Morgan County student makes finals

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

staff writer

Will Paschal, a student at Morgan County High School, has been named a national finalist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, where he will compete for $25,000 and the Title of

‘America’s Top Young Scientist’ in Nation’s Premier Science Competition. Paschal was selected as one of the top ten finalists for developing semiconductor batteries, a device that stores electricity by taking advantage of the interaction of N-type and P-type silicon, which results in a “greener” and “more efficient” method of energy storage.

“I am ecstatic to have been chosen as a Finalist for the 2016 Young Scientists Challenge, and my goals for the immediate future are to make connections with people in the science world and learn as much as I possibly can from this experience,” said Paschal.

Paschal was inspired to create a green energy storage device in hopes of creating a sustainable and cleaner future.

“I really don’t want to live in a dirty, polluted world and as of now the best way of avoiding that is figuring out how to produce energy with no detriment on the environment.”

Will’s parents, Jep and Michelle Paschal, are thrilled to see their son get the recognition he has worked so hard to earn.

“We are so proud of Will, he has done this all on his own,” said Michelle Paschal.

“Honestly, we are extremely proud, how else would a father feel?” said Jep Paschal. “As a parent, I am most proud that he has done this on his own. He motivated himself. He kept a notebook of all his ideas and did his own research. For that alone, I could not be prouder.”

The Morgan County School System is also proud of Will’s accomplishments and hope his ideas will come to fruition in the future.

“We are so proud of Will–not only for being named as a national finalist in the Young Scientist Challenge, but for working to improve our environment by eliminating the toxic waste from batteries.  His future is limitless and his contributions are already being noticed!” said Sarah Burbach, assistant superintendent.

This is the second time Will has entered this competition. Paschal, a recipient of The State Merit Award last year, submitted a video to the competition demonstrating how his invention worked and the judges were impressed. As the nation’s premier science competition for students grades five – eight, the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students nationwide to submit short videos describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem.

“Today’s innovative young minds are working to solve tomorrow’s challenges — making materials safer, solutions more efficient, and inventions more accessible. Now, Discovery Education  and 3M announce 10 student finalists from across America in the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge,” explained Shawnee Cohn, publicist for Discovery Education. “The annual premier competition recognizes scientific thinking and imagination in students grades five – eight who dream up a solution to an everyday problem that ultimately could reshape the way we live our lives. After submitting a short video communicating the science behind a possible solution to an everyday problem, these young scientists rose to the top of the competition and were selected over hundreds of others, due to their science acumen, innovative thinking and exceptional communication skills demonstrated in their entry videos. The finalists–six girls and four boys, ranging in age from 12-14, and   include those from public, private and home schools, from locations all across the nation.”

According to Discovery Education, each finalist will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a 3M Scientist during a summer mentorship program, where they will be challenged to develop their innovative concept that positively impacts them, their family, their community or the global population.  Students meet virtually with their mentors, who provide guidance from the student’s concept to actual prototype  allowing for a complete experience in the scientific process in which the original idea may evolve. Throughout the program, each student will have access to resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education.

All 10 finalists receive $1,000 and are awarded a trip to 3M Headquarters in St. Paul, Minn to participate in the final competition at the 3M Innovation Center on Oct. 17 and 18, where they will be evaluated on a series of challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation. Each challenge will be scored independently by a panel of judges. The winner will receive $25,000, a trip to watch the taping of a Discovery Network show, and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

“At 3M, we know the importance of encouraging ‘next-gen’ scientific thinkers, who will invent new ways to solve the issues our customers face every day — from keeping workers safe on the job to addressing global issues like access to clean water,” said Jon Lindekugel, senior vice president for Business Development and Marketing-Sales at 3M.  “Through 3M’s summer mentorship with the finalists, we’re excited to hear their fresh ideas and to provide guidance through the scientific process as their projects move from concept to reality.”

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with 3M to support their commitment to fostering the next generation of science innovators,” said Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO of Discovery Education.  “The Young Scientist Challenge brings the magic of science to life for young people  everywhere — enhancing science exploration nationwide, and helping to develop the communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills today’s students need for success beyond the classroom.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student scholarships and prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. It 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. Winners have gone on to be featured in Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list, speak in front of members of Congress and attendees at the United Nations, meet the President of the United States, and demonstrate inventions on national news programs such as ABC World News Tonight, Fox & Friends, and The Ellen Degeneres Show.

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including photos and bios of the 10 finalists and a list of the 27 state merit winners, please visit www.youngscientistchallenge.com. On Twitter, follow @3M and @DiscoveryEd and join the conversation using #YoungScientist.

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development 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. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase 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 www.discoveryeducation.com.

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