Undergraduate Essay Contest: Reflections on Research and Scholarship

For the purposes of this contest, research is defined as broadly as possible and includes research in the sciences as well as scholarship in the social sciences and humanities.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) invites current undergraduates at the George Washington University (GW) to submit an essay that reflects on a research experience during their time as a student. The goal is for students to describe how participating in research and/or working with a research mentor contributed to their GW experience.

When drafting an essay for this contest, students may wish to consider one or more of the following questions:

  • What project were you involved with and what was your role?
  • Was there anything about the project that made it an “only at GW” experience?
  • How did participating in this research project enrich your undergraduate experience?
  • How did mentorship play a role in your experience?
  • Will the experience impact your future education or career choices?
  • How will the skills you learned prepare you for future success?

Submissions are due by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Winners will be announced at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 on the GW Research Days website.


All undergraduate students currently enrolled in a degree program at the George Washington University are eligible to submit an entry. Each student may submit one essay for consideration.

By making a submission, the entrant certifies that the essay is their own work and that the work is consistent with GW’s Code of Academic Integrity.


Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions should not exceed 750 words in length.
  • The described experience must have taken place during the student’s time as an undergraduate at GW.
  • Submissions are due by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
  • Submissions will be accepted via the online submission form.
  • Essays should be submitted as a Microsoft Word or PDF file.
  • The submitted file should include the author’s name and title of the essay in the header or towards the top of the document.
  • An original essay is required. Essays written as part of a student’s coursework are not eligible for this contest.
  • Images, although not prohibited, will not contribute to an essay’s score as part of this contest.


Selection of Prize Recipients

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Entries will be evaluated based on written content, quality of writing, clarity of thought and creativity.

Winners will be announced on the GW Research Days website at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.



OVPR will award up to five cash prizes in the amount of $500 each. The number of prizes will depend on the number and quality of entries received.

Cash prizes will be paid in full with no deductions for taxes or withholding. Recipients will be responsible for paying all resulting income and/or other taxes due as a result of the prize.



Please send any questions to [email protected] with "Essay" in the subject line.