STEM Essay Contest – 2022

Women have not always been recognized for their contributions in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The McLean Area Branch is sponsoring its fourth annual STEM Essay Contest in 2022 to challenge 7th and 8th grade students, girls and boys, to discover and publicize women including women of color (non-white) who made a difference in STEM fields, but who received little or no recognition for their contributions while they were alive. Strong preference is given to essays about women who are not well known even today. Describe one woman’s STEM contribution and its impact, and clearly state why you selected the woman who is the subject of your essay.

NOTE: The contest is open ONLY to students at the following local McLean schools: Cooper, Longfellow, The Langley School, The Potomac School, St. John Academy, St. Luke Catholic School, and BASIS Independent McLean.

Essay Guidelines:
-Essays must be no more than 500 words and include a bibliography with 3-5 sources (not part of the 500 words). Do not include photos or graphics.
-Essays will be judged for effectiveness in addressing the theme (description of the contribution, its impact, and your reason for selecting the woman), writing style (including organization, clarity, accuracy, originality in style, and word choice), and mechanics (including punctuation, grammar, spelling, and bibliography).
-Essays must be the student’s original work. Information from sources should be stated in your own words. If an essay is found to contain plagiarism or factual errors, it will not eligible for an award.

An application form can be downloaded here:
In fillable PDF format: 2022 STEM Essay Contest Application-PDF Fillable
As a Word document: 2022 STEM Essay Contest Application-Word-FINAL

The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, February 11, 2022, at 11:00 pm EST. No late submissions will be accepted. Only one essay submission per student is permitted.

Essay Prizes:
-First Place $100, Second Place $50, Honorable Mention (2 Prizes) $25
-Winners will be notified by email.
-The student awarded First Place must be able to attend the virtual AAUW McLean Area Branch Event on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, starting at 6:30 p.m. to receive the award and will be invited to read his or her essay at the event. All winners and their parents or guardians will be invited to participate in the virtual event.
Any questions about the STEM Essay Contest may be sent to Judy Page, STEM Chair, at
For information on the winners of the 2021 STEM Essay Contest, click here.

Return to the STEM Main Page.