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Melissa Todisco, Hunter Public Relations for 3M
212-679-6600 ext. 244

Tammy Shea, Discovery Communications

Discovery Education and 3M Announce National Science Competition Winner

–“America’s Top Young Scientist” Receives $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds –

(NEW YORK) – Discovery Education and 3M today awarded Marina Dimitrov of Bozeman, MT 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. To download hi-res images and b-roll footage of the science competition, go to

Selected from a field of hundreds of students across the country, t he 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 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 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 edu cation 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, NM and Nikita Gaurav from Beaverton, OR tied as first runners-up in the nation’s premier science competition. Seamons currently attends Socorro High School* and Gaurav is a current student of Jesuit High School.

Finalists of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge 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:

  • Nate Bloom from Denver, CO (currently of Hamilton Middle School) won the Planet Green “Beekman Farm” prize, for which he will travel to the Beekman 1802 farm in Sharon Springs, NY to learn from farmers Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell about things like the creation of goat’s milk, cheese and soap.
  • Devin Dwyer from Northport, NY (currently of Northport High School) won the Discovery Channel “Shark Week” prize, for which he will receive a private tour of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD with Marine Biologist and Discovery Channel Shark Advisor Andy Dehart.
  • Hugh Finch from Burrillville, RI (currently home-schooled) won the Lowell Observatory “Star Gazer” prize, giving him a behind-the-scenes look at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ and the opportunity to watch scientific research observations in progress.
  • Nikita Gaurav from Beaverton, OR (currently of Jesuit High School) won the Discovery Education “Discovery Student Adventures” prize, for which she will take part in an educational adventure to Costa Rica to encounter exotic plants and wildlife and participate in a reforestation project.
  • Emily Grover from Lehi, UT (currently of Lehi Junior High School) won the “Space Explorer” prize, for which she will attend Aviation Challenge or Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.
  • Nicholas LaJoie from Van Buren, ME (currently of Van Buren Middle School) won the Animal Planet “Wa lk in the Wild” prize, for which he will join apex predator expert Dave Salmoni for a behind-the-scenes tour at The Bowmanville Zoo outside Toronto, Ontario in Canada.
  • Jason Liu from Hockessin, DE (currently of Charter School of Wilmington) won the TLC “Chemistry of the Kitchen” prize, for which he will spend the day at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ, home to TLC's hit show CAKE BOSS, learning the science of baking.
  • Nico Seamons from Socorro, NM (currently of Socorro High School) won the Science Channel “Build it Bigger” prize, for which he will go on location to 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.
  • Claire Sheen from Mountain Top, PA (currently of MMI Preparatory School) won the National Zoo’s Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) “Nature Camp” prize, for which she will take part in an overnight n ature exploration program at the Conservation and Research Center of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

    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, MN, 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 America’s Top Young Scientist of 2010. 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 a nd has operations in more than 60 countries. For more information, visit

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