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Young Scientist Finalists Tackle Public Safety Issues

Discovery Education and 3M have announced the 47 state semifinalists in the 12th-annual Young Scientist Challenge, an opportunity for students in grades 5 through 8 to participate ongoing efforts to solve many of America's more pressing science and engineering challenges.

This year's entries consisted of one- to two-minute digital video files on one of four given topics: preventing the spread of germs/diseases; food safety; sun protection; or wind-resistant structures.

A panel of judges, experts in the sciences, social activism, and science education, evaluated all entered videos on the basis of creativity, persuasiveness, classroom suitability, and overall presentation. (Production quality is not a consideration.) Each of the 47 state semifinalists received $250 and prizes including a commemorative plaque honoring the winner's teacher or mentor. Of the semifinalists, the panel will next choose 10 national finalists, who will each receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York in October for the final challenge. The winner will receive $50,000 in United States Savings Bonds, as well as the title "America's Top Young Scientist" and a trip to St. Paul, MN to work with top scientists at 3M. The finalists will be announced in October.

The following is a list of the state semifinalists by video topic:

Food Safety

Valerie Svaldi
Grade 6, Excel Academy, Arvada, CO
Teacher: Rose Auferio

Julia Guidry
Grade 7, Washington Latin PCS, Washington, DC
Teacher: Lara Golann

Dana Tran
Grade 7, Northwest Middle School, Salt Lake City, UT
Teacher: Jason Snow

Kieran Verret
Grade 6, Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, Barre, VT
Teacher: Marge Brusseti

Preventing the Spread of Germs/Diseases

Riya Chandra
Grade 5, Mission San Jose Elementary School, Fremont, CA
Teacher: Kiranjeet Brah

Martin Kurian
Grade 8, H.B. DuPont Middle School, Hockessin, DE
Teacher: Dana Wisnowski

Patrick Perez
Grade 8, Central Middle School, Tinley Park, IL
Teacher: Jamie Calusinski

IsaBelle Kranz
Grade 6, Hamilton Elementary, Lake Station, IN
Teacher: Mrs. Stevens

William Albrecht
Grade 5, A.A. Nelson Elementary, Lake Charles, LA
Teacher: Wayne Smith

Vjola Jorgji
Grade 7, Forest Grove Middle School, Worcester, MA
Teacher: Angela Lamoureux

Jack Andraka
Grade 7, Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter, Hanover, MD
Teacher: Fatih Kandil

Megan Tammaro
Grade 7, Falmouth Middle School, Falmouth, ME
Teacher: Carrie Boudreau

Raj Raina
Grade 8, Novi Middle School, Novi, MI
Teacher: Greg Durham

Evalana Burroughs
Grade 5, St. Joseph Catholic School, Waconia, MN
Teacher: Lisa Whitaker

Aarthi Bala
Grade 8, Sperreng Middle School, St. Louis, MO
Teacher: Shana Franklin

Austin Howard
Grade 7, Howard Home School, Montana
Teacher: Jeffrey Howard

Brandon Scarberry
Grade 5, Lucile S. Bruner Elementary, North Las Vegas, NV
Teacher: Michelle Knopp

Naeha Pathak
Grade 5, Searingtown School, Albertson, NY
Teacher: Jerome Soloway

Kai Klocke
Grade 7, Cedar Park Middle School, Portland, OR
Teacher: Bryan Forbes

Danial Nasirullah
Grade 7, J.T. Lambert Intermediate, East Stroudsburg, PA
Teacher: Sheila Bove

Ratna Patel
Grade 5, New Providence Elementary, Lexington, SC
Teacher: Stacie Craps

Sydney Clark
Grade 6, Clark Academy of Science and Art (homeschool), Texas
Teacher: Camille North

Sun Protection

Matthew Shimura
Grade 7, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI
Teacher: Cathy Kawano-Ching

Elijah Barker
Grade 7, Mid-Prairie Homeschool Assistance Program, Kalona, IA
Teacher: Carolyn Barker

J. Dashiell Dale
Grade 8, Treasure Valley Math & Science Center, Boise, ID
Teacher: Stephanie Volk

Clara Ma
Grade 7, Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS
Teacher: Benita Holder

Matthew McInnis
Grade 8, Germantown Middle School, Madison, MS
Teacher: Melissa Foles

Savannah Morgan
Grade 8, Providence Day School, Charlotte, NC
Teacher: Barbara Morrow

Marissa Splendore
Grade 7, Rundlett Middle School, Concord, NH
Teacher: Andrea McGahan

Nicholas Venturini
Grade 7, Eric S. Smith Middle School, Ramsey, NJ
Teacher: Paul Stehle

James Wood, Jr.
Grade 7, Liberty Middle School, Mounds, OK
Teacher: Gary Younger

Wind-Resistant Structures

Jonathan Har
Grade 6, Phenix City Intermediate School, Phenix City, AL
Teacher: Brandi Shoultz

Deborah Rookey
Grade 8, Horace Mann Arts and Science Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, AR
Teacher: Wendy Welch

Bailey Vogt
Grade 8, Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School, Chandler, AZ
Teacher: Myrah Monson

Liam O'Brien
Grade 6, West Woods Upper Elementary School, Farmington, CT
Teacher: Jessica Buckle

Ahaan Rungta
Grade 8, home schooled, Florida
Teacher: Bill Leibowitz

Erica Kim
Grade 8, Piney Grove Middle School, Cumming, GA
Teacher: Katie Richelt

Jacob Holtgrewe
Grade 8, Paducah Middle School, Paducah, KY
Teacher: Brandon Cornaby

Christopher Riedman
Grade 7, home schooled, ND
Teacher: Karol Riedman

Clayton Bogert
Grade 8, Potter-Dix Public School, Potter, NE
Teacher: Dale Frerichs

Shreyas Chaudhari
Grade 7, North Canton Middle School, North Canton, OH
Teacher: Valerie Heban

Chesney Nagel
Grade 8, Avon School District, Avon, SD
Teacher: Paul Kahlman

Matthew Parker
Grade 5, Thomas Magnet School, Shelbyville, TN
Teacher: Cindy Hunter

Alexander Mataloni
Grade 8, South County Secondary School, Lorton, VA
Teacher: Jessica McHie

Ariel Stiber
Grade 6, Woodmoor Elementary School, Bothell, WA
Teacher: Cathy Draper

Liam McCarty
Grade 8, Brookfield Academy, Brookfield, WI
Teacher: Beth Furumo

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.