This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I was compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.
As a child, I was fascinated with science. I was the kid that wrote “lab supplies and science kits” on my Christmas list for Santa. One of my favorite gifts was a microscope and I would spend hours taking a closer look at anything that would fit under the lens. My curiosity continued into high school where I elected to take science related coursework such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Flash forward to Senior year. I began investigating colleges and my Dad (a civil engineer) took me to a local University to tour their engineering department. We walked into an intro level course to observe a lecture and I froze. The ENTIRE class consisted of 50 men. Absolutely NO WOMEN. Coming from an all-girls high school, I was immediately intimidated when I observed that not one female had elected to take that class. My confidence left faster than my body could get out of that classroom.
I enrolled as an Education major.
While my focus had changed, my love for science did not. I landed an internship at a local government lab and was assigned to assist a female scientist. She quickly became a mentor, my confidence level rose and I decided I could in fact excel in science. I graduated with a Master of Science in Molecular Biology with a Minor in Chemistry.
Because of my journey, I am passionate about STEM education efforts for young girls. With two daughters, I have taken several steps to bring science to life and show them at an early age that women CAN succeed in science based careers. From science fairs to field trips and Take Our Daughters To Work Day to Career Day, I am doing my best to mentor the next generation of future female scientists.
I love that companies like 3M, one of the world’s most notable innovators, are inspiring the next generation as well through initiatives such as The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge! In an effort to make science fun and take it out of the textbook, the contest cultivates the next generation
of problem solvers and give students an opportunity to receive mentorship from 3M scientists.
By April 20, 2016, kids in grades 5-8 can submit a one-to-two-minute video describing the science behind a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem. Judges evaluate the entries through April and May based on creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and overall presentation. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras.
This summer, ten finalists will be announced who will participate in a mentorship program during which they will get the opportunity to work one-on-one with renowned 3M scientists. The finalists will be challenged to develop their innovations that positively impacts lives. The winner receives $25,000 and the title, “America’s Top Young Scientist.”
Have a great idea? Check out all of the rules, guidelines and entry requirements here: http://www.youngscientistchallenge.com