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The DuPont Science Essay Contest: Exploring Scientific Ideas and Making a Lasting Impact

For over 30 years, the DuPont Science Essay Contest has been a platform for high school students to showcase their scientific knowledge, explore new ideas, and communicate their findings. Established in 1986, the contest has awarded more than $500,000 in savings bonds to students and their schools. In this article, we will delve into the history, impact, and success stories of the DuPont Science Essay Contest.

History and Purpose

In 1986, the DuPont Company founded the DuPont Science Essay Contest to encourage high school students to explore scientific issues and communicate their findings. The contest aimed to promote academic excellence, scientific literacy, and critical thinking skills among young people. The first contest attracted over 4,000 entries from students across all 50 states, and since then, the contest has become an annual tradition for many high schools.

The contest rules have changed over the years, but the core purpose remains the same: to inspire and reward young people for their scientific inquiry and creativity. The topics of the essays have included a wide range of scientific disciplines, from chemistry and biology to engineering and physics. The topics are designed to be challenging but open-ended, to encourage students to think outside the box and explore new ideas.

Success Stories

Over the years, the DuPont Science Essay Contest has produced many talented and successful young scientists, researchers, and engineers. Here are some of the most inspiring success stories:

  • Elizabeth Marincola, who won in 2010, is now a Materials Engineer at Intel Corporation, where she develops new technologies for computer chips.
  • Harisimran Khalsa, who won in 2009, is now a Medical Physics Ph.D. candidate at Duke University, where he studies the use of radiation to treat cancer.
  • Amy Zhang, who won in 2008, is now a Senior Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where she analyses global economic trends.
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These winners, and many others like them, have gone on to make significant contributions to their fields, thanks in part to the opportunities and recognition provided by the DuPont Science Essay Contest.

Contest Process

The DuPont Science Essay Contest is judged by a panel of experts, including scientists, educators, and DuPont employees. The judges evaluate the essays based on several criteria, including originality, clarity, and scientific accuracy. The essays are also graded on grammar, organization, and style.

The top winners are awarded savings bonds, with the amount varying depending on the level of competition: $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place, and $2,000 for third place. In addition, honorable mentions and other special prizes may also be awarded.

Tips for Success

If you are a high school student considering entering the DuPont Science Essay Contest, here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Choose a topic that you are passionate about, but also one that is scientifically interesting and relevant to current issues.
  • Conduct thorough and accurate research, using credible sources and data.
  • Create an outline or a plan for your essay, to ensure that your ideas flow logically and that you cover all the essential points.
  • Edit and proofread your essay thoroughly, to avoid grammatical errors, typos, and other mistakes.
  • Be creative and engaging, using examples, anecdotes, and other literary devices to make your essay stand out.


The DuPont Science Essay Contest is more than just a competition: it is a chance for high school students to explore scientific ideas, develop critical thinking skills, and communicate their knowledge to a wider audience. The contest has inspired and rewarded hundreds of young people over the years, and it continues to be a significant platform for scientific inquiry and creativity.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to participate in the DuPont Science Essay Contest?A. The contest is open to high school students in the U.S. and its territories, as well as students enrolled in American schools abroad. Students must be in grades 7 through 12 to participate.

Q. What is the deadline for entries?A. The deadline for entries varies each year, but it is usually in the early months of the year. The website of the contest is the best place to check the most up-to-date guidelines.

Q. Where can students find more information about the contest and how to enter?A. Students can find more information about the contest, including rules, guidelines, and previous winning essays, on the official DuPont Science Essay Contest website.

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