Fort Payne student named state winner in nation’s premier middle school science competition

on Tuesday, 29 June 2021.

Sophia Al-Halaseh, a sixth-grade student at Fort Payne Middle School, has been named the State Merit Winner of the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier middle school science competition, for the project “The SORE BE GONE!”

3M and Discovery Education recently announced 30 State Merit Winners in the 2021 3M Young Scientist Challenge. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge features outstanding innovations from young scientists that utilize the power of STEM to improve the world.

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge asks students in grades 5-8 to identify an everyday problem in their community or the world and submit a one- to two-minute video communicating the science behind their solution. An esteemed and diverse group of judges, including 3M scientists and leaders in education from across the country, evaluated entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and communication effectiveness.

“The 3M Young Scientist Challenge demonstrates the transformative power of young minds to address global challenges by combining their unique and diverse perspectives on innovation, creativity, and a passion for a better world,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer, 3M. “This year’s state merit winners prove the efficacy of STEM thinking. We are proud of this year’s competitors and remain committed to building greater STEM-equity that unlocks the power of people, ideas, and science and imagines what’s possible.”

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge recognizes this year’s 30 State Merit Winners, which were selected for their passion for STEM, innovation, and superb communication skills. Each State Merit Winner receives special recognition on the challenge website, along with a special technology prize pack.

“The 2021 State Merit Winners have distinguished themselves with their ability to demonstrate the power of applying STEM knowledge in the pursuit of bettering the world,” said Lori McFarling, president of corporate partnerships and social impact at Discovery Education. “We applaud their ingenuity and salute 3M’s continued leadership in bringing real-world STEM engagement, opportunities, and inspiration like the Young Scientist Challenge to students everywhere.”

In its fourteenth year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge continues to inspire and challenge middle school students to think creatively and apply the power of STEM to discovering real-world solutions. America’s Top Young Scientists have gone on to give TED Talks, file patents, found nonprofits, make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and exhibit at the White House Science Fair. These young innovators have also been named Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year, featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Business Insider, and on national television programs such as Good Morning America, CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more. This year’s top 10 Young Scientist Challenge finalists and honorable mentions will be announced on June 24, 2021 and the finalists will compete in an interactive in-person event to be held on October 18-19, 2021 at 3M’s Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

© Copyright 2021, Times-Journal, Fort Payne, AL


Fort Payne student named state winner in nation’s premier middle school science competition. (2021, June 29). Times-Journal. Retrieved from





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