Junior Reporter Interview: 3M Young Scientist Challenge Winner

October 31, 2019

Earlier this year, 3M, the company known for making things like Post-Its and tape, asked young people attending 5th through 8th grades to share their idea for solving an everyday problem. Thousands of students entered; ten were chosen as this year’s finalists. These young scientists came up with ideas such as planting hydroponic trees in the ocean, controlling room temperatures of unoccupied rooms in a house with an airflow control robot, turning sign language gestures into verbal language through a talking device, and more!

Earlier this week, the winner of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge was announced. Fourteen-year-old Kara Fan won for her idea of a nano particle liquid bandaid to replace the use of antibiotics. How did Kara come up with the idea and what was her first invention? Junior Reporters Trisha Y. and Daisy H. got us the scoop! Check out what winner Kara had to say:

Question: How did you come up with the idea?

Answer: A few years ago, my grandma had a Urinary tract infection (UTI) with a high fever and was taken to the emergency room. Fortunately, the doctor gave her some antibiotics and saved her life. Since then, I have been interested in antibiotic medicine and have done some readings on this amazing drug. However, I also learned that bacteria are growing resistance to the antibiotics due to over-use and misuse of the drug.

Question: What was your first invention?

Answer: A couple of years ago, I went to a summer chemistry camp where we did many fun and exciting science activities. We learned how to make mini fireworks, multi-colored fire, and other fascinating things. After taking that class, I started to get more interested in science, so I decided to participate in my local science fair.

Question: What (or who) inspired you to make your first invention?

Answer: Sir Alexander Fleming inspired me on my invention. He discovered the world’s first antibiotic and saved millions of lives. I want to do something just like him.

Question: Why did you focus on that category of all world problems?

Answer: I read a report by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance “could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050,” complicating routine treatment for infections and minor medical procedures. If we do nothing, there will be more people who die from superbug infections than from cancer. For this reason, I decided to focus my research on the antibiotic resistance problem.

Congratulations, Kara!