CEF Day 2 2015-681CEF relies on dedicated volunteers—our Challenge Organizers—to organize the Challenge in communities nationwide. With CEF’s support, Organizers work with schools and educators to plan and implement Local and State Challenge competitions. Being an Organizer comes with numerous rewards, most notably seeing students in your community have fun and succeed in science!

How do I become an Organizer?

First, use the interactive Challenge map to see if there is a Local Challenge site in your community. If you would like to support an existing Challenge site, please complete our online Challenge Inquiry Form.

Note that our current focus is on supporting and growing our current Challenge sites. CEF will not support any new Local Challenges in the 2017-2018 cycle. While growth into new localities and states is limited at this time, we still encourage you to contact us so that we may plan for future years.

Current Organizers

AR ChallengeCurrent Organizers can use CEF’s Organizer website to access important Challenge updates and resources, register their Local Challenge site(s), view/edit school registrations, and access Challenge questions. To access the website, Organizers must first create an Organizer Account,which CEF must approve before you may log in.

If you are a current Organizer and are having trouble creating or accessing your Organizer Account, please email us at challenge@chemed.org.

General Organizer Responsibilities & Timeline

The Challenge follows a typical school year calendar. Organizers identify and communicate with schools each fall, serving as the primary contact for School Coordinators and participants leading up to the competition, while planning the competition. Organizers then hold their competitions in the spring (February – April). See below for a basic timeline:

October – December

Local Challenge Organizers use their Organizer Accounts to register their Local Challenge sites online. Organizers identify interested schools and ensure that they register online with the appropriate Challenge site. Organizers begin securing sponsorships and planning for their Challenge event in the spring.

November – January 

Schools continue to register for the appropriate Local Challenge. CEF provides a short, multiple-choice Challenge Qualifier test which schools administer to determine which students will advance to the Local Challenge competition. Local Organizers send registered School Coordinators the Challenge Qualifier access instructions. Local Organizers finalize event details such as the competition venue, date, and time.

February and March

Local Organizers hold quiz-bowl style Local Challenge competitions nationwide. Local Organizers then communicate with their State Organizers to coordinate the top student(s)’s advancement to the next level of competition. During this period State Organizers are simultaneously finalizing event details such as the competition venue, date, and time.


In states with more than one Local Challenge site, State Organizers hold State Challenge competitions. In states with just one Local Challenge, the Local-as-State Challenge is held during the same period.


The top participant from each state receives an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the National Challenge competition. One Nominated Educator from each state and one chaperone per participant also receive an expenses-paid trip to the National Challenge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many schools participate in each Local Challenge site? How many students are at each Local and/or State Challenge? 

The total number of registered schools varies by Challenge site, as does the total number of participants. However, at least 15 students will participate in each Local Challenge competition. At least 15 students will participate in each State Challenge. No more than 60 students will participate in any Challenge competition.

May parents of Challenge participants serve as Challenge Organizers?

The Challenge Official Rules prohibit parents/guardians of current participants from serving as Organizers in the interest of fairness. Parents may help with event planning, contacting schools, and serving as day-of volunteers at competitions but may not handle the Challenge Qualifier or Challenge competition questions.

How much does it cost to hold a Challenge?

That depends on competition venue and prize costs. Some sites don’t spend any money and rely on a few in-kind donations. Most sites spend a few hundred dollars on awards and small prizes for the top participants, while others spend more for refreshments, bigger participant prizes (iPads, gift cards, etc.), and gifts for volunteers and School Coordinators. The cost is largely up to the Organizer. CEF works with Organizers to cover costs through the support of corporate sponsors.