To complement our Research Exploration Opportunity, which provides high school student mentees the chance to conduct novel research in University labs, we started the SciComm Viewpoint Challenge (formerly STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge) in 2019 to provide our mentees an opportunity to hone their scholarly writing skills. Through the SciComm Viewpoint Challenge, mentees have the opportunity to publish their scientific viewpoints in the STEM Fellowship Journal (SFJ), an open-access peer-reviewed academic journal published by Canadian Science Publishing.

Mentees will be offered guidance throughout the process by their assigned undergraduate- and graduate-level mentors, the SFJ editors upon submitting their scientific viewpoints, and doctorate-holding peer-reviewers in a respective field. Additionally, we empower students with the tools to succeed through interactive scholarly writing webinars. For instance, our “Blueprint to a Viewpoint” webinar overview can be seen below (subject to updates):

Contact Cherisse Tan for more information:

Publication and Awards

All interested mentees will have the opportunity to submit their scientific viewpoints for publication. Each year, the author of the top scientific viewpoints will be awarded with free or discounted publications (sponsored by the SFJ). In 2021, $1400 of discounted publication fees were offered as awards (subject to change). For more information on the STEM Fellowship Journal, please visit:

Please see below for the past winners.

2022 Winners

Disclaimer: 2022 papers are currently unpublished and may be subject to change as they are undergoing a standardized academic peer review process by doctorate-holding experts in respective fields.

Second Overall – Simone Lilavois

2021 Winners

Disclaimer: 2021 papers are currently unpublished and may be subject to change as they are undergoing a standardized academic peer review process by doctorate-holding experts in respective fields.

2020 Winners

Disclaimer: 2020 papers are currently unpublished and may be subject to change as they are undergoing a standardized academic peer review process by doctorate-holding experts in respective fields.

Other papers from the 2020 challenge can be found here.

2019 Winners

I was going into my 12th year at Westmount Charter School when I participated in this challenge, and in the short time span of the competition, I learned more about scholarly writing than I would have ever thought possible. Which words to use, how to write in a direct and clear way, how to make sentences flow in the best way possible – I learned it all through the patience and enthusiasm of my mentor, and coupled with STEM Fellowship’s workshops on researching and formatting, I felt like an entirely new writer afterward! Although I know that I will build on my writing throughout university, I feel that this experience gave me a head start towards future endeavours, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their scholarly writing skills!

Freeha Anjum, Grade 12 student at Westmount Charter School

I loved the experience of researching for and writing my own viewpoint paper. It was really interesting learning about the differences between the writing we’ve been taught in school and scholarly writing. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my mentor, Manisha, who pointed out all sorts of subtleties between the two and helped clean up my paper. Overall, this was an amazing opportunity, and I’m looking forward to doing more research and writing, as well as hopefully pursuing a career in science.

Shuyu Vankerkwijk, Grade 11 student at the University of Toronto Schools

My experience as a mentee in the STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge was phenomenal. My mentor was extremely helpful and easy to talk to. He guided me through every step of the scholarly writing process, from learning to use academic research databases to formulating and expressing opinions in STEM. This competition opened my eyes to the world of STEM research, which is something I never really considered before… What is even better about this competition is that every mentee has the opportunity to submit their viewpoint to the STEM Fellowship Journal!

Stephanie Lu, Grade 12 student at Maple High School

The STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge was my first experience in academic writing and literature. Through this competition, I have learned a great deal on how to conduct research, as well as getting an exclusive opportunity of having a mentor review my paper through one-on-one meetings. In short, this contest is a stellar opportunity for anyone who would like to set foot in the world of research to write–and even publish–their own academic paper.

Dawei He, Grade 12 student at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute

The STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge was a unique experience learning about scientific writing through the sophisticated webinars and all the help from my mentor who did not hesitate to help. I experienced a great sense of accomplishment and joy from acquiring a new skill and composing my own viewpoint article, and I appreciate all the people who made this experience possible.

Stefanie Chen , Grade 12 at Glenlyon Norfolk School

The STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge was an incredible experience where I greatly improved my ability to read scientific papers and then effectively extract the most important ideas to work into my own paper. I was able to learn so much from my mentor who guided me through the research and the planning process, and now I have a much better understanding of how to plan and logically structure my arguments in my writing. I wrote my paper during the end of my grade 12 year at Ernest Manning high school and currently, I am at the University of Calgary studying Neuroscience. The research and scientific writing skills that this competition helped me develop, I have definitely been a huge help so far in university!

Annie Wang , Former Grade 12 student at Ernest Manning High School

I am Seleem Badawy, a grade 11 student at the time of the competition from Western Canada High School. From the mentor to the research to the publication experience, the STEMpowerment Viewpoint Challenge was a spectacular experience. It was amazing to be able to learn how to fully write and publish a viewpoint paper, skills that will benefit me in every career endeavour in the future.

Seleem Badawy, Grade 11 student at Western Canada High School