Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter

Physicians for Social Responsibility
Sacramento Chapter


PSR High School Scholarship Essay Contest

The Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility is pleased to announce that its 2021 High School Scholarship Essay Contest is now open to high school seniors in Sacramento and surrounding counties. A total of $15,000 in scholarships will be awarded. Note that the deadline for students to enter the contest is 11:59 PM on Saturday, March 20. See below for full contest details and the link to the online entry form.

·         Essay Topic

  • To enter the 2021 PSR/Sacramento Scholarship Essay Contest, students must submit an original essay of 500 words or fewer describing their thoughts about the following excerpt from the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech given on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons by Executive Director Beatrice Fihn on December 10, 2017:
  • “The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what the ending will be. Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?”

·         Contest Eligibility and Rules

  • Contestants must be high school seniors (or students who entered high school on track to graduate in 2021 but who graduated early) attending school in Sacramento County or in one of the following surrounding counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, or Yuba.
  • Contestants must be in good academic standing.
  • Contestants are encouraged to discuss the essay topic with teachers, parents, friends, and other mentors, but contestants must write the essay themselves in their own words.
  • Contestants who are under the age of 18 must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to enter the contest.
  • PSR/Sacramento employees and board members and their first and second degree relatives are not eligible to enter the contest.
  • To enter the contest, students must submit their essays and demographic information via the online entry system at the following URL: https://www.sacpsr.org/index.php/essay-contest/online-entry/
  • Essays may include a title and footnotes, but these elements are not required. Titles and footnotes do not count toward the 500 word limit.
  • In order to be eligible for a scholarship award, students who are chosen as finalists or alternate finalists must also submit an essay contest signature form which includes:
  • A statement signed by the contestant documenting that the essay being submitted is his or her original work
  • A statement signed by a parent or legal guardian if the student is under age 18 confirming that the parent or guardian approves of the student’s participation in the scholarship essay contest
  • A statement by a school official confirming that the contestant is a student in good standing, on track to graduate from the 12th grade in 2021, or that the student entered high school on track to graduate in 2021 but graduated early. (Note: If students’ schools are not physically in session at the time that they are notified that they have been selected as finalists, students may submit other documentation, such as a transcript or a student body card, in lieu of the signature of a school official.)
  • A blank essay contest signature form will be sent via email to students chosen as finalists or alternate finalists along with the notification of their being chosen.
  • Only one essay will be considered for any individual student. If more than one essay is submitted by an individual student, the last essay submitted will be the one that is considered.
  • The deadline for students to submit their online essay and demographic information is 11:59 PM on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
  • Late entries will not be accepted unless the delay was caused by a malfunction of the PSR/Sacramento server or online entry system.

·         Selection of Scholarship Winners

  • The PSR/Sacramento Steering Committee will establish a panel of PSR members and other qualified individuals in the community to read and rate essays based on accuracy, originality, clarity, cohesiveness, and overall impact.
  • Essay readers will be blinded to student demographic information.
  • The panel will select 10 finalists and two alternate finalists by Monday, April 12, 2021.
  • The 10 finalists and two alternates will be contacted by email and/or telephone on April 12 at the email address and/or telephone number the students provided in their online contest entry forms. The signature forms described above will also be sent as email attachments to the 10 finalists and two alternate finalists at this time.
  • The 10 finalists will be invited to present their essays orally at the essay contest finals event on the evening Sunday, May 2, 2021.
  • If it has been determined by public health officials that it is safe to hold large public gatherings by May 2, 2021, the essay contest finals event may be held in person at a Sacramento venue to be determined.
  • If it has not been determined that it is safe to hold large public gatherings by May 2, 2021, the essay contest finals event will be conducted online via Zoom or other similar virtual meeting platform.
  • Finalists must present their essays orally during the May 2 finals event in order to be eligible for scholarship awards.
  • Finalists must return completed signature forms and confirm by Friday, April 23, that they will be participating in the May 2 finals event, or an alternate finalist may be invited to participate in their place. Alternate finalists must also return their signature forms by April 23 to be eligible for scholarship awards.
  • A panel of judges selected from the community will listen to the essay presentations at the finals event and will ask one question of each finalist concerning his or her presentation. Finalists will be given up to two and a half minutes to respond to the judges’ questions. Following all presentations and questions, judges will choose the first, second, and third place winners, based on the combined quality of the essay presentations and the responses to the judges’ questions.
  • Contest Prizes (Total $15,000)
  • First place winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship; second place a $2,500 scholarship; and third place a $2,000 scholarship
  • The other seven contestants participating in the May 2, 2021 finals event will each receive $1,000 scholarships.
  • If all 10 finalists participate in the finals event, the two alternate finalists will both receive $250 scholarships. If one or more of the 10 finalists cannot participate in the finals event and an alternate finalist takes his or her place, the alternate finalist will instead receive a minimum of a $1,000 scholarship and will be eligible for the first, second, or third place awards.
  • Scholarship awards may be applied toward any post-high school education-related expenses, and the use of the scholarship awards may be deferred until the time at which in person classes resume.
  • If the essay contest finals event is held in person, scholarship checks will be given to students at the event. If the event is not held in person, checks will be mailed to students on the day after the finals event.

Summary of Essay Contest Timeline

  • Deadline for students to enter the contest is 11:59 PM on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
  • The 10 finalists and two alternate finalists will be contacted by email and/or telephone on Monday, April 12, 2021.
  • The deadline for finalists to return completed signature forms and confirm that they will be able to participate in the May 2 essay contest finals event is Friday, April 23, 2021.
  • The essay contest finals event will be held on the evening of Sunday, May 2, 2021.

For additional information or questions, please email essaycontest@sacpsr.org or call (916) 955-6333.

The winning essays in past contests can be accessed via the links below: