2021 Maurice R. Hilleman Essay Contest: Official Rules


General Rules

From April 9, 2021 through June 4, 2021 (the “Contest Period”), the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (“CHOP”) will conduct an essay contest open only to residents of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories on the essay topic How do Dr. Hilleman’s accomplishments demonstrate the importance of creativity in science? (The “Contest”).  The Contest will be administered through the Vaccine Education Center’s classroom program, the Vaccine Makers Project.  

To enter, eligible students (see “Eligibility” section for requirements) must submit an essay entry (“Essay”) that follows the outlined Contest Submission Guidelines. All students entering the Contest and the parents/legal guardians of such students (collectively referred to as “Entrants” throughout, with “Entrant” referring to either the student and/or the parent/legal guardian as may be appropriate) agree to accept and be legally bound by all terms of these Official Rules and to accept and be bound by the decisions of CHOP, whose decisions are final with respect to all matters of the Contest.

Only one entry per student is permitted. Entries that are incomplete, are submitted late, or otherwise do not comply with these Official Rules will not be accepted or considered. The Essay submitted must be original and have been written solely by the student Entrant without parent/legal guardian assistance; the Essay must not previously have been published or won any award; the Essay must not contain any material that violates or infringes upon the rights of any third party, including without limitation any copyright, trademark or rights of privacy or publicity, or that is defamatory, unlawful or in violation of or contrary to any applicable law or regulation; and the Essay must not contain any material that CHOP, in its sole discretion, deems inappropriate for public viewing.

By entering the Contest, Entrants agree that CHOP will own and administer 100% of the copyright in all entries submitted, with the perpetual right to use such entries and that said entries are solely the work of the student Entrant for whom they are submitting an entry (and not the work of a parent/legal guardian or other third party). CHOP may edit for grammar, modify for style only, and distribute the submitted entries with no additional notification or permission of the Entrant.


The Contest is open to all United States students who are in grades 6-12 during the 2020-2021 school year. Students must reside in and attend school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. Territories. Students must be enrolled in a public, private, cyber, religious or charter school, or attend a home school program.

Submission Guidelines

Each Essay submission must address the topic: How do Dr. Hilleman’s accomplishments demonstrate the importance of creativity in science? Each submission must adhere to the word limits (between 500 and 600 words) and must be typewritten in English. Only one Essay per student will be accepted. Submissions will be accepted online or via U.S. mail.  

For online submissions

All online entries must be submitted on the Website Contest Page, available at https://hillemanfilm.com/contest, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 4, 2021.

Each Entrant who enters online will be required to upload the student Entrant’s Essay to the Website Contest Page and complete and submit the Contest entry and permissions form. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of an Entrant, the entry will be considered to be made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry (i.e., the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address).

For mailed submissions

Entries must be sent to the following address:
Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
3615 Civic Center Blvd, ARC 1202
Philadelphia, Pa 19104

All mailed submissions must be postmarked by June 4, 2021. Entrants are advised to mail submissions early enough to ensure on-time receipt. To enter the Contest by mail, Entrants must send, to the address specified, a typewritten copy of the student Entrant’s Essay and a legibly completed Contest entry and permissions form. The package must be sent either via U.S. mail with proper postage affixed, or by a major courier that regularly delivers to Philadelphia (for example, FedEx or UPS) with all delivery charges prepaid. The Contest entry and permissions form will be made available on the Website Contest Page.  

For all submissions

All entry materials become the property of CHOP and will not be verified or returned. By participating in this Contest, Entrants agree to be legally bound by the Official Rules and the decisions of CHOP and the judges, which are final and binding in all respects.

By entering the Contest, each Entrant agrees that information submitted via the Website Contest Page or via mail therewith may be used as set forth herein and may also be used in connection with the administration of the Contest. 


After the submission deadline, the judges selected by CHOP will review and select finalists from all the eligible entries received. The judges will then select the Contest prizewinners. Entries will be evaluated based upon the following criteria: adherence to the Submission Guidelines, grammar and language, originality, and organization. Essay evaluation will also consider the age level of the submitting student. Winners will be announced on the Website Contest Page, (https://hillemanfilm.com/contest), on or before November 1, 2021.

CHOP reserves the right in their sole administration of the Contest to disqualify any individual they find or believe to be tampering with the entry process or the administration of the Contest, acting in violation of the Contest rules, or plagiarizing content in any form.

The selection of the judges is within the sole and absolute discretion of CHOP. Submissions will be judged on an anonymous basis. Judges will not know the identity of Entrants until winners are selected. The Judges will not provide any evaluation of or commentary on any Essay submitted in connection with the Contest. 


Three winners will be selected in the Contest. Winners will be notified by September 30, 2021 and  announced on the Website Contest Page (https://hillemanfilm.com/contest) on or before November 1, 2021. 

Each winner will receive the following prizes:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Winner certificate and VEC prize bag
  • Recognition at a Virtual Award Event on Friday, October 29, 2021 

The Virtual Award Event will be hosted by Dr. Paul Offit – VEC director, vaccine inventor, and Hilleman biographer – and will feature the world-premiere of a short film about creativity in science, student readings of winning essays, and keynote address by a special surprise guest.

CHOP reserves the right to substitute prizes if a particular item is unavailable. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of the right to receive any prize is permitted.

All taxes, expenses or costs associated with the acceptance or use of the prizes are the responsibility of the winner. All federal, state, provincial/territorial and local taxes on the value of a prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. An IRS form 1099 will be issued in the winner’s name as required by law.

Potential winners, winners, along with their parent or guardian, will be notified by September 30, 2021. Each potential winner is subject to verification of eligibility. If a potential winner cannot be reached or does not respond within 5 business days of the initial notification attempt, or if any attempted notification is returned as undeliverable, or if a potential winner is deemed ineligible by CHOP, or if a potential winner does not otherwise comply with these Official Rules and/or cannot attend the Virtual Award Event for any reason, then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may, at CHOP’s discretion, be selected from among the remaining eligible entries as specified in these Official Rules (in which case the foregoing provisions will apply to such newly-selected Entrant).


Teachers named in winning students’ entries will be invited to attend the Virtual Award Event, invite his or her current students to attend, and receive a signed copy of Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, written by Paul A. Offit, MD. If any attempted notification is returned as undeliverable or the teacher does not respond after 2 contact attempts, if the book shipment is returned as undeliverable, or if the teacher or teacher’s winning student is deemed ineligible by CHOP, the teacher will no longer be eligible to receive the book at CHOP’s discretion.

Release of Privacy Rights

Upon submission of an entry, the submission becomes the property of CHOP. By entering the Contest, Entrants, their parents/legal guardians and named teachers grant CHOP the right, unless prohibited by law, to use their names, cities and states of residence, pictures, and likenesses without compensation, for the express purpose of advertising, publicity, or educational programming of CHOP and the Contest in any and all media, now or after. In addition, any and all information collected through the Website Contest Page (as a CHOP-sanctioned and affiliated website) is subject to the Privacy Policy of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Web site. The Privacy Policy can be found at https://www.chop.edu/pages/privacy-policy

Nondiscrimination Policy

In administering the Contest, CHOP will not discriminate in any manner, including on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, or gender.

Availability Disclaimer

The administration of the Contest, including, without limitation, determining the eligibility of a student or entry, selecting of a judge, evaluating any submitted entry, and awarding of the prizes, is within the sole and absolute discretion of CHOP. No student or teacher, or person or organization related thereto, has a right to appeal, contest, dispute, or otherwise challenge any aspect of the administration of the Contest, and any decision of CHOP is final in all respects.

No responsibility is assumed for incorrect or inaccurate entry information whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized by this Contest or by any human error which may occur in the processing of entries into this Contest. CHOP is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, or delayed entries or any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, including the Website Contest Page, or combination thereof.

If, for any reason, the Contest is compromised, including by infection with computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of CHOP, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest or for any reason CHOP deems it necessary, CHOP reserves the right to cancel, modify, or delay the Contest.

Grant of Rights

By entering the Contest, Entrant assigns and transfers to CHOP all right, title, and interest in and to the copyright in the Essay and all renewals and extensions of the copyright that may be obtained under the laws now or hereafter in effect under the laws of the United States or any other country or countries. Entrant further agrees that, by entering the Contest, Entrant is representing that the Essay is the student Entrant’s original content and that the essay does not infringe the copyright of any third party. CHOP may freely edit, adapt, modify, or translate the Essay, and may license, assign or transfer its rights in the Essay to any person or entity without notice to Entrant. By entering the Contest, Entrant also agrees that CHOP may use, in connection with the Essay, Entrant’s name, likeness, and biographical information in any media, without compensation to or further authorization from Entrant. 

Release and Limitation of Liability 

CHOP, all other companies involved in the development or operation of the Contest or the provision of the Prizes, and the directors, officers, employees and agents of each of the foregoing (collectively, the “Released Parties”) are not responsible for, and will have no liability for, (a) late, lost, delayed, illegible, stolen, mislaid, damaged, corrupted, postage-due or incomplete entries or Essays, incorrect or inaccurate capture of, damage to, or loss of entries or Essays, or any other human or technical errors of any kind relating to the operation of the Website Contest Page, communications or attempted communications with any Entrant, the submission, collection, storage or processing of entries or Essays or the administration of the Contest, (b) undeliverable e-mails resulting from any form of active or passive e-mail filtering by a user’s Internet service provider and/or e-mail client or for insufficient space in user’s e-mail account to receive e-mail or (c) any damage to any computer system resulting from participation in or accessing or downloading information in connection with the Contest. 

By entering the Contest, each Entrant releases and agrees to hold each of the Released Parties harmless from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, liabilities and expenses (including, without limitation, attorneys' fees) of any kind that the Entrant ever had, now has or might in the future have arising out of or relating to (a) the Contest, (b) participation in the Contest, (c) the use of the Website Contest Page, (d) the Essays (including any loss or damage to the Manuscript), (e) the acceptance of any Prize, including without limitation all claims and liabilities arising from any loss or damage to person or property, and/or (f) any use of the Entrant’s name, likeness, voice and/or biographical information as permitted pursuant to these Official Rules, including without limitation all claims and liabilities based on any violation of the right of privacy or right of publicity, copyright infringement, misappropriation or violation of any other personal or proprietary right. Entrants assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by (a) the Contest, (b) participation in the Contest, (c) the use of the Website Contest Page, (d) the Essays, (e) the acceptance of any Prize, including without limitation any loss or damage to person or property, and/or (f) any use of the Entrant’s name, likeness, voice and/or biographical information as permitted pursuant to these Official Rules. The Released Parties are not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, or administration of the Contest.


By entering the Contest, each Entrant agrees that, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Contest shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action (Note: Some jurisdictions do not allow restricting access to class actions. This provision will not apply to you if you live in such a jurisdiction.); and (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Contest, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any Entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and Entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, special, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. 

All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Entrants and CHOP in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Any legal proceedings arising out of this Contest or relating to these Official Rules shall be instituted only in the federal or state courts located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, waiving any right to trial by jury, and each Entrant consents to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these rules or the Contest. In the event of any conflict between these Official Rules and any Contest information provided elsewhere (including but not limited in advertising or marketing materials), these Official Rules shall prevail. All entries are subject to verification at any time.