Principals' Memo #1002-12

Department of Education

January 10, 2012

TO:  Principals

FROM:  Linda M. Wallinger, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

SUBJECT:  Virginia Council on the Status of Women 2012 STEM Essay Contest

The Virginia Council on the Status of Women (VCSW), in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia, is hosting the 2012 STEM Essay Contest with First Lady Maureen McDonnell serving as Honorary Chairwoman.  The VCSW has initiated several projects, like the 2012 STEM Essay Contest, to meet its goal of assisting women in reaching their potential and maximizing their contributions to society as well as to the Virginia economy.   The Council believes opportunities offered to women early in life will help lead to their success as productive and resourceful citizens.

Applicants must write about their vision for a future STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career and why they are considering the field for an area of study or possible career path using the application found at  The original essay must be 700 to 1,000 words in length and created exclusively for the 2012 VCSW Essay Contest.  Applicants must also be high school juniors or seniors with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.

The awardee will receive a $5,000 scholarship to an institution of higher education.  The scholarship funds are provided through generous donations by SKANSKA, MeadWestvaco, and NewMarket.  Additional winners may be determined by the panel of judges.  The winning essay will be selected and announced by a panel of judges who have degrees in or work in STEM fields. Awards will be presented at the 2012 Annual Up & Atom Women’s Leadership Breakfast on May 16, 2012, at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.

Applicants must use the application noted above and submit their STEM essays by e-mail to by 3 p.m. on February 20, 2012.  Late entries will not be considered.