Teen Inventor Named 'America's Next Top Scientist'

America’s Top Young Scientist is only in ninth grade.

Hannah Herbst, 15, invented a device that could provide electricity by harnessing ocean energy in countries that have limited access to power.

She calls it BEACON, which stands for Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy. It was created by Herbst in a collaboration with a 3M scientist.

The prototype earned the Florida Atlantic University High School student the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as the winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

The Boca Raton, Fla. teen says he was inspired by her 10-year-old pen pal who lives in Ethiopia without access to energy power, Herbst explains to WPTV. “I wanted to do something to help them and so, that is my overall goal to deploy it to them.”

Of course, Herbst shared part of her $25,000 prize money with her friend and those who face similar energy needs.

“I recently donated $1,000 to her family, $1,000 to another family and $1,000 to Compassion International Christmas Program, which was amazing to be able to do,” she adds.