Arya Catna Achieves Texas State Merit Winner at 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Arya CatnaCISD student Arya Catna was selected as the Texas State Merit Winner in the 2021 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Catna was chosen as the best in the state of Texas out of hundreds of participants for her research on a mulch blanket to save plants from dying during inclement winter weather.

After the freeze and subsequent power outages that affected Texas in February, most of the plants in Catna’s backyard did not survive. Catna, who was in 8th grade at Coppell Middle School West at the time, decided to try to figure out a way to revive the plants and to ensure that they would last through the next cold front. She developed a mulch blanket solution that could potentially help her and other gardens. 

“After coming across the 3M Young Scientist website, I was inspired to explore and continue my research to solve this problem,” Catna said. “I have always been an advocate for environmental awareness, and I thought this challenge would be a great opportunity for me to design a solution that would benefit the environment.”

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is considered the nation's premier science competition for students in grades 5-8. It is designed to encourage the exploration of science and innovation among America's youth and to promote the importance of science communication.

Being the Texas State Merit Winner means a lot to Catna. 

“This has reassured me that the steps I took in order to solve an environmental issue are on the right research track and has inspired me to continue investigating new ideas and thinking outside the box,” Catna said. “I have learned how important time and effort is in a research project, and I am motivated to pursue unconventional pathways to challenge myself.”

Catna, who will be attending the Coppell High School Ninth Grade Campus (CHS9) for the 2021-2022 school year, credits CMS West for fostering her pursuit of independent science research.  

“CMS West encourages students to participate in science fairs and olympiads,” she said. “My teachers always encouraged me to pick research and explore topics that interested me and  to participate and challenge myself through research competitions. I am always grateful to my teachers for their guidance and support.” 

For more information on the Discover Education 3M Young Scientist Competition, visit