WILMINGTON, DEL -- The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is seeking entries starting Nov. 15. The DuPont Challenge, in its 25th year and created to honor the memory of the heroes of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle, is true to the flight's educational mission -- to "touch the future." The competition also celebrates 25 years of inspiring students to excel and achieve in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

"Education is crucial to the future of American competitiveness. We must keep America at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and technological innovation. To achieve this, we need to inspire students and teachers to share in our excitement for the possibilities innovation can bring to our growing population by encouraging the pursuit of careers in science, engineering and related fields," said DuPont chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. "The DuPont Challenge provides an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity and advance their contributions to a better society through scientific discovery, invention and innovation."

All students in grades 7-12 across the United States and Canada may submit their essay entries from Nov. 15 to Jan. 31, 2012. Essays are evaluated in two divisions: Junior Division (grades 7, 8 and 9) and Senior Division (grades 10, 11 and 12). The DuPont Challenge offers more than $100,000 in prizes and awards. The top three winners in each division plus a parent and their sponsoring science teacher receive an expenses-paid trip to The Walt Disney World® Resort and Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla., in addition to savings bonds for the winning students and grants for their sponsoring teachers.

For the 2012 competition year, The DuPont Challenge has added Britannica Digital Learning as its newest sponsor. Britannica Digital Learning, a division of Encyclopædia Britannica, will be providing a selection of its high-quality interactive products as prizes for the winning students and their schools, as well as for students earning honorable mention.

To obtain information on entry requirements and rules and regulations, as well as awards and prizes for all levels, students and teachers should visit www.thechallenge.dupont.com.

As additional inspiration for this year's competition, The DuPont Challenge has assembled collectible trading cards featuring 25 "STEM Women All-Stars," female scientists who have made significant STEM contributions to our lives. DuPont invites teachers and students to celebrate The DuPont Challenge by collecting all 25 of these science superstars.

The 2012 DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is sponsored by DuPont in collaboration with NBC Learn, Britannica Digital Learning, The Walt Disney World® Resort, NASA, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and A+ Media.

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