Discovery Education and 3M Announce National Science Competition Winner


NEW YORK (Oct. 6, 2009) – Discovery Education and 3M today awarded Marina Dimitrov of Bozeman, Mont., with the title of "America’s Top Young Scientist" as winner of the 2009 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.  Dimitrov was one of 10 finalists who competed today in a series of live science challenges at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.  A student of Sacajawea Middle School, Dimitrov will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value) and a trip to 3M’s global headquarters to meet with some of the world’s best scientists.


Selected from hundreds of students across the country, the finalists tackled live challenges focused on "The Science of Everyday Life," and used their science prowess to: 1) invent a solution to a common problem using only household items; 2) remove impurities from water; 3) restore an historic icon; and 4) build a tower that can withstand a simulated earthquake.  Finalists were evaluated by a panel of judges on their science skills and ability to communicate scientific knowledge.  Head judge Steve Jacobs, an accomplished scientist, educator and author, joined a team of scientists from across the country to form the judging panel.  Students also worked alongside top scientists from 3M throughout the day.


"Congratulations to Marina, and to all those who participated in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge," said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.  "Discovery is proud to show our continued commitment to supporting science education and encouraging the next generation to become leaders in science and technology in America."


"It’s an exciting moment when you have the opportunity to celebrate science achievement among our country’s top students," added Robert MacDonald, President, 3M Foundation.  "These talented young scientists all represent hope for our future as we work to foster innovation and new discoveries for years to come.  We at 3M congratulate them all."


Nico Seamons from Socorro, N.M., and Nikita Gaurav from Beaverton, Ore., tied as first runners-up in the nation’s premier science competition.  Seamons currently attends Socorro High School*, and Gaurav is currently a student at Jesuit High School. Seamons currently attends Socorro High School*, and Gaurav is currently a student at Jesuit High School.


The following students rounded out the top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order):


Nate Bloom from Denver, Colo. (currently of Hamilton Middle School)

Devin Dwyer from Northport, N.Y. (currently of Northport High School)

Hugh Finch from Burrillville, R.I. (currently home-schooled)

Emily Grover from Lehi, Utah (currently of Lehi Junior High School)

Nicholas LaJoie from Van Buren, Maine (currently of Van Buren Middle School)

Jason Liu from Hockessin, Del. (currently of Charter School of Wilmington)

Claire Sheen from Mountain Top, Pa. (currently of MMI Preparatory School)


Finalists were awarded an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, a $1,000 cash prize, a personalized competition medal, an assortment of 3M products, the Science Channel Essential Space Collection DVD from, as well as a DVD set from Discovery Education featuring programs such as Discovery Channel’s award-winning PLANET EARTH.  In addition, each finalist will be awarded one of the following individual prizes related to their scientific passions during tonight’s awards banquet: (to see which prize each finalist is awarded, go to after 9 a.m. EST on Wed., Oct. 7, 2009):


– Animal Planet "Walk in the Wild" Prize – The recipient will join apex predator expert Dave Salmoni for a behind-the-scenes tour at The Bowmanville Zoo outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


– Discovery Channel "Shark Week" Prize – The recipient will receive a private tour of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md., with Marine Biologist and Discovery Channel Shark Advisor Andy Dehart.


– Discovery Education "Discovery Student Adventures" Prize – The recipient will take part in an educational adventure to Costa Rica to encounter exotic plants and wildlife to participate in a reforestation project.


– Lowell Observatory "Star Gazer" Prize – The recipient will receive a behind-the-scenes look at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., and the opportunity to watch scientific research observations in progress.


– National Zoo’s Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) "Nature Camp" Prize – The recipient will take part in an overnight nature exploration program at the Conservation and Research Center of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


– Planet Green "Beekman Farm" Prize – The recipient will travel to the Beekman 1802 farm in Sharon Springs, N.Y., to learn from farmers, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, about things like the creation of goat’s milk, cheese and soap.


– Science Channel "Build it Bigger" Prize – The recipient will go on location with Science Channel’s hit series, BUILD IT BIGGER, and visit one of the unique engineering marvels in the upcoming season with show host Danny Forster.


– “"Space Explorer" Prize – The recipient will attend Aviation Challenge or Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.


– TLC "Chemistry of the Kitchen" Prize – The recipient will spend the day at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., home to TLC’s hit show CAKE BOSS, learning the science of baking.


As the grand prize winner, Dimitrov is the recipient of the 3M "Innovation Prize," for which she will visit 3M’s global headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., and learn about technology platforms like microreplication, nanotechnology, advanced materials and processing.  3M’s world class Innovation Center will introduce her to talented scientists who will share insights about their careers, centered around innovation.


Coinciding with the announcement of this year’s winner, Discovery Education and 3M are beginning the search for the 2010 "America’s Top Young Scientist."  For more information on the 2009 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, or to register for the 2010 challenge, go to


About the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

As the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings.  In January, students nationwide were asked to create a one- to two-minute video about a specific scientific concept that relates to innovative solutions for everyday life, such as how to reduce TV glare or how to lower heating/cooling bills.  In July, 50 semifinalists were selected based on their science communication skills exhibited in their videos.  In August, 10 finalists were selected.  For more information on the challenge, including ages and entry videos of the 10 finalists, go to


About Discovery Education

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education.  Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement.  Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services.  Explore the future of education at


About 3M

A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $25 billion in sales, 3M employs 76,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 60 countries. For more information, visit


*All finalists were middle school students at time of competition entry.


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