Veda - Excited to start the journey!

Hello! My name is Veda Murthy, and I am a rising 8th grader at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, Virginia. I am really excited to be a part of the 3M Young Scientists Challenge family! 

Ever since I was little, I competed in the First Lego League as well as other school science fairs. Involving myself in these competitions really sparked my interest in using STEM as a tool to solve the world’s problems. I realized that I could create an innovative solution to relevant problems that are impacting our environment and community. For the past couple of years, I have also been involved in eCyber Army STEM competitions through which I have investigated environmental problems that are affecting our community.

What really sparked my interest in exploring health-related problems is my own condition of asthma. I realized as a young child how debilitating it was to go to the hospitals and undergo treatment. This pushed me to explore health-related issues that children are going through and come up with a possible solution. Due to COVID, this year we had to suddenly adapt to an online environment. There were a series of discussions between our county school board, educators, and parents on how to adapt to the online environment. Many concerned parents and students were bringing up questions on how children with special needs were going to adapt to this new and sudden change. Along with this, I found many articles on how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were coping with the online environment. As a concerned parent who has a child on the ASD spectrum said, “I have a son who's in the enhanced autism classroom and he has not been able to successfully access any schooling virtually. He gets quite frustrated in front of the screen." 

The powerful experience of this parent, as well as hundreds of other parents, inspired me to dive deep into this issue. I found that there was a large communication gap between ASD children and caregivers/teachers, especially in an online learning environment. There was no existing solution that could do this effectively. Thus, I set out to create a solution myself.

When I heard about the 3M Young Scientist’s Challenge, I realized that it was the perfect platform to make my solution a reality. Through the mentorship program over the summer, the different 3M tools that I could utilize for my project, and meeting other 3M scientists who can help me in expanding my solution. It will be the perfect opportunity to help grow my idea to bridge this communication gap, and help millions of children with ASD around the world. 

Making my entry video was a bit nerve racking and also exciting, as it was my chance to finally tell the world about my project. It was difficult to fit all my research from the past 6 months into a 2-minute-long video, so I had to create a succinct and compelling message about my product. It was rewarding to finally show my work to the scientific community to receive feedback on my project! 

I was admittedly nervous while waiting to hear if I was a finalist for the competition, since I had worked hard on my entire project and I wanted it to become a reality to help many ASD children. When I received the call that I was one of the top 10 young scientists, I was beyond thrilled! 

If I get picked as America’s Top Young Scientist, I would invest the money to make my solution into a reality and make it into a feasible product that can be used by the community!

Thank you so much for reading my first blog post!

 

~ Veda Murthy