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Discovery Communications, Inc., has announced the names of 40 middle school students selected as finalists in the 2005 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. The nation's premier science contest for students in grades 5 - 8, the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC) encourages the discovery, exploration and communication of science and celebrates the innovative scientists of tomorrow. Students were chosen from the initial pool of 75,000 students who entered science fairs nationwide.

Iftin Abshir, grade 8, of Denver, CO was selected by DCYSC judges as a finalist for her project entitled The Proof Is in the Prints: An Analysis of Fingerprint Patterns within Different Human Ethnicities.

At CSEF, Iftin received Honorable Mention in the category of Behavioral & Social Sciences and an American Association of University Women award. She was nominated for the DCYSC through the Denver Metro Regional Science Fair.

"Discovery is proud to continue its tradition of supporting middle school education and cultivating the next generation of American scientists. These students have the knowledge, enthusiasm and imagination to become the scientific trailblazers of tomorrow," said Judith McHale, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. "The breadth of knowledge demonstrated by the 400 semifinalists is inspiring and sets an example for anyone who wants to explore the world around them."

About the Finalists
The 40 finalists will travel to Washington, DC October 15 - 19, where they will take part in the DCYSC finalist competition at the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland. The finalists will compete in team-based, interactive challenges designed around the theme of "Forces of Nature." In the wake of the recent natural disasters disasters that ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States and Southeast Asia, each student will face challenges - from fog banks, to hurricanes, to tsunamis - that utilize their broad range of knowledge in order to understand the implications and scope of natural disasters. The action-packed activities will be taped for broadcast on the Discovery Channel.

"Discovery is proud to cultivate the next generation of American scientists through this competition," said Judith A. McHale, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. "Discovery is committed to understanding how and why disasters happen and what, if anything, through knowledge we can do to prevent or better prepare for them in the future."

The students will compete for more than $100,000 worth of scholarships and special prizes, as well as the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."

"Our forty finalists have been chosen from an impressive pool of students nationwide. We are excited to put their science skills to the test as they conquer the "Forces of Nature" challenges and compete for the top middle school scientist of the year," said Steve Jacobs, DCYSC Head Judge.

The 400 projects selected to advance to the semifinals run the scientific gamut, from biochemistry to physics, from zoology to health, and from mathematics to engineering. All the projects were developed with clear-eyed precision and showcased a level of complexity that might make the average adult's head spin. Beyond the originality and excellence of these original projects, semifinalists were also chosen for their ability to effectively communicate the reasoning and purpose behind their projects.

The Final Forty hail from 19 states and Puerto Rico. States include Arizona, California (3), Colorado, Connecticut, Florida (8), Georgia, Hawaii (4), Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan (2), Missouri, Montana, New York (2), Ohio (3), Tennessee, Texas (4), Utah (2) and Wyoming.

Each finalists were chosen based upon the excellence of their projects presented at local Science Service-affiliated fairs across the country. During the DCYSC finals, the finalists will present their research projects to judges to demonstrate their communication skills and creative thinking.

Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge Background
In 1999, Discovery created DCYSC to be a part of the solution to America's chronic underachievement in science and math. The contest responds to evidence that academic performance and interest in science among American students declines dramatically as students get older - particularly during the middle school years.

The DCYSC identifies and honors America's top middle school student who demonstrates the best skills in leadership, teamwork and scientific problem solving. In addition, the ability to be an effective science communicator - a goal that reflects Discovery's philosophy that scientific knowledge is most valuable when it is communicated and shared - is a key component of the judging.

Science Service administers the DCYSC. One of the most respected nonprofit organizations advancing the cause of science, Science Service has a sterling reputation for conducting high-quality competitions on the national and international level, including the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

More than 9,500 students have entered the DCYSC since its inception. Winners have received more than $500,000 in scholarship awards, federal government recognition and participated in science-related trips that have taken them to the far corners of the globe.

Discovery Communications, Inc. is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in 160 countries and territories with 1.3 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI's over 90 networks of distinctive programming represent 25 network entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Military Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Discovery en Espanol, Discovery Kids en Espanol, Discovery HD Theater, FitTV, Discovery Travel & Living, Discovery Home & Health and Discovery Real Time. DCI's other properties consist of Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce, which operates 120 Discovery Channel Stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI's ownership consists of four shareholders: Discovery Holding Company, Cox Communications, Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder and Chairman.

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Last modified 10/27/10