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The challenge invited graduate students from across the nation to submit innovative ideas to prepare them for tomorrow's opportunities and challenges. Entrants were encouraged to submit ideas with the potential to improve graduate education and professional development. Ideas could be oriented to students, faculty, departments, institutions, professional societies, and/or federal agencies. Participation in the challenge was limited to currently-enrolled STEM graduate students. They were invited to submit by April 15, 2013, a 1,000- to 1,500-word response to this challenge.

The challenge was launched at a time when graduate education in STEM could be considered to be at a crossroads. Several reports have recently raised concerns about graduate education in STEM and the need to better prepare students for a range of career options in an increasingly global and competitive world. The challenge specifically asked for students to voice their ideas in the broader discussion of graduate education.

The challenge, developed and administered by NSF's Division of Graduate Education, offered cash prizes to first-, second- and third-place winners, selected by a panel of judges of current and recent STEM graduate students as well as experts in higher education in two rounds of judging. In addition, the public at large was invited to vote for their favorite submission from among 53 finalists to select the Community Choice winner, who also won a cash prize.

More than 500 teams submitted entries to the challenge, representing more than 700 STEM graduate students, 155 universities/institutions and 47 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

graduate school

Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University is a nationally recognized Catholic University that promises students of all diverse backgrounds – regardless of ages and faiths challenging, practical education that inspires them to discover knowledge, build community and lead...

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National Louis University

National Louis University is one of the oldest and most progressive universities in Chicago. We offer more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through two colleges: The National College of Education and The College of Professional...

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New England College

Prepare for a competitive job market with an undergraduate degree from regionally accredited New England College. A private college rooted in a strong liberal arts foundation, NEC offers degrees in these diverse disciplines, 100% online.

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Northcentral University

Northcentral University was founded with the goal of providing accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. NCU currently serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degrees in the Schools of Business..

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Norwich University

At Norwich, you’ll develop traits common among leaders in every profession—discipline, integrity, confidence, loyalty and honor—through a wide range of opportunities that will empower you in ways you never imagined. At the core is a rigorous academic...

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