Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2019 3M Young Scientist Challenge Finalists and State Merit Winners have been announced! Use the tabs below to check out their big ideas and explore all finalists, winners, mentors and judges!

Dr. Mahfuza Ali

Mentor
Dr. Ali has developed a number of technologies including specialty thermoplastic and PSA polymers, quaternary monomers/polymers, ink-receptive polymers and surface modification.

Tesha Alston

Mentor
Through effective problem solving and opportunity-mining, Tesha Alston has excelled in various roles—from biochemistry to engineering—over the past 14 years at 3M.

Dr. Maria Appeaning

Mentor
Examples of Dr. Appeaning's work include the synthesis of novel dental monomers with 's Dental Health Care Division ( ESPE) to developing antimicrobial coatings with 's Medical Division.

Dr. Alireza Asgari

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

Dr. Olester Benson

Mentor
Since joining in 1988, Benson has spent the majority of his career leading research efforts to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing process technologies using high-energy radiation.

Kandyce Bohannon

Mentor
Data and analytics are Kandyce Bohannon’s passion. This, she says, feeds her fascination for technology and helps her gain a greater understanding of human behavior.

Brian Butler

Judge
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! Prior to education, Mr. Butler is proud to have served as a meteorologist in the United States Air Force with duty stations in Arizona and Mississippi before ending up in Georgia where he has lived since 2003.

Dr. Döne Demirgöz

Mentor
Dr. Döne Demirgöz’s passion for science and engineering expands into many scientific areas at 3M. And when Dr. Demirgöz is not solving problems on the job, she’s inspiring and encouraging the next generation of young scientists through mentorship programs.

Patti Duncan

Judge
After working for ten years as a food chemist, Patti Duncan made the switch to education teaching middle school and high school science for twelve years.

Dr. Kevin Eberman

Mentor
Dr. Eberman creates higher energy materials for batteries that power smart-phones, tablets, and electric vehicles.

Jeffrey Emslander

Mentor
From graphic films for vehicles and reflective materials on traffic signs to more energy-efficient construction materials, Jeffrey Emslander is helping to create a greener planet.

Dr. Belma Erdogan-Haug

Mentor
Dr. Erdogan-Haug serves as a volunteer tutor for students in St. Paul, MN area high school and is actively involved in mentoring students through the 3M Science Training Encouragement Program.

Milagros Fornell

Judge
Milagros Fornell's numerous awards include, but are not limited to: 1984 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, 1998 South Florida Phi Beta Kappa Superior High School Principal, and 2001 Region VI Principal of the Year.

Dr. Ann Fornof

Mentor
Having filed for more than 25 patents, Dr. Ann Fornof brings practical knowledge of technology development to help 3M business divisions commercialize its innovative products.

Dr. Benton Free

Mentor
As a part of his role with the Electronics and Energy Group Laboratory, Dr. Free has worked on a diverse set of technologies.

Dr. Patrick Hager

Mentor
Dr. Hager has been instrumental in the invention and development of several key technologies including Command brand adhesives, simultaneous film orientation, surface structure and functionalization.

Sara Hemmer

Mentor
Driven by her passion for disruptive technology platforms and innovation, Sara enjoys working on new product development, new technologies and intellectual property strategy.

Dr. James M. Jonza

Judge
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.

Libbey Kitten

Judge
Libbey Kitten's twenty-two year teaching career spans three states in both public and private school settings.

Dr. Delony Lager-Anderson

Judge
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.

Dr. Delony Langer-Anderson

Mentor
I have an awesome job. I come to work and use my imagination, education, and experience to translate ideas into physical products that people can use every day in their homes and at work.

Dr. Cindy Moss

Judge
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.

Dr. Cindy Moss

Judge
As senior director of global STEM initiatives for Discovery Education, Dr.Moss designs, develops and implements initiatives to inspire students’ curiosity in STEM.

Christine Tucci Osorio

Judge
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. She has also recently served as the President of the Mid-American Association of School Superintendents, and currently co-chairs a Minnesota State Task Force on School Finance. She is deeply passionate about high school reform and is committed to lifting up the voices and leadership of young people as shared decision makers.

Dr. Joe Oxman

Mentor
With 81 issued patents and more than 20 pending, Oxman played a key role in revolutionizing the dental industry by helping to create tooth colored restorative filling materials to replace conventional metal fillings.

Sam Reiss

Mentor
3D printing is an exciting technological development that is helping change the way we live our lives. It’s even more exciting when you’re printing one of the most robust polymers humans have ever discovered.

Dr. Vasav Sahni

Mentor
Vasav identifies disruptive ideas that lead to new adhesive technologies and products.

Dr. Matt Scholz

Judge
Dr. Scholz is an inventor on over 110 issued United States patents and has facilitated numerous healthcare products through to commercialization.

Reed Timmer

Judge
As the lead meteorologist and professional storm chaser on Discovery Channel's award-winning series Storm Chasers, Reed is one of the world's most respected experts on severe weather forecasting, safety and survival.

Dr. Martin Wolk

Mentor
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Wolk has worked on the application of micro- and nano-scale patterning techniques to potential 3M products for printing, displays and graphics.

Dr. Caroline Ylitalo

Mentor
Dr. Ylitalo has focused her career on developing new technologies that can be used across many businesses and has over 30 issued patents.