Essay Contest

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The Mineta Transportation Institute Essay Contest invites students, grades 6-12, to propose and explore a solution to a problem centered around a specific theme each year under one or more of the following principles of transportation: sustainability, equity, safety, community, and innovation.

 

 

2022 Theme:

 

In the United States, nearly 70% of students travel to school by car. And yet, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that light-duty vehicles like cars make up 57% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the U.S. transportation sector, which itself is the largest contributor of national GHG emissions. People across the globe are increasingly forced to grapple with unprecedented typhoons, wildfires, floods, and extreme heat. In fact, the New York Times called the summer of 2022 “A Summer of Climate Disasters.” Reexamining U.S. car culture, cutting back on fossil fuel reliant transportation, and increasing our use of more sustainable means would help mitigate some of the most dangerous effects of climate change. Rethinking your ride could help save our planet.​

Essay prompts:

  1. How can we take steps to center your city’s transportation around transit and make it less car-reliant?

  2. How can we bring accessible transportation to rural areas, and why is it important to do so?

  3. Public transportation use saves the U.S. the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. How can we encourage more people to regularly utilize public transportation and fight climate change?


Prizes and Awards!

Two winners will be selected; one from grades 6-9 and one from grades 10-12. Winners will receive $500 and $1,000, respectively, as well as certificates of achievements. All prizes must be claimed by end of the academic school year in which the entries were made. Winning essays will be published on MTI’s website and newsletter.

Ready to Participate?

Essay Requirements

For the contest, students grades 6-9 will write a 500-word-limit essay while students grades 10-12 will write a 1000-word-limit essay as a response to ONE of the essay prompts of their choosing. 

All students enrolled in grades 6-12 in U.S. public, private, and home schools within the United States are encouraged to submit. Only one submission per student is allowed.

All entries must be original work reviewed, approved, and sponsored by a teacher. We will use your sponsoring teacher as a contact for the competition should we have any questions. For homeschooled students, please contact a mentor to sponsor your writing. The teacher/mentor must complete and attach the required cover sheet.

Group 1: Grades 6th - 9th 

Group 2: Grades 10th - 12th 

  • Essays must be the original work of the student. Essays must be between 400 and 500 words. Include the essay prompt of your choosing at the top of the first page, then include the essay title below it.
  • The essay prompt, title, citations, and bibliography are not included in the word count.
  • Essays may be typewritten or legibly handwritten but must be double-spaced.
  • Essays and required cover sheet must be submitted in PDF format.
  • Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be identified properly. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
  • All participants must cite sources they used to research their topic throughout their essay. Please use parenthetical citations within the text. We can not accept citations in footnote form.
  • Essays must include a bibliography. Accepted formats include APA, MLA, or Turabian. You must use a minimum of two selected sources.
  • Essays must be the original work of the student. Essays can be no more than 1,000 words but must be a minimum of 700 words. Include the essay prompt of your choosing at the top of the first page, then include the essay title below it.
  • The essay prompt, title, citations, and bibliography are not included in the word count.
  • Essays may be typewritten or legibly handwritten but must be double-spaced.
  • Essays and required cover sheet must be submitted in PDF format.
  • Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be identified properly. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
  • All participants must cite sources they used to research their topic throughout their essay. Please use parenthetical citations within the text. We can not accept citations in footnote form.
  • Essays must include a bibliography. Accepted formats include APA, MLA, or Turabian. You must use a minimum of five selected sources.

 

Judging Criteria

Total points possible: 15

  1. Content - Understanding of the topic: To what extent did the writer demonstrate a clear understanding of the essay prompt and respond with details about their ideas?

  2. Material Organization & Sources - Effectiveness in presenting a point-of-view, logical interpretation of the subject - clear thesis, and supporting ideas, and factual information

  3. Vocabulary, grammar and spelling - Uses vocabulary related to the transportation industry, use of grammar and spelling

 

Important Dates

January 6, 2023

Essay submittal deadline at 11:59PM

February 8-15, 2023

Winners announced and prizes coordinated with winning students

April 30, 2023

All prizes must be claimed

 

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For questions or concerns regarding this contest, please contact Alverina Weinardy.

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Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: mineta-institute@sjsu.edu