Taylor Sloop's 2023 winning essay featured in Stewardship Science magazine.

The DOE NNSA SSGF launched its annual essay contest in 2011 to give current and former fellows an opportunity to write about their work with a broad, non-technical audience in mind.

The competition, open to fellows and alumni, encourages better communication of stewardship science priorities and their value to society. Participants write a brief essay on a topic of personal interest, such as their career path and inspiration or their research and its importance.


Winners are recognized at the DOE NNSA SSGF Annual Program Review and receive a cash prize, plus the opportunity to work with a professional science writer to critique and copy-edit their essays.

With the exception of 2015, an excerpt of each winning essay was published in Stewardship Science, the annual DOE NNSA SSGF publication. Click on any of the years listed below to access the excerpt or full text.

  • 2023 Taylor Sloop: The Power of Pores
  • 2022 Olivia Pardo: Planetary Black Rocks
  • 2021 Sophia Farrell: Into the Darkness
  • 2020 — No Winner
  • 2019 Erin Good: When Physics Becomes Art
  • 2018 — No Winner
  • 2017 Benjamin Galloway: Laser Science is Not Mad Science
  • 2016 Mareena Robinson Snowden: Dark Room, Bright Ideas
  • 2015 Cameron Meyers: Silly Putty World
  • 2014 Juan Manfredi: Starstruck
  • 2013 Evan Davis: Bottling the Sun
  • 2012 Christopher Yang: A Plasma State of Mind
  • 2011 Stephanie Lyons: A Science Nerd Spreads the Word, and Josh Renner: Aware of Our Surroundings