America’s 2016 Top Young Scientist is 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu
Maanasa, a ninth grader at William Mason High School in Mason City School District, competed alongside nine other finalists during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 prize.
Maanasa created HARVEST, a bio-inspired energy device that captures energy in the form of wind, rain and sun –and converts it to power. This innovation was inspired by a visit to India where she discovered many people lacking basic life necessities such as clean water and lighting. Through her invention, Maanasa hopes to provide a globally applicable, cost-effective energy source. Her scientific thinking reflected the competition’s goal of applying science to everyday life, creating a solution that will improve lives and strengthen communities around the globe.
The remaining nine finalists also received a variety of prizes from Discovery Education and 3M. The second, third and fourth place winners each received a $1,000 prize and a trip to a taping of a show on Discovery’s family of networks. These extraordinary students are:
- Rohan Wagh from Portland, OR, a ninth grader at Sunset High School in Beaverton School District, received second place for his innovation that utilizes the natural metabolism of bacteria to create energy.
- Kaien Yang from Chantilly, VA, an eighth grader at Nysmith School for the Gifted, received third place for his innovation that uses pumpkin seed oil to create both a biodiesel and bioplastic that reduces emissions and pollution from plastic.
- Amelia Day from Sumner, WA, a ninth grader at Sumner High School in Sumner School District, received fourth place for her invention that uses sensory feedback to help rebuild neural connections inside of the brain during rehabilitation.
The fifth through tenth place winners each received a $1,000 prize and a $500 Excitations gift card. These finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
- Meghna Behari from Swickley, PA,an eighth grader at Marshall Middle School (North Allegheny School District)
- Mrinali Kesavadasfrom Mahomet, IL, a ninth grader at Mahomet-Seymour High School (Mahomet-Seymour School District)
- Rohit Mital from Rochester Hills, MI, a ninth grader at Adams High School (Rochester Community Schools)
- Sara Makboul from Acworth, GA, a ninth grader at Kennesaw Mountain High School (Cobb County School District)
- Sofia Tomov from Knoxville, TN, an eighth grader who is homeschooled
- Will Paschal from Madison, GA, a ninth grader at Morgan County High School (Morgan County School District)
Since its inception in 2008, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. It 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. Winners have gone on to be featured in Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list, speak in front of members of Congress and attendees at the United Nations, meet the President of the United States, and demonstrate inventions on national televisionprograms such as ABC World News Tonight, Fox & Friends, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show