With a shared interest in encouraging youths to explore the wonders of science, a panel of distinguished educators and scientists are lending their expertise to help select this year's Top Young Scientist.
Steven "Jake" Jacobs is an accomplished scientist, educator, author, and media personality, but his creative involvement in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is perhaps his most beloved role. On top of his work with the Young Scientist Challenge since its inception in 1999, Jake holds three university degrees, has nearly two decades of teaching experience and has also worked with Nickelodeon, Paramount Television, FOX Television, Disney, National Public Radio (NPR), and the Smithsonian Institution.
Dr. Thomas Wood, a 3M Corporate Scientist, joined 3M in 1980 and played a valuable role in creating the foundation for nanotechnology development at the company. Since then, Wood's research has focused on inorganic and ceramic materials, which has led to a wide range of inventions that have improved highway safety, power conduction, and environmental conservation. To date, his inventions have resulted in 35 granted patents, with seven still pending.
Wood has also been the recipient of multiple 3M awards and grants, and is a member of the Carlton Society, which honors outstanding technical employees at 3M. Wood has frequently contributed as an editor and chairperson for professional societies, and also gives invited lectures at different universities and professional meetings.
Dr. Patricia Hagan has spent over 30 years providing quality educational experiences for children and adults from several perspectives and vantage points. Her solid background in education includes classroom teacher, department chair, district-level curriculum coordinator, and educational consultant. Over the years she has developed a broad and deep understanding of education at the local, state, and national levels and has experience applying research-based practice to real-world situations.
As Director of Content Development for Discovery Education she is responsible for overall development of content for the digital basal products and works closely with the editorial, digital media development, instructional technology support, and product development teams.
Milagros Fornell began her career in education in 1978 as a mathematics teacher, and from there her vast experience includes being a department chairperson, regional curriculum coordinator, school-site administrator, regional administrator, and currently district associate superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida. Her numerous awards include, but are not limited to: 1984 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, 1998 South Florida Phi Beta Kappa Superior High School Principal, 2001 Student Services Principal of the Year, 2001 Media Specialists' High School Principal of the Year, and 2001 Region VI Principal of the Year.
Dr. Cindy Moss is Director of Science and Math, K-12, for the 140,000 students and 15,000 teachers in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. She received a B.S. in zoology from the University of North Carolina (where she was a Morehead Scholar), an M.S. in science teaching from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in science education from the Curtin Institute of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. In 2001, Dr. Moss was named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator for her expertise in kinesthetic learning, her ability to help low achieving students succeed, her passion and enthusiasm in the classroom, and her tireless work with the environment. She has won numerous awards including a Radioshack National Teaching Award and the Ben Craig Award. Most recently Dr. Moss was selected as 1 of 13 members on a federal commission created by the National Science Foundation's National Science Board to create a strategy to improve the nation's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and she has spoken to Congress on this issue several times in the past year as well.