Montana Middle School Dons 'America's Top Young Scientist' Mantle


A Montana middle schooler has been named "America's Top Young Scientist."

Marina Dimitrov, a student at Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman, Mont., was the winner of the "2009 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge." Dimitrov was one of 10 finalists who competed this week in a series of live science challenges at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. The event was led by Science Channel's Build It Bigger host Danny Forster.

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.

She was one of 10 finalists who were selected from a field of hundreds of students across the country. The finalists tackled live challenges focused on "The Science of Everyday Life," and used their science prowess to: invent a solution to a common problem using only household items; remove impurities from water; restore an historic icon; and build a tower that can withstand a simulated earthquake.

Finalists were evaluated by a panel of judges on their science skills and their 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 on Oct. 7.

Each finalist was awarded individual prizes related to their scientific passions. Moreover, the group received an all-expenses paid trip to Manhattan, 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 Planet Earth.

"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, in a statement."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."

Noted 3M Foundation president Robert MacDonald:"It's an exciting moment when you have the opportunity to celebrate science achievement among our country's top students. 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."