2017 EngineerGirl Essay Contest - Engineering and Animals

The 2017 Essay Contest is finished. Congratulations to our winners! Check back in September 2017 when we will post the 2018 competition.

Engineering and Animals

Engineering and Animals photo


Engineers affect everything about the way people live, so it is not surprising that they also have a big impact on the animal world.  Environmental engineers, for example, are often tasked with evaluating projects in order to minimize negative effects on valuable animal species. In some cases, engineers have developed ingenious solutions to help animals and people share the planet.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a list, known as the IUCN Red List, which ranks the conservation status of thousands of species.  For your essay, choose an animal that is ranked by IUCN as either: vulnerableendangered, or critically endangered. Learn about the animal and consider how engineering might improve life for that species.  To prepare your essay consider the following questions:

  • Why did you choose this species, and what problem or problems does it face?
  • What ideas have already been tested that may help to design a solution and begin solving those problems?
  • What specific solution would you suggest to help solve the problems faced by this species?
  • Aside from the animals, who would benefit from your proposed solution?
  • Are there any policies or standards currently in place that would affect the way your solution could be implemented?
  • Who would have to be involved in implementing the proposed solution?
  • Who should fund the proposed solution?


To enter the contest:

Elementary School Students (grades 3-5); Essays must be 400 to 700 words.

Imagine that you are an engineer.  Identify an organization that might implement your proposed solution and write a letter to the leader of that organization.  In your letter, describe your proposed solution in detail, explain how it should be implemented, and discuss why it is important to implement. To strengthen your submission think of questions the leader may have about your solution, and attempt to answer them in your letter.

Middle School Students in (grades 6-8); Essays must be 600 to 1100 words.

Imagine that you are an engineer working with an organization to implement your proposed solution.  Write a project summary for the organization’s public relations (PR) department.  Describe the solution in detail and explain what is new or novel about your approach.  Identify who would be involved in the design, testing, manufacturing, and distribution stages of the project and how they work together to implement the solution.  Your summary has to provide the PR department with enough information that they can respond to questions about and help promote the project.

High School Students (grades 9-12); Essays must be 1000 to 1500 words.

Imagine that you are an engineer in an engineering firm poised to implement your proposed solution in a specific location and/or situation.  Write a proposal to the organization that would fund this project.   Describe the solution in detail and explain how and why it should be implemented.  Describe the expertise available at your imaginary firm and explain how any other groups might need to be involved in the design, manufacturing, and distribution processes.  Explain what has already been tried or is already known about this type of solution and what would be new or innovative.  Describe how you will test or anticipate failure for any new innovations to minimize risk. Describe exactly what this project would aim to achieve, and make a case for why the cost would be justified.

Be sure to read the full Rules and Requirements:
(Read Online) (Download PDF)

Contest Deadline February 1

Submit your essay via the
Online Submission Form
by February 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm EST.

This competition is made possible by the generous support of our contest sponsors:

Chevron Logo                 KIETS Logo


Submissions will be judged by a slate of volunteers that include professionals from various engineering fields.

Finalists will be judged by the EngineerGirl Steering Committee based on the following criteria:

  1. Effectiveness in communicating ideas and fully addressing the requirements of the contest;
  2. Accurate research and analytical thinking;
  3. Creativity and originality in the content selection and presentation

More Information


Winners in each grade category will receive the prizes listed below:

First-place winners will be awarded $500.
Second-place entries will be awarded $250.
Third-place entries will be awarded $100.

All winning entries will be published on the EngineerGirl website.
Honorable Mention entries will not receive a cash award but will be published on the EngineerGirl website.

More Information

Citing Resources:

All essays must be original work, and resources must be clearly cited.

For each resource you use to research your essay, include the following in the references section:

  1. Title
  2. Author
  3. Date.
  4. Location

More Information


Read the full Contest Rules and Requirements:
(Read Online) (Download PDF)