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Discovery Education and 3M Announce 2011 Science Competition Winner

- Braeden Benedict Awarded $25,000 and Named America’s Top Young Scientist – - Panel of Judges Included Reed Timmer of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers –

(St. Paul, Minn) – Discovery Education and 3M have named Braeden Benedict from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., winner of the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Benedict, a 14-year-old graduate of St. John Fisher Parish School and a freshman at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” $25,000 and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures for his innovation in developing a low-cost impact detection device that can make it easier to spot harmful concussions in athletes. He competed alongside nine other finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn.

To download hi-res images and b-roll footage of the science competition, go to

Over the past three months, Benedict and the other finalists had the exclusive opportunity to participate in a summer mentorship program working directly with a 3M scientist in creating an innovation that solved a problem in everyday life. The 3M mentors provided guidance as the finalists developed their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype. Each of the ten finalists received a 3M Camcorder Projector Shoot ’n Share to document their summer mentorship program.

During the competition yesterday, the finalists shared their completed innovations with a panel of judges, including Reed Timmer of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers. In addition to presenting their prototypes, the ten finalists competed in two additional challenges in which they were asked to: 1) combine multiple 3M technologies to yield new solutions; and 2) identify where a tornado may hit on a map based on specific scientific factors and weather conditions. Finalists were evaluated on their scientific knowledge, creativity and use of 3M technology.

“The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge showcases Discovery Education’s commitment to satisfy students’ innate curiosity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and prepare them to become our nation’s next generation of leaders,” said Bill Goodwyn, CEO, Discovery Education. “Braeden and the rest of this year’s finalists have proven they possess the drive and innovative thinking that can lead us to a bright future in the years to come.”

“The opportunity to encourage and celebrate science achievement among our nation’s top students carries great meaning for the future of our society,” added Ian Hardgrove, President, 3M Foundation. “Innovation is a way of life at 3M and the inventing never stops. We’ll look to the talented minds of the next generation like those represented today to lead us to new frontiers of discovery in the years to come. We at 3M congratulate them all.”

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 cash prize and a trip from Discovery Student Adventures to Costa Rica. These extraordinary students are:

  • Cheyenne Hua from Hunter College High School in New York, N.Y., received second place for her innovation that helps prevent flood damage to homes.
  • Nolan Lenard from St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala., received third place for his innovation that alerts drivers to upcoming pedestrian crosswalks, speed limit zones and other signs to help ensure safer driving.
  • Caroline Boschetto from Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, Pa., received fourth place for her innovative device that captures renewable energy from the most unlikely of sources — wheelchairs and strollers.

The fifth through tenth place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize and a $500 gift card from Discovery Experiences, which offers first-hand, memorable adventures they see and learn about on Discovery’s networks. These finalists, in alphabetical order by last name, are:

  • Jack Andraka from North County High School in Glen Burrie, Md.
  • Austin Curtis from Bedford Middle School in Bedford, Ind.
  • Shayan Farmand from Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville, Pa.
  • John Holtgrewe from Paducah Middle School in Pudacah Ky.
  • Divya Ravinder from Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla.
  • Albert Tung from University High School in Irvine, Calif.

For more information on the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and to learn more about this year’s finalists, go to

About the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge 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. In January, students nationwide were asked to create a short video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to the way we move, keep ourselves healthy or make a difference. In addition to the 10 finalists, 42 students were selected as state merit winners in this year's competition and will each receive a 3M Innovation Prize Package. For more information go to

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at

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