrove Drop Sheath for Aerial Reforestation

About the Idea

Mangroves are being threatened. They are essential to life. NOMADS Nutrient optimized Mangrove Drop sheath is an invention made to protect a red mangrove propagule during UAV aerial reforestation. They are made from molded pulp and shaped to embed in the mud and protect young mangrove plants dropped from drones during aerial reforestation.

Why did you enter the 3M Young Scientist Challenge?

This is truly a unique challenge unlike anything I have ever attempted. Hard work, diligence, failure, triumph, you get it all. It’s not a homework assignment. It something that I chose to do because of my passion for design and concept. I was lucky, I got to travel to Indonesia before COVID and see the natural beauty of mangrove forests, yet also saw that it was threatened. When I am older, will my children get to witness the beautiful coral reefs that have been threatened by Human ignorance? I can’t sit and do nothing. Also I really need help from the 3M folks to buff up my project.

What is your favorite invention of the last 100 years, and why?

So many to chose from, but I am partial to the 3D printer. What an amazing device that allows the mind to create nearly any creation that can be dreamed up. Once an object is designed, it can be shared with the world and scaled for personalization. This tool will replace all tools. Whether its complex shapes, propellers, ventilator extension devices during COVID, musical devices, surfboards, this is going to be my locker if I were to get a seat on the MARS expedition.

In 15 years I hope to be...

My goal is to be an educator. What a privilege it would be to go to work and enrich young minds with knowledge. I have always been drawn to STEM challenges but environmental challenges has been very fascinating to me. I am only 12, what kind of world will I be in 20 years from now. I feel I would have most impact in children and guide them in their pursuits of knowledge.

“Failure is necessary, and it only makes you stronger wiser. By the way, If you are going to set up experiments in plant sciences, plan at least a year ahead of time.”