When Leanne Fan, an 8th grader from San Diego, witnessed her mother’s frequent issues with ear pain and infections, she knew there had to be a better way to help her face this problem. But how? Turning an idea into a reality is no easy feat, especially for a student her age. Luckily, Leanne discovered the 3M Young Scientist Challenge and saw an opportunity.
The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is a unique, project-based learning opportunity that gives students in grades 5-8 the chance to change the world for the better with an innovative idea. Students are asked submit a 1–2-minute video in which they describe a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem. Ten student finalists are then selected each year to participate in a virtual summer mentorship, where they are paired with a 3M Scientist who helps guide the student make their idea a reality.
In 2022, Leanne Fan became one of those 10 students. Along with her 3M Scientist mentor, she was able to pursue her idea of how to detect and treat middle ear infections and develop a working prototype to help her mother, and of course, other people around the world.
The Discovery Education team interviewed Leanne, the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner, where she discussed her experience competing in the challenge, offered advice for students thinking of participating, and shared her goals for the future. Read on to learn more about Leanne’s winning innovation and what she learned from the 3M Young Scientist Challenge!