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Thursday, Feb 29, 2024


Poway Student Named America’s Top Young Scientist

Last week, Leanne Fan, now a student at Westfield High in the Poway Unified School District, was named the 2022 winner of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Fan, 14, invented Finsen Headphones, an antibiotic-free, low-cost option to detect and treat a mid-ear infection using machine learning and blue light therapy.

The Young Scientist competition recognizes students in grades 5-8 who use scientific thinking to create an innovation that will improve lives both in their local communities and globally.

Leanne Fan’s older sister Kara won the national Young Scientist competition in 2019.

Leanne applied for the 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this year and was selected as a top finalist from scores of applicants across the country.

Once named a finalist, Leanne was partnered with Dr. Ross Behling, a research specialist at 3M, who worked with the young student throughout the summer to transform her idea from concept to prototype.

Now in its 15th year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge takes place in October at 3M’s global headquarters in St. Paul, Minn.


San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation announced last week the formation of the Binational Resilience Initiative to preserve the Cali-Baja coast. The initiative launches with $294,805 in grants to four environmental nonprofits located in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

“The capacity of the Cali-Baja region’s ability to adapt and persist through changing circumstances does not stop at the border,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of SDF. “We are committed to partnering with our colleagues at International Community Foundation to address our cross-border region’s climate vulnerabilities by empowering binational collaborations between civil organizations, scientists, community leaders and other stakeholders.”

The inaugural Binational Resilience Initiative grants funded through San Diego Foundation will address immediate needs in coastal preservation and improve the ability of decision-makers to respond to climate-related impacts along the Cali-Baja coastline.

Recipients include Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association ($94,805) to improve coastal resilience through nature-based solutions and a pilot infrastructure project in Tijuana and UCSD – SCRIPPS California Sea Grant Program ($100,000) to build science and data collection capacity to support the coastal resilience needs of the San Diego-Baja community.

“The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to incredible innovation, leadership, resourcefulness and creativity. Together our communities face multiple environmental, economic and social challenges that are further exacerbated by the impacts of a changing climate,” said Marisa Quiroz, president and CEO of International Community Foundation. “Jobs, housing, transportation, a healthy coastline and access to nature are all climate issues. We are excited to work with San Diego Foundation to continue to support cross-border relationships that uplift and strengthen the shared resilience of our region.”


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