Guess who was just named America's Top Young Scientist? Mason High School freshman Maanasa Mendu!
The Mason Comet won the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier middle school science competition. Mendu competed alongside nine other finalists during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 18. The 13-year old was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 prize.
Mendu created HARVEST, a bio-inspired energy device that uses solar and wind power to capture 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 observed many people lacking basic life necessities such as clean water and lighting. Mendu hopes her invention will provide a globally applicable, cost-effective energy source that will help to solve real life problems. This scientific thinking helped Mendu to win the competition by applying science to everyday life. To read more about Mendu’s selection as a finalist in the National Science Challenge, click here.
Watch Mendu explain her project to the Mason City Schools Board of Education during its September 14 meeting.
"I wanted to help mitigate the global energy crisis by creating a device utilizing piezoelectricity materials that are both eco-friendly and cost efficient," explained Mendu.
During the past three months, Mendu and the other nine finalists had the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M scientist to develop their personal inventions as part of a unique summer mentorship program that ended with having Mendu's idea going from a theoretical concept into a physical prototype. Mendu was paired with Margaux Mitera, a 3M Senior Product Development Engineer whose research helped 3M develop new Post-it ® Note products. Together, Mendu and Mitera shared their passion for science, reviewed the scientific process and worked virtually through preassigned objectives with resources and support provided by Discovery Education and 3M. During the final competition hosted by Discovery Education Vice President Lance Rougeux, the finalists presented their completed inventions to an esteemed panel of scientists and leaders.
“Witnessing a new generation of young scientists leverage their passion and knowledge is truly inspiring,” said Jon Lindekugel, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Marketing-Sales, 3M.
“Each year, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge reminds us of the inspiring ingenuity that results when we empower our youngest generation to apply science, critical-thinking and creativity to solve real-world problems,” said Bill Goodwyn, President and CEO, Discovery Education.