Abhinav - My First Blog!

Hi everyone, hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. I’m Abhinav Anne from Plainfield, Illinois.


I’m happy and honored to have been chosen as a finalist in this year’s Challenge. I’m thankful to 3M and Discovery Education for giving me an opportunity to work with 3M mentor scientist, Ms. Tesha Alston Dampier.


During Covid-19, I read several news articles about blood shortages due to blood drive cancellations. This inspired me to dig into details of blood donations, processing, and storage. I also learned that old blood increases the risk of stroke and organ failure and that up to a third of stored blood is wasted due to outdating. I also found out about the potential cancer risk of plasticizers in the current storage bags. This helped me realize the gravity of the problem and inspired me to think of solutions for extending the safety and shelf life of blood.


I’ve always been fascinated by the prospect of applying STEM to solve critical problems. Over the past several years, I participated in math, science, and robotics competitions. Hence, I submitted my blood storage bag innovation to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. I will continue to pursue my deep passion for STEM and question the world around me while identifying innovative solutions to help answer those questions.


Making the entry video was fun! It was challenging to present my innovation within the allotted time, yet convey at the right level of detail, the problem, solution, how I arrived at it, and why it’s impactful. I created a poster board and added graphics to the video. I mastered quite a few skills in the process of video editing!


I understood that this is a prestigious challenge and several well-deserving innovations are competing with mine. While waiting, I continued to do additional research and prototyping. When Ms. Marly Leighton called me to announce the news, I was literally speechless and my heart skipped a few beats. :)


My friends from and outside of school are super excited to hear that I made it to the National top-10. It gave them a big boost to be inspired by science and brings out a can-do attitude in every one of them. My teachers from school are happy as this will further inspire several STEM kids from the Chicago area to continue to innovate. My family and I feel so honored that the judges considered giving my innovation a chance to compete in the finals. 


If I’m fortunate to win, I’d be honored to donate the prize money to several worthy causes such as Cancer and Alzheimer’s research. Irrespective of the contest outcome, I intend to pursue developing next-generation blood storage bags and make an impact in the communities worldwide.


Thank you and stay safe.