Finalists, Mentors and Judges

The 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalists and State Merit Winners have been announced!

Today’s Innovators

Get to know the diverse personalities of students, 3M Mentors, and others who have contributed their unique talents to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Use the tabs below to explore exciting ideas and inspirations from previous years’ challenges.

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WinnersFinalistsState Merit WinnersHonorable MentionImproving LivesMentorsJudges

Amy Gensemer

Senior Director, K12 Digital Instruction

Amy has 20 years of educational experience in Science, Technology, and Engineering in the classroom and now serves as the Senior Director for K-12 Digital Instruction at Discovery Education.

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Dr. Caroline Ylitalo

Division Scientist

Dr. Caroline Ylitalo is a Division Scientist in the Personal Safety division Lab at 3M Company.

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Dr. Mahfuza Ali

3M Corporate Scientist

Dr. Ali is the inventor of several material technologies including specialty thermoplastic and pressure sensitive adhesive polymers, antistatic quaternary monomers and polymers, ink-receptive and paint blocking polymers and surface modification.

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Dr. Mary Caruso Dailey

3M Product Development Specialist

Dr. Caruso Dailey is currently working on adhesives for electronics bonding in 3M’s Industrial Adhesive and Tapes Division.

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Dr Gilles Benoit

Lead AI & Machine Learning Specialist

Dr. Gilles Benoit has been at 3M for 17 years and is currently a lead AI & Machine Learning Specialist in the Transportation & Electronics Business Group.

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Michael O’Toole

Coordinator of Science Curriculum

As the Coordinator of Science Curriculum for St. Vrain Valley Schools, Michael O’Toole is interested in promoting STEM Education and the use of technology in the classroom.

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Dr. Alireza Kashef-Asgari

3M Global New Product R&D Manager, Powered & Supplied Air Respiratory Lab

Dr. Kashef-Asgari leads the development of innovative respiratory products, that protect the health and safety of millions of workers, all over the world.

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LeAnn Simmerman

Teacher and STEM Coach

As an educator, LeAnn serves students and educators in grades K-12. LeAnn is Co-President of the Tennessee Association for the Gifted, an affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children.

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Tonya Woolfolk

Coordinator of Science, K-5

Tonya Woolfolk is a passionate science educator with many exploratory experiences that began in elementary school, which nurtured her passion for science.

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Dr. Satish Jagnandan

Administrator of Math and Science

Dr. Satish Jagnandan is currently the Administrator of Math and Science (K-12) at MountVernon City School District.

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Dr. Cindy Moss

Vice President of STEM Initiatives

Dr. Moss holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, master’s degree in science from Syracuse University and doctorate in science curriculum and instruction from the Curtin Institute of Technology in Perth, Western Australia.

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Dr. James M. Jonza

3M Scientist

James completed his undergraduate studies in environmental and polymer chemistry at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry and received his Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts.

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Dr. Delony Lager-Anderson

New Product Development Specialist

Dr. Langer-Anderson invents products for the healthcare industry, using science and imagination to make products more comfortable, durable or easy to use, helping people feel better every day.

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Brian Butler

National Science Teaching Association District Director

Originally from Virginia, Brian holds a specialist degree as well as an MAT degree from Georgia College and a B.S. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma where his love for science was enhanced by the ability to chase tornadoes!

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Christine Tucci Osorio


Christine serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Metro Area School Districts (AMSD) and serves as a board member for the Search Institute. She is dedicated to sharing leadership experiences with others and has worked with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to mentor and coach fellow school superintendents in Puerto Rico.

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Arny Leslie

STEM Educator

Since 1996 Arny has taught in the Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Washington. He spent thirteen years at Redmond Junior High teaching ninth grade science, punctuated by three years out of the classroom as a full-time new teacher mentor.

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Casey Rimmer, M.Ed.

Innovation & EdTech Coordinator

Casey is an experienced Technology Facilitator with a history of working in the education management industry with experience in E-Learning, K-12 Education, Classroom Management, Lesson Planning, and Educational Technology. She received her Masters Degree focused in Curriculum and Instruction, Technology Leadership from Concordia University, Portland.

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Dr. Joe Oxman

3M Corporate Scientist

Currently a corporate scientist with 3M’s Oral Care Division, Dr. Oxman has worked at 3M for 34 years and has 99 issued patents.

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Dr. Brian Barnhart


Dr. Barnhart is in his sixteenth year as Superintendent of Western Springs School District #101 in Western Springs, IL, a 1500 student, pre-K through Grade 8 district in the near-west suburbs of Chicago.

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Dr. Andrea Washington

Chief Instructional Officer

Dr. Andrea "DeeDee" Washington is a veteran educator who has served for more than 27 years in multiple roles including curriculum facilitator, principal, personnel director, associate superintendent, and classroom teacher.

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Dr. Candace Singh


As an educator in San Diego County for close to 30 years, Dr. Singh is well-known and respected for her work as a turnaround principal and superintendent.

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Dr. Holly Sullivan

Director of Science and Health

Following an 18 year teaching career, Dr. Sullivan now serves as the Coordinator of Science, Health and Physical Education for Lexington County School District One in Lexington, SC.

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Dr. Olester Benson, Jr.

Corporate Scientist

Dr. Benson is currently a Corporate Scientist in the 3M Corporate Research Process Laboratory and is a graduate of the University of Colorado.

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Dr. Suzanne Lacey


Under Dr. Lacey’s leadership, Talladega County Schools has implemented a comprehensive plan to increase student engagement and to integrate technology to support learning.

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