EngineerGirl Announces 2021 Writing Contest Winners


Thu, June 03, 2021

Washington D.C., June 03, 2021 —

The National Academy of Engineering today announced the winners of its 2021 EngineerGirl writing competition. This year’s contest asked students in grades three to 12 to write an essay that salutes engineering’s role in meeting and defeating the challenges presented by COVID-19. Prizes were awarded to students based on grade level.

“I congratulate all the 2021 writing contest winners on their very thoughtful submissions that highlighted the roles of engineers in addressing COVID-19 challenges,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “These young students showcased the indispensable work of engineers, their creativity and ingenuity, in fighting COVID-19 around the world.” 

Among third to fifth grade students, Madeleine Gamson-Knight, a fifth grader at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, California, placed first for her essay about the creative mindset of engineers. Sixth grader Vivian Foutz from Joseph T. Henley Middle School in Charlottesville, Virginia, won first place among entries from grades six to eight for her essay exploring the ingenuity and resilience of engineers as they designed innovative solutions to help those impacted by COVID-19. Among ninth to 12th graders, Siena Lee, an 11th grader at Asia Pacific International School in Seoul, South Korea, placed first for her essay about the global engineering community’s solidarity and collaborative effort to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 EngineerGirl writing contest was sponsored by Chevron Corp. and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology, and Science. Awards are $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. Certificates are given for honorable mentions. Additional winners are listed below.

Grades three to five:

• Second Place: NItya Parakala, in fourth grade at Williams Elementary School in San Jose, California, for “Engineers on the Battlefield”

• Third Place: Yashvi Sharma, in fifth grade at Auten Road Intermediate School in Hillsborough, New Jersey, for “Tribute to the Contributions of Engineers in the COVID-19 Pandemic”

• Third Place: Mohammad Khair Allah, in fifth grade at Prairie Lane Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, for “Engineers Fight COVID-19”

• Honorable Mention: Anya Pathak, in fifth grade at Greenville Elementary School in Scarsdale, New York, for “The Mask of the Future”


Grades six to eight:

• Second Place: Grace Bartels, in eighth grade at Holly Grove Middle School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, for “Engineering the Future”

• Third Place: Janaisha James, in eighth grade at Robert E. Howard Middle School in Orangeburg, South Carolina, for “Thank You: A Blog Post to Engineers Around the World”

• Honorable Mention: Lynley Janovich, in eighth grade at Beadle Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska, for “Importance of Engineering”

• Honorable Mention: Hannah Brady, in eighth grade at E.T. Richardson Middle School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, for “Engineers from Across the Globe Create Solutions for COVID-19”


Grades nine to 12:

• Second Place: Sadie Bograd, in 12th grade at Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky, for “Finding Solutions Amidst Scarcity: Engineering During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

• Third Place: Mandy Zhang, in 11th grade at Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago, Illinois, for “An Engineer's Journey of Electrifying our Fight Against COVID-19”

• Honorable Mention: Sofa Eisenberg, in ninth grade at Richard Montgomery High School in Bethesda, Maryland, for “Collaboration & Creativity: The Crucial Role of Engineers Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic”

• Honorable Mention: Anne Christiono, in ninth grade at William P. Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas, for “The Badger Shield: From Fighting the Pandemic Locally to Protecting the World”


EngineerGirl is designed for girls in elementary through high school and offers information about various engineering fields and careers, answers to questions, interviews of engineers, and other resources on engineering. Surveys of contest participants indicate that 40 percent of girls say they are more likely to consider an engineering career after writing their essay. EngineerGirl is part of the NAE’s ongoing effort to increase the diversity of the engineering workforce.

The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.

Simil  Raghavan
Contact Simil Raghavan
Director, Inclusive, Diverse, and Equitable Engineering for All (IDEEA) Program
National Academy of Engineering
EngineerGirl STEM