Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest 

martyna p Competitions

The Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest is a program of the Vaccine Makers Project (VMP), presented by the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (VEC). The VMP provides free school-based materials about the immune system, diseases, vaccines, STEM careers, and evaluating information.


Students in grades 6 to 12* living in the United States (including District of Columbia and U.S. Territories) or Canada and enrolled in a public, private, cyber, religious or charter school or who attend a home school pro­gram can participate. First and second place will be awarded in the high school and middle school categories in each country. 
*Grades 6 to 11 in Quebec  


Learn about Dr. Hilleman, and write a 500- to 1,000-word essay that responds to this prompt: “Dr. Hilleman made his impact on the world through the development of vaccines. What scientific issue would you take on if given the chance and why?” Essay should be written in English for U.S. submissions and English or French for Canadian submissions using complete sentences and appropriate grammar. One entry per person. See “Official Rules” for complete details.  

Winners will receive:

Cash prize:

  • 1st place US$500
  • 2nd place US$250
  • Winner certificate 
  • Recognition at a virtual award event in May, 2024
    Event will be hosted by Dr. Paul Offit – VEC director, vaccine inventor and Hilleman biographer. The event will also include special guests and student winners reading their essays.