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Any student who is enrolled in and attending his or her last year of secondary school (public, private, or parochial) in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake and Midway Islands, or the Marianas may apply. Also, students who are US citizens enrolled in their senior or 12th grade of secondary school attending a Department of Defense Dependents School, an accredited overseas American or International School, and a foreign school either as an exchange student; or because his/her parent(s) are temporarily working and living abroad, may also apply.
Students choose a specific area of science in which to perform individual science research. They work from home, find a scientist in an area of their interest or apply to a pre-existing research program for high school students, sometimes during the summer. No aspects of research performed as a team can be submitted as part of an application. After research is complete, they write a 20-page report (maximum) explaining their experiments and conclusions. Students then complete an online application, request recommendations from teachers and mentors through the system, and send a paper copy of their official school transcripts through the mail to SSP. More details are provided in the complete Rules and Entry Instructions.
Entries are reviewed by three or more Ph.D. scientists, mathematicians, or engineers. Semifinalists and finalists are selected by the judges, using all available entry evidence, with greatest weight given to the Research Report. Judges are looking for students exhibiting exceptional research skills, a commitment to academics and to their communities, innovative thinking, and promise as a scientist.
Through a generous grant from Intel, semifinalists, finalists and their schools receive awards. 300 semifinalists are awarded $1,000 to support the students’ pursuit of careers in science, math, and other disciplines. Students’ high schools receive $1,000 to enrich programs in science, math, and engineering.
All 40 finalists are awarded at least $7,500. They also win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for the Intel Science Talent Institute where they explain their research to some of the country’s top scientists and compete for the top 10 awards, ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.
Society for Science & the Public (SSP) has administered the Science Talent Search since its inception in 1942. SSP is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education. To learn more about SSP, please sign up for the SSP Newsletter.
Seeking to increase the spotlight on the need to improve math and science education in the United States, Intel assumed the title sponsorship of the Intel STS in 1998 from Westinghouse. Over the history of their sponsorship, Intel has increased the annual awards for schools and finalists from $207,000 to $1,250,000.
Intel believes that young people are the key to solving global challenges, and a solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and digital literacy are crucial for their success. That is why Intel gets directly involved in education programs, advocacy, and technology access to enable tomorrow’s innovators. Intel's sponsorship of the Intel STS is part of the Intel® Innovation in Education initiative, a sustained commitment—in collaboration with educators and government leaders worldwide.
Please see the Compete Page for details on how to get involved. If you have more questions, please contact SSP.
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