Pennsylvania is home to some of the most technologically diverse and scientifically sophisticated companies in the world. With these avenues for employment existing in our communities, it is important that students develop an understanding of STEM concepts and gain STEM competencies. The Governor’s PA STEM Competition is an annual themed academic contest for students in grades 9-12 that is focused on exposing students to STEM concepts, skills, and occupations. This year’s theme is “Innovating the Commonwealth through Collaboration and Computing.” The purpose of the competition is to increase STEM-related educational opportunities for students at the regional and state levels. Furthermore, the PA STEM Competition intends to raise awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
Teams of high school students from across the Commonwealth are challenged to select a real-world problem, conduct research, design, build and present a device that is capable of making the quality of life better for citizens of Pennsylvania.
Throughout the challenge, students engage with their local community to learn about STEM careers and the skills necessary to be employable and successful in STEM-related Pennsylvania industries. Developing solutions to problems rooted in the community will build the skills necessary for students to be successful in postsecondary STEM opportunities. To culminate the experience, students present their device and findings to a panel of judges. The challenge tests the teams’ communication, problem-solving, critical thinking skills and creativity, while providing a unique opportunity to share their creativity with students from across the state.
2023-24 Competition Details
Two Options for 2024 Competition
There will be two options school teams can choose from for the 2024 competition:
Option A: STEM Prototype with Digital Poster
- This option is for those who wish to have the opportunity to participate in person at the State Finals.
- STEM Prototype with Digital Poster Scoring Components
- Written Proposal: Minimum 500, Maximum 2,000-word document submitted no later than March 6, 2024.
- Video Presentation: 10-minute minimum, 20-minute maximum presentation recorded and submitted no later than March 6, 2024.
- Digital Poster demonstrates the scientific and engineering process that students engaged in while designing the team’s prototype.
- Project submissions are categorized in one of two divisions:
- Division 1: Those who competed in the STATE COMPETITION in the last 5 years.
- Division 2: Those who have not competed in the STATE COMPETITION in the last 5 years.
- Top 20 projects will advance to the State Finals at PaTTAN Harrisburg
Option B: Digital Poster
- The purpose of creating a Digital Poster is to demonstrate the scientific and engineering process students engaged in, while developing and designing their school’s STEM class, program, or club.
- Option B is for those teams who do not wish to participate in person.
- School teams will submit their posters digitally.
- Posters will be printed by PaTTAN, displayed at Finals, and then mailed to school teams.
- No formal judging will occur for poster submissions.
- Digital badges and Certificates of Participation will be provided to participating student teams.
- Approved mentors are not permitted to contribute to the development or creation of digital components for the team’s poster.
Regardless of each student team's participation in the competition, a team is limited to a maximum of five students in grades 9 through 12. Students must be associated with a public, charter, or private school, a career and technical education center, or homeschooled in Pennsylvania. Each student team must work under the guidance of an approved school mentor.
Registered teams will receive a one-time $600 to cover the costs of materials for their project/prototype. Any team that drops out prior to the competition will be required to return the stipend in its entirety. For more information, please visit the STEM Team Requirements page and scroll to Team Stipend.
December 12, 2023 - Team registration form closes
January 9, 2024 - Stipends sent to schools (estimated date)
March 6, 2024 - Project submission and media consent form closes at 9:00 p.m.
March 7 - 27, 2024 - Round 1 of judging will occur virtually
March 28, 2024 - Top 20 teams notified and invited to State Finals via email
May 8, 2024 - State Finals at PaTTAN Harrisburg, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
For other important dates, please visit the PDE website here.
Who is eligible to participate?
The competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12 who attend a public, charter, or private school, a career and technical education center, or a student being homeschooled in Pennsylvania.
Does the Governor's STEM Competition cost anything to enter?
No. Registered teams will receive a one-time $600 to cover the costs of materials for their project/prototype. Any team that drops out prior to the competition will be required to return the stipend in its entirety.
How many students can enter on one team?
A team consists of up to five (5) students in grades 9-12.
Can my home-schooled student(s) be on a team?
Yes. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Do team members have to be from the same school?
Are teams required to partner with a local business, higher education institution, or community organization?
Yes. Part of the development, research, testing, and iteration of your device/prototype requires a local business, higher education institution, or community organization connection to be made.