ARLINGTON, VA – Imagine the impact: For twenty years, CEF’s You Be The Chemist Challenge® has empowered bright young minds in grades 5-8 to explore the captivating world of STEM. From science’s intricate wonders to confronting pressing sustainability issues, the Challenge serves as a catalyst for exploration and discovery.

This year’s Challenge witnessed an unprecedented surge with an astonishing 17,000 student participants. With over 50% of this year’s participants being female and coming from economically disadvantaged schools, CEF is breaking barriers and creating opportunities like never before.

From classrooms buzzing with excitement to Challenge competitions fueling STEM passion, student feedback is awe-inspiring. An impressive 85% of participants discovered new STEM career paths. Even more astonishing, a staggering 92% expressed newfound interest in STEM subjects, igniting their aspirations for the future. These are not merely statistics; they symbolize the spark of curiosity that will build the future STEM workforce.

Thanks to the generous support of CEF’s industry partners, the Challenge has impacted over 500,000 students and awarded $250,000 in scholarships since 2004. Our results speak volumes – 100% of our winners have pursued STEM after high school.

The Challenge’s influence is undeniable! The top 5 finalist teams from California, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington will compete for nearly $50,000 in scholarships. Attendees at the Dinner & Awards Ceremony will be treated to a special Keynote presentation featuring “Kate the Chemist,” sponsored by Barentz.

Dr. Kate Biberdorf is a chemist, science entertainer, and professor at the University of Texas, and has appeared on such shows as The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Late Night with Stephen Colbert.

Said Dr. Biberdorf, “Celebrating the boundless curiosity and ingenuity of young minds in science fills me with immense joy. I am truly impressed by the passion and creativity displayed by these students, and I am eager to meet them and embark on this thrilling scientific journey together!”

Purchase tickets here for the Dinner & Awards ceremony on June 11 to see thrilling experiments from Dr. Biberdorf and the award of student scholarships!

CEF thanks Presenting Sponsor Univar Solutions and Trailblazers Sponsor Olin Corporation, whose support is invaluable to the success of the Challenge. CEF also thanks the many additional sponsors who have helped make this competition possible.

See our website for the full list of State Winners and to watch their impressive videos highlighting sustainability!