Discovery Education and 3M Announce Finalists in Premier National Science Competition

(Silver Spring, Md.) — The search for the nation's Top Young Scientist and Top Science Teacher narrowed today as Discovery Education and 3M announced the names of ten middle school students and five science teachers selected as finalists in the 2008 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (YSC).

The ten student finalists will compete in the nation's Capital from October 4 to 6, 2008 for the chance to win a $50,000 U.S. Savings Bond ($25,000 cash value) as well as the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year." NASA will host the competition finals at its world-renowned Goddard Space Flight Center, located near Washington, D.C., where students will demonstrate their science prowess in a series of team-based, interactive challenges focused on this year's theme, "The Science of Space." Meanwhile, the teachers will contend for a specially selected set of prizes and recognition as "America's Top Science Teacher of the Year."

Discovery Education and 3M are proud to announce the following top student and teacher finalists (in alphabetical order):

Student Finalists:

  • Avni Bavishi from Hoffman Estates, IL
  • James Kruse from Brighton, MN
  • Margaret Botros from Wichita, KS 
  • Peter Ku from Princeton Junction, NJ
  • Shyamal Bush from Folsom, CA 
  • Mathew McGuthry from Richmond Hill, GA
  • Megan Gleason from Tucson, AZ 
  • Melissa Rey from Chesterfield, MO
  • Michael Koehler from Allison Park, PA 
  • Jack Uesugi from Wahiawa, HI

Teacher Finalists:

  • Edward Evans from Welch, WV
  • Lania Ho from Melbourne, FL
  • Paul Kuhlman from Avon, SD
  • Steve Latshaw from Westlake Village, CA
  • Philip Pack from Kingston, PA

"The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is an important part of our company's commitment to science education and the belief that the next generation be able to effectively communicate complex ideas and solutions," said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. "These 10 finalists are the future science leaders in America and Discovery is so proud to be associated with so much passion, dedication and intellect that will ultimately keep the United States competitive in these critical fields."

Robert MacDonald, President, 3M Foundation, added, "Science is at the very heart of 3M, driving the pulse of innovation throughout our company on a global basis. We have a responsibility to foster interest and development in the innovators of our future, and our partnership with Discovery provides the ideal platform for students and teachers to demonstrate just how exciting the journey of learning can be."

The 2008 Competition

In its 10th year, the YSC introduced a new entry mechanism for students, challenging their ability to innovatively use everyday technology to communicate basic scientific concepts. From camcorders to cell phones, YSC competitors chose any technology available to create two-minute videos demonstrating their understanding of scientific concepts surrounding "The Science of Space" theme, including the Doppler Effect, a Parabola, Why Earth's Sky Appears Blue, Orbital Paths, Magnetic Fields, the Bernoulli Principle and the Venturi Effect. Entries were evaluated on students' ability to understand and effectively communicate the meaning of their chosen concept, not on the sophistication of their video production. The competition was open to all middle schoolers across the country.

This year, Discovery Education and 3M added a teacher component to the competition which follows the same premise as the student challenge. With the goal of finding the nation's top science teacher, the YSC challenged teachers to make their own videos explaining space-related concepts, including Newton's Laws of Motion, Acceleration, Aeronautics, Centrifugal and Centripetal Force, and Scope and Scale.

For more information on all the finalists, please visit:

About the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to wane and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. In January, students nationwide were asked to create a short video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to the way we move, keep ourselves healthy or make a difference. In addition to the 10 finalists, 42 students were selected as state merit winners in this year's competition and will each receive a 3M Innovation Prize Package. For more information go to

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.