Hello Everyone! My name is Deepika Kurup and this is my journey to becoming America’s Top Young Scientist!
Over 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to clean drinking water. There is no doubt that we are facing a Global Water Crisis. I have been passionate about solving this world-wide problem ever since I witnessed the sight of children drinking contaminated water from a stagnant pool.
The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (YSC) gave me an opportunity to make my contributions in finding a solution to our planet’s growing water problem. The YSC is the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students. The 2012 YSC asked students to create a one to two minute video describing a new innovation impacting an everyday problem related to the way we move, keep ourselves healthy, or make a difference. In late June, I was notified that I was one of the 10 finalists. I was overjoyed!
One of my favorite parts of being a finalist in the Young Scientist Challenge was the summer mentorship program. Each of the 10 finalists was assigned a mentor from 3M who would guide us through the innovation process. My mentor was Dr. James M. Jonza, a leading scientist at 3M. We discussed about how to develop my prototype for water purification. Over the summer I conducted numerous experiments, analyzed results and finally brought my innovation to life.
After several months of hard work, long nights, failures and accomplishments, my family and I flew to 3M Headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota for the final competition. Meeting the other finalists at the Innovation Center was really fun. All of us had the same passion for science and drive to innovate. Although we had just met for the first time, it felt as if we were the best of friends. The two days at the innovation center are days I will never forget. At every corner there was something new to learn about and explore. We were able to do really cool things like look under SEM microscopes and even hold a whale bone!
These past few months have been an incredible experience. Although winning the Grand Prize and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist was amazing, I believe that the journey was more important than the outcome. I learned important lessons about science and innovation, and I was able to share my ideas with the rest of the world. I really encourage any middle school student who is interested or wishes to learn more about science to enter the Young Scientist Challenge. I am grateful to the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for giving me an amazing opportunity to combine my knowledge in science and my communication skills to come up with a solution to a problem that I am very passionate about- Solving The Global Water Crisis.