Indian-origin teen wins 2nd spot in America’s Young Scientist Challenge

New York: Indian-American teen Shripriya Kalbhavi has won second place at the annual 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a premier science competition for middle school students in the US.

Kalbhavi, a ninth grader at Lynbrook High School in California, received a $2,000 prize for developing EasyBZ — a cost-effective microneedle patch that allows for self-automated drug delivery without pills or needles.

The first prize of $25,000 with the prestigious title of “America’s Top Young Scientist”, went to Heman Bekele from Virginia for his compound-based Skin Cancer Treating Soap.

Kalbhavi said in a blog post on the 3M Young Scientist Challenge website that she entered the contest because she wants to help change lives.

She also hosts a podcast called “Famous Personalities,” and as part of the theme of her show, she researches women scientists and speaks about their lives, achievements, and research.

“Scientific research and innovations have always interested me, and I find the scientists, especially doctors, all around me to be extremely inspiring because they work to help people every day,” Kalbhavi, who wants to become a practicing neurosurgeon, said.

“I want to gain experience and advice from a mentor to help improve peoples’ lives with my invention, BZ reaction-automated microneedle patches, by making their medication painless and more affordable,” she added.

Apart from Kalbhavi, five other Indian-American teens were among the top ten finalists and each of them received a $1,000 prize and a $500 gift card.

“For 16 years, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge has exemplified our belief in harnessing the power of people, ideas, and science to reimagine what’s possible. The remarkable young innovators of this competition share our determination to help shape a brighter future.” said John Banovetz, 3M executive vice president.

“By asking students to think creatively and apply the power of science to everyday problems, incredible solutions and leaders arise.”

Each finalist in the challenge was evaluated on a series of challenges, including a presentation of their completed innovation.

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.

The young innovators have also been named Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year, featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, and Business Insider.

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