A symbol merging a bar of soap with a dna strand

Teen Prodigy Unveils Soap Formulation for Skin Cancer Aid

Meet 14-year-old Heman Bekele, a sharp ninth-grader from W.T. Woodson High School in Virginia, who now holds the title of America’s Top Young Scientist of 2023.  He developed a soap designed to aid in skin cancer treatment.

Heman's journey began with the 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge, an event encouraging young individuals to bring forth innovative solutions to pressing real-world problems. Over the summer, Heman and his fellow finalists worked closely with a 3M scientist to mold their ideas from concepts to tangible prototypes. Heman's creation, dubbed the Melanoma Treating Soap, is a compound-infused soap designed specifically to aid in the treatment of skin cancer. A notable aspect of this invention is its affordability, with each bar priced at just $0.50, offering a more accessible treatment option compared to traditional skin cancer therapies.

But Heman's vision doesn't stop here. Over the next five years, he aims to refine his invention and establish a nonprofit to distribute this budget-friendly solution to communities in need. His ultimate goal is to make skin cancer treatment accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances.

The competition culminated at the 3M global headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Heman competed against nine other finalists and emerged victorious. This remarkable achievement not only earned him the prestigious title but also a $25,000 monetary award, which could potentially further his noble cause.

This year's contest also highlighted other young innovators. The second-place award went to Shripriya Kalbhavi, a ninth-grader from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, California, who developed EasyBZ, an affordable microneedle patch for self-automated drug delivery without pills or needles. The third-place honor was awarded to Sarah Wang, a seventh-grader from The Pike School in Andover, Massachusetts, who created the Spring Epilepsy Detection Glove, a device capable of detecting specific epileptic seizures through routine hand motions, while also monitoring seizure statistics via a smartphone app.

Throughout the competition, participants were evaluated on their creative thinking, application of STEM principles, and ability to inspire others with their passion, research, and presentation skills. With a 16-year history, this competition has been a fertile ground for young minds, some of whom have gone on to deliver TED Talks, secure patents, establish nonprofits, make it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and even present their innovations at the White House Science Fair.

At such a young age, Heman has shown a level of compassion, intelligence, and determination that's truly inspiring. His Melanoma Treating Soap is a step forward in the medical field and very necessary for anybody battling skin cancer.

Blnded Bliss is thrilled to feature Heman Bekele's incredible achievement on our Blnded Blog. His amazing story shows the amazing potential of soap, a humble everyday item, to drive significant change. This tale of young brilliance impresses us at Blnded Bliss, where we continually strive to offer our own handcrafted soaps that not only delight the senses but also promote wellness and community improvement. Kudos to Heman!

 If you are interested, you may watch his video presentation below: 

Back to blog

1 comment

To God be the glory! Thank you Heman for using the God given gift of a beautiful mind to reach out and help others!

Sabrina Husack

Leave a comment