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October 26, 2010 > Riya Chandra returns from Young Scientist Challenge

Riya Chandra returns from Young Scientist Challenge

Submitted By Hunter Public Relations
Photos By courtesy of Discovery Education

Riya Chandra of Fremont, who is in 6th grade at The Harker School, and a top ten national finalist, recently competed in the final round of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge on October 5 in New York City.

Liam McCarty, 15, of Wisconsin was named the grand prize winner, and the remaining nine finalists, including Riya, received an all expense-paid trip to New York City, a $1,000 cash prize, and many other awards including a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences, a backpack filled with Discover Education DVDs, a digital camcorder, games, and a vast assortment of 3M's most innovative products.

Selected from hundreds of students across the country, the ten finalists competed in a series of challenges and experienced hands-on interaction with some of 3M's top scientists serving as mentors as the students were asked to: 1) communicate principles of science behind unusual phenomena, such as a disappearing beaker or how a hand can be set on fire without leaving burns, 2) test the validity of the "Five Second Rule" as it relates to food safety, and 3) invent a solution to a safety or security problem found in society.

Riya's innovation related to the issue of reusable shopping bags having the potential to carry bacteria, which could lead to food poisoning such as E.Coli. Her creative solution was to infuse antimicrobial copper in 3M's Nexcare's athletic wrap as a way to kill germs upon contact on various surfaces, including shopping cart handles and doorknobs. Riya learned that copper's properties have a way of killing germs very quickly.

"I loved going to New York and being a part of the Young Scientist Challenge. It was so much fun. I had the opportunity to meet many 3M scientists, judges, and celebrities, and also made many friends. I will remember this experience forever," said Riya, the youngest of the ten finalists. "Thank you to Mr. Sommer, my science teacher at Harker, and Ms. Katy Kuei, my former science teacher at Mission San Jose Elementary, for guiding and preparing me for this challenge."

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications commented, "Satisfying curiosity has been at the heart of Discovery's mission and DNA for 25 years, and we recognize the importance of nurturing interest in science education among America's youth. All of this year's participants demonstrated the strength and promise of our next generation of science and technology leaders."

"The opportunity to encourage and celebrate science achievement among our nation's top students carries great meaning for the future of our society," added Robert MacDonald, President of 3M Foundation. "Innovation is a way of life at our company and the inventing never stops. We'll look to the talented minds of the next generation like those represented today to lead us to new frontiers of discovery in the years to come. We congratulate them all."

All finalists were in grades 5-8 at time of competition entry.

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