Meet Heman Bekele, a ninth grader at W.T. Woodson High School, who has embarked on a remarkable mission to offer relief to individuals combating basal and squamous cell skin cancers, affecting approximately 5.4 million people annually in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. 

Photo Credit: PR Newswire

At just 14 years old, Bekele has made history by earning the title of America’s Top Young Scientist after securing victory in this year’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The Annandale, Virginia resident’s groundbreaking creation, a Skin Cancer Treating Soap (SCTS), set him apart from his competitors and earned him not only the prestigious title but also a $25,000 cash prize.


Photo Credit: PR Newswire

According to a recent press release, as a part of the four-month competition process, finalists pair with 3M scientists who mentor the students over the course of the competition. The goal of the mentorship is to bring the students dream from vision to an actual prototype.

As a part of the process, students are judged during the competition on ingenuity, innovative thinking, STEM principles application, demonstration of passion and research, presentation skills and ability to inspire others.

“The need for scientists and innovators to develop solutions for the world’s biggest challenges has never been greater. This year’s Young Scientist Challenge finalists have demonstrated the skills required to reimagine what’s possible—intelligence, curiosity, collaboration, and resilience,” said John Banovetz, 3M executive vice president, chief technology officer and environmental responsibility in the release. “The magnitude and complexity of the issues these young minds are working to solve is inspiring. Congratulations to this year’s finalists—we can’t wait to see what you do next!”

Skin cancer treatments cost $8.1 billion on average annually. Bekele’s treatment innovation cost came out to $0.50 per bar of soap, a more affordable option to traditional treatments.

Over the next five years, this future electrical engineer hopes to create a nonprofit in order to distribute his low-cost option to low-income communities.


Photo Credit(s)/Featured Image: PR Newswire

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

Related Posts

Next Post


Don’t miss out on BCK’s newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter