By Tia Lynn Ivey
Will Paschal, the Morgan County High School student named a national finalist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this summer, was honored at a special ceremony on Thursday, September 9 at the Georgia Public Broadcasting headquarters in Atlanta.
Will Paschal is set to compete for a $25,000 grand prize and title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” on October 17-18 at the final phase on the competition at the 3M’s world headquarters in St. Paul, Mn.
Paschal, who was chosen over hundreds of applicants nationwide, peeked the judges interest with his development of a semiconductor battery, 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.
According to Discovery Education 3M, Paschal was chosen as a finalist due to his “science acumen, innovative thinking and exceptional communication skills demonstrated in their entry videos.”
“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, back in July.
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.”
Morgan County Superintendent James Woodard and Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach attended Thursday’s event to support Paschal.
“What an honor to be part of the Georgia celebration for Will Paschal at a lovely reception, Thursday night! The night was all about Will and one other Georgia finalist from Cobb County,” said Burbach. “These two high school students spoke about their projects and their winning videos were shown. Representatives from the winning school systems, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 3M, and Discovery Education were all there to congratulate Georgia’s two finalists. We are excited to have been a part of this important event and are looking forward to hearing about Will’s success at the final competition…”
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 in grades five through 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,” according to a press release from 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.”