Annual Challenge

Challenge Participants

The 2021 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

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

Julian Barnes

Judge
Mr. Barnes has served on many state committees in the review and refinement of content standards and various state science organizations, and is the current Vice President of Virginia Association of Science Teachers.

Dr. Raha Been

Mentor
Dr. Been's work at 3M focuses on the development of advanced wound care technologies and products and holds a central role in 3M's future in regenerative medicine.

Mary Brown

Mentor
With expertise in product development, commercialization, project management, and application engineering, Mary utilizes her skills to educate those around her on the technologies used in our favorite household products.

Dr. Mary Caruso Dailey

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

Tesha Alston Dampier

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

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.

Dr. Kevin Eberman

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

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.

Dr. Ann Fornof

Mentor
As an inventor with more than 25 granted 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.

Sara Frisco

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

Amy Gensemer

Judge
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.

Anne Gold

Mentor
When it comes to developing products and business concepts, Anne is no stranger to complexity and ambiguity. Driven to create communities that foster success, Anne leads teams across functions and technologies to take ideas from concept to reality.

Dr. Cordell Hardy

Mentor
While a project developer for 3M's Consumer and Office business, Dr. Hardy guided the development of various adhesives, tapes, and home cleaning products.

Jonathan Harper

Judge
In his career with Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mr. Harper has taught high school science including Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Bench Science, and AP Biology.

Dr. James Jonza

Mentor
Dr. Jonza is an inventor on over 45 patents, with more than 15 pending, and has authored 11 publications.

Dr. Alireza Kashef-Asgari

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

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.

Kellie Lauth

Judge
Ms. Lauth opened one of the first K-8 STEM schools in the nation in 2011, serving public school children with no entrance requirement.

Dr. Cristin Moran

Mentor
As a 3M scientist, Dr. Moran identifies new market opportunities and develops new consumer product platforms by combining technologies with consumer needs to create unique solutions.

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.

Michael O'Toole

Judge
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.

Dr. Joe Oxman

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

Dr. Vasav Sahni

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

Dr. Kannan Seshadri

Mentor
Kannan is a serial inventor-innovator who thrives on translating new ideas and consumer insights to commercialization. His expertise in materials science and manufacturing brings a proven track record in product commercialization, new-to-world technology, and manufacturing process development.

Jonah Shaver

Mentor
“Protecting the sensors of an autonomous vehicle is like protecting one’s eyesight,” just ask Jonah Shaver, Ph.D. and product development specialist at 3M.

LeAnn Simmerman

Judge
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.

Dr. Kris Thunhorst

Mentor
Dr. Thunhorst collaborates closely between the Industrial Business Group Research and Development Laboratory to scout and research new technologies

Sherry Ulery

Judge
A former Reading/English Language Arts teacher who has taught grades 7 - 12, Ms. Ulery has also served in DC Public Schools and Cleveland Municipal School District.

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.

Tonya Woolfolk

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

Dr. Patrick Zimmerman

Mentor
Patrick brings a unique expertise and background that spans across automotive, adhesives, aerospace, and beyond. He has a wealth of knowledge and leadership skills and is known as a mentor to those he works with.