The SciFest Essay Contest

Write an essay related to the keynote speaker, Ginger Zee, and win a chance to meet her. This year’s SciFest essay question is:

At age 8, keynote speaker Ginger Zee knew she wanted to study meteorology. What science career do you want to pursue and why?


Winners will receive two VIP tickets to attend the keynote presentation on April 20 at Joslyn Art Museum and get passes to meet the speaker at a reception beforehand.


All essays must meet the following requirements:

  • All entrants must live in the state of Nebraska and be enrolled full-time in a public, private or home school
  • Students must be no older than 19 years of age
  • Entrants must answer the following question: In honor of our first woman keynote, tell us who your favorite woman or women in science are, and why.
  • Each student may only submit one essay. However, a teacher/coach may submit multiple essays
  • Do not exceed 1,000 words (150 words minimum)
  • Essay must be word processed in Arial, Times New Roman, or Cambria 12 point font
  • Be in black ink (if handwritten)

Submit Essay

Submit your essay to

Please include the following in your email:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Grade (4-12)
  • School


How they'll be judged

Each category will be judged separately, based on the abilities of students in those grades. Students may not move down to a lower grade-level category. SciFest has three categories:

  • Elementary School Level (Grades 4 – 6)
  • Middle School Level (Grades 7 – 9)
  • High School Level (Grades 10 – 12)

Submission materials will not be returned and will become the property of the Nebraska Science Festival. Please retain a copy for your records. Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions, it is impossible to give individual critiques to participants.

Essays will be judged on creativity, communication and feasibility of topic. To ensure an impartial selection process, the judges will not see student, teacher or school names. Essays must be postmarked by April 1.

Full Contest Rules:

  • All entrants must live in the state of Nebraska and be enrolled full-time in a public, private or home school.
  • All entrants must be under the age of 19 by April 1, 2018.
  • Essay must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2018.
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third party rights or intellectual property of any person, company, or organization. By submitting an essay to this Contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Nebraska Science Festival for any claim, demand, judgment, or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright, or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final. Families of the festival advisory board of directors are not eligible for this contest.
  •  All entries become the property of the Nebraska Science Festival and will not be returned.
  • The Nebraska Science Festival is not responsible if entries do not get to us (ie- lost in the mail, etc.)
  • Winners and all other participants will be notified via e-mail by April 10.
  • Winners are responsible to provide their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Nebraska Science Festival to post their names on any of the festivals affiliated websites and press materials. The winning essays may be posted in their entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author. Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.
  • Winners are responsible for paying any other costs that go along with attending the keynote (ie- transportation, hotel, etc.)