Submissions for the 2020 Maurice R. Hilleman essay contest are now closed. Please check back for an announcement about the winners in the fall!

How was Dr. Hilleman’s integrity important to his success, and how is integrity important to you?

Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman was a virologist who developed more than half of the vaccines that young children receive today. His work, credited with saving 8 million lives every year, was cutting edge, often using technologies with no history of use in people. His unmatched success is the direct result of his character. To celebrate Dr. Hilleman’s legacy, the Vaccine Makers Project of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is holding an essay contest to provide 6th to 12th grade students an opportunity to learn about Dr. Hilleman — his life, his success, and his character — while considering one particular character trait important to his accomplishments, integrity.  


Students in grades 6 to 12, who live in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories and are enrolled in a public, private, cyber, religious or charter school or who attend a home school pro­gram in the United States can participate. (Judging will take into consideration author’s age.)


Learn about Dr. Hilleman, and write a 500-600 word essay that answers the question, “How was Dr. Hilleman’s integrity important to his success, and how is integrity important to you?” Essay should be written in English using complete sentences and appropriate grammar. One entry per person. See “Official Rules”  at for complete details.  

3 Winners will each receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Trip for student winner and one (1) adult chaperone to Philadelphia from October 22-24, 2020.

Trip includes:

  • Roundtrip transportation to Philadelphia*
  • Hotel room for each winner and chaperone to share for two nights in Philadelphia*
  • Breakfast and private tour at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
  • Lunch and attendance at celebratory event where winners will share their winning essays and receive their awards
  • Tour of labs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

*Transportation and accommodations will be coordinated through Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Approximate value of prize: $2,500


Completed entries were due by June 12, 2020, or postmarked by June 12 if mailed.


Teacher named in winning students’ entries will receive a signed copy of Pan­dora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, written by Paul A. Offit, MD. 


See the 2019 winning essays.