No. References should be included, and they will not be counted against the final word limit. The title also does not count toward the word limit.
The 2017 EngineerGirl Essay Contest is now open! Students (both boys and girls) in grades 3-12 can submit an essay with their engineering ideas for helping vulnerable and endangered animals. See more about the contest! Also, come see us at this year's Invent It Build It Expo on October 29th in Philadelphia!