About the Contest

The Virginia Council on Women (Council) will provide one merit-based and one need-based scholarship to high school seniors in each of the five geographic regions across the Commonwealth through a STEM essay contest. This year, merit-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay submitted, and the need-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay and the individual's self-identified financial need. Award amounts may vary and are determined by the Council annually.  

Contest Timeline

Contest launches: Friday, October 18, 2019
Contest ends: Friday, January 10, 2020
Scholarship award recipients notified: Friday, February 28, 2020
Scholarship award recipients reception: Spring 2020
Scholarship dispersed: July 2020

Contest Eligibility Requirements

All applicants for the Virginia Council on Women STEM Essay Contest must:

Merit-Based
  • Be a Virginia resident
  • Be enrolled in a Virginia-based high school
  • Be a high school senior female or identify as a female
  • Be planning to attend an institution of higher education to include but not limited to a community college, four-year college or university, trade or technical school, online, and/or through certificate STEM oriented courses. Call for more details.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA (4.0 Scale)
Need-Based
  • Be a Virginia resident
  • Be enrolled in a Virginia-based high school
  • Be a high school senior female or identify as a female
  • Be planning to attend an institution of higher education to include but not limited to a community college, four-year college or university, trade or technical school, online, and/or through certificate STEM oriented courses. Call for more details.
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA (4.0 Scale)

Contest Guidelines

Essay Prompt
Write a 700-1,000-word essay responding to the following:

  • Your motivation for pursuing a STEM career
  • Your anticipated course of STEM study, trade, and/or profession

Judging Criteria

All essays are judged on the following:

  • Content
  • Creativity
  • Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar

About the Geographic Regions:
For the purposes of the STEM Essay Contest, the Virginia Council on Women has identified five geographic regions across the Commonwealth of Virginia. One individual from each of the regions below will be selected as a scholarship award recipient.

Accomack, Belle Haven, Carrsville, Chesapeake, Essex, Franklin, Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, James City, King George, Lancaster, Machipongo, Mathews, Middlesex, Newport News, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, Portsmouth, Poquoson, Smithfield, Suffolk, Surry, Virginia Beach, Westmoreland, Williamsburg, York, Yorktown
Bland, Bristol, Brunswick, Buchanan, Carroll, Charlotte, Danville, Dickenson, Emporia, Floyd, Galax, Grayson, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Lee, Lunenburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Norton, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Southampton, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, Wythe
Albemarle, Amelia, Ashland, Bowling Green, Buckingham, Caroline, Charles City, Charlottesville, Chester, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Crozet, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Earlysville, Fluvanna, Glen Allen, Goochland, Greene, Hanover, Henrico, Hopewell, King & Queen, King William, Locust Grove, Louisa, Petersburg, Richmond, Madison, Maidens, Midlothian, Moseley, Nelson, New Kent, Orange, Powhatan, Prince George, Rappahannock, Sandston, Sussex, Woodford
Afton, Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Blacksburg, Botetourt, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Campbell, Cave, Christiansburg, Covington, Craig, Eagle Rock, Elkton, Fincastle, Fishersville, Forest, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Glade Hill, Gore, Hardy, Harrisonburg, Highland, Hurt, Lexington, Lynchburg, McGaheysville, Montgomery, Natural Bridge, Page, Penn Laird, Pulaski, Radford, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Rocky Mount, Salem, Shenandoah, Staunton, Star Tannery, Stephen’s City, Troutville, Union Hall, Vinton, Waynesboro, Weyer’s Cave, Winchester
Aldie, Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Bealeton, Bristow, Burke, Catlett, Centreville,  Chantilly, Clarke, Dumfries, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, Hamilton, Haymarket, Herndon, Lindsay Court, Lorton, Loudon, Lovettsville, Manassas, Manassas Park,  McLean,  Midland, Oak Hill, Oakton, Prince William, Purcellville, Reston, Round Hill, Spotsylvania, Springfield, Stafford, Sterling, Triangle, Vienna, Warren, Waterford, Woodbridge