Science Center 25th Anniversary Contest

“Fix the Future” – Using Science, Technology and Education to Address 21st Century Problems.

The world is in trouble, but you can fix it! Welcome to the Plainsboro Library’s “Fix the Future” contest – part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration for our Science Center.

Students in Middle School and High School are invited to submit a proposal addressing one of the following Global Problems using science, technology, education and any other tools they can bring to bear on the problem. “Fix the Future” is a two round contest.

Global Problems

  1. Climate Change
  2. Ocean Conservation
  3. Energy Self-Sufficiency
  4. Food and Water Security/Sustainability
  5. Viral Outbreaks
  6. Education Inequality
  7. Overpopulation
  8. Lack of human rights
  9. Gender Inequality
  10. Disaster relief/refugee relief
  11. Other: _____________


Round 1: General Proposals – Contestants in this round submit proposal forms describing theoretical ways they would address one of the Global Problems using a combination of methods. General Submissions will run from May 1st to May31st


General Submissions may be based on current and emerging scientific thinking, but  the General Submissions themselves must be original works.

Submissions must be sent via email to, dated no later than 11:59pm EST on May 31st. The email subject line must read: FIX THE FUTURE: (your name)


Round 2: Solution Presentations – from the General Submissions, 10 contestants will be invited to give a more developed 5 minute proposal at the library during the 25th Anniversary of the Science Center on June 15th, 2019 at 1pm. Solution Presentations can be no longer than 5 minutes, with the potential for questions from the judges. Guidelines for Solution Presentations and the judging rubric will be presented to the ten Round 2 competitors.


The Solution Presentation will be made to a panel of judges including:

A representative from Princeton Biolabs

A representative from Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

Frank O’Brien – NASA Solar System Ambassador

Madiha Jafri – Lockheed Martin Corporation

Ilene Palena – a former sociology professor and social worker



Ten Finalists get a special tour of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

The Overall Winner gets to present their idea at a Princeton Biolab networking event, as well as $50 3D printing credit at the library and a $100 gift card


Proposal Guidelines


Make sure your writing is clear, concise, and no more than 2 pages. Proposal should include research on chosen subject involving facts that are properly cited. The style of citation is up to you. Please do not include graphs, charts or pictures in the proposal. Header of proposal should include name, age, grade, school, and email/phone number.

  • Introduce problem and define your issue
    • Make sure your audience can clearly understand what the problem your addressing is and define any terminology they may not know
    • Think about answering the following questions:
      • What is the history of issue?
      • What are the reasons behind the issue?
  • Define your solution
    • Make sure to focus on the technology/science/holistic solutions you are using
    • Think about answering the following questions:
      • How is your solution different/better from others previously used to address this problem?
      • What is your solutions overall objective?
      • Does your solution involve scalability (will it work for large and small scale problem areas?)
  • Outline the steps involved for your solution
    • This can include, but is not limited to:
      • Schedule
      • Budget and budget sources (we do not need exact numbers)
      • Manpower
      • Technology/scientific/holistic resources needed
      • Timeline of implementation
  • Define the impact of your solution
    • Think about answering the following questions:
      • What are the positive impacts?
      • Negative impacts?
      • What is the sustainability of your solution?
      • What are the potential obstacles to the implementation and sustainability of your solutions? How can they be addressed/prevented?