About the Contest: 

Perricone MD and the Scientista Foundation are on a search for bold, visionary young women in STEM who are looking to make an impact in their respective fields. The Scientista “Born Seekers” Video Contest  aims to identify women in STEM who embody the spirit of a “Born Seeker.” A born seeker is someone who is in the passionate pursuit of the truth. The work they do pushes boundaries and meaningfully impacts society on a local, national, sometimes global level.

The women selected as our 2018 Scientista Born Seekers will build skills in communication and leadership, serving as role models for the next generation of scientists, engineers, doctors, and STEM professionals.  Our four finalists will receive a $20,000 scholarship, and will be invited to present a 10 minute talk to share their unique Born Seeker story at the annual Scientista Symposium, the leading conference for college and graduate women in STEM. 

All eligible persons are invited to submit an entry addressing the following topic: How do you embody a Born Seeker? Your answer should share your unique story of how you currently embody or hope to embody the values of curiosity , drive, and perseverance .  This entry can be a video of your speech, or a written script. Please note that video submissions may be scored higher than written submissions, and video submissions are highly encouraged.

The deadline to submit all materials is December 28th, 2018.  Finalists will be notified by the end of January 2019.


The Contest is open to women who are currently enrolled in college (undergraduate students and graduate students), or young professionals who have a degree in science, technology, engineering, math or medicine (STEMM) who are working in a STEMM-related field. 

The 2018 Video Contest is open to citizens of the United States and permanent residents.
For more information about eligibility, please see our FAQ section or email us at bornseekers@scientistafoundation.org.


First Place prizes will be awarded in the amount of $20,000 to four recipients in one of four categories: based on need, tuition, internships, consistent with the pursuit in the truth they are seeking. There will be one winner from each category: 

College (Undergraduate) Scientista Born Leader

Masters Scientista Born Leader

PhD Scientista Born Leader

Young Professional Scientista Born Leader

First Place Awardees will also receive an all expense-paid trip (economy class travel and two-night hotel stay Boston, MA) to present their talk at the 2019 Scientista Symposium on March 30, 2019.

Finalists will also be provided with complimentary registrations to the Scientista Symposium and will have their submissions featured on our website.


Entry Guidelines

Entries should feature the applicant’s unique personal story. We want to know why your unique background makes you a born seeker. 

Applicants should keep in mind that this is a speech competition rather than a video competition. Submissions will be evaluated based on the quality of the content of the speech and their unique story. So long as entries are audible and speakers are visible, entries will not be evaluated based on on quality of the videography, such as the quality of the lighting, audio, or any special videography techniques. That being said, please be sure that you are on a plain backdrop (like a blank wall) and that you are clearly audible. Judges need to be able to hear your speech, and should not be distracted by your backdrop.

Videos should only feature the applicant - including family members, children, or any other person (or pet) in your video will disqualify you from the competition. This competition should be about the quality of the speech, not about props or gimmicks.

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Choose a focus for your story -- The most effective 3 minute speeches have a clear message with a simple structure.  Try to keep your talk simple by keeping to a single message, theme, or anecdote. (eg. a special accomplishment, a goal you are working toward, an attribute that you possess). For more advice on how to write an effective 3 minute speech, check out this article.
  2. Write it out!  -- It often helps people to write out their speech before performing it. The average person speaks at somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute, so your speech should be roughly 390 words to stick to the 3 minute guideline.
  3. Practice delivery --  Once you know what you want to say, the next step is to decide how you’re going to say it. Giving a talk through a video, in particular a talk about oneself, can be an awkward experience for even the most seasoned speaker! As a rule of thumb, it is always better to speak more slowly than quickly. Remember, practice makes perfect! You may want to to try recording and listening to yourself a couple of times before recording the final submission. We recommend practicing in front of one or two close friends for feedback. If English isn’t your native language, seek out someone who can help you with clarity. 

Should you wish to submit a written script, this will be accepted for the first round. Written entries may be scored up to 5 points lower (out of 30), so we would recommend submitting a video entry.

Evaluation Criteria

Video submissions will be evaluated based on:

  1. How unique the story, ideas or proposals.
  2. How well the individual embodies the characteristics of a “born seeker.” 
  3. How well the story is conveyed (i.e. the quality of writing, style, and clarity).
  4. Voice Quality

Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of professionals from across STEM disciplines. 

Talks that are not spoken in English or are longer than 5 minutes will not be considered. 

Written submission will be graded on the same criteria, but will recieve 0 points for voice quality.

Brandy Grove