S.T.A.R.T. Diversity Contest Details

Eligibility, Criteria, Timeline and other details to submit an entry for the START Essay Contest

Essay Question:

Imagine yourself in a world in which we all share the same looks, language, values, etc.  How would the absence of diversity affect your development as an individual?

The Deadline to submit your essay is Friday, January 10th, 2020

Disclaimer:  Please note that the use of plagiarism is a violation of the Smeal Honor Code. Please use your own thoughts and ideas to formulate an effective essay.


  • You must be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled at any Penn State campus to submit an essay for consideration in the S.T.A.R.T. Essay Contest.


Your submission must meet the following criteria:

  • Submit a written expression i.e.; essay, poem, story, or song.
  • Cover page MUST include: title of paper, student name, major, semester standing, and Penn State email-address
  • 12-point Times New Roman font (Double-Spaced)
  • Written expressions are to be no longer than 5 pages
  • One inch margins
  • No group submissions allowed
  • Students may only enter the contest one time
  • Submissions must be sent by Penn State email address(xyz1234@psu.edu). In addition, please email how you heard about the Diversity contest. Otherwise, the submission will not be accepted.
  • If chosen to present, presentations must last 4-7 minutes - Winners will be recognized and are required to present their final paper at the S.T.A.R.T. Conference on Tuesday March 24, 2020, at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Written Expressions will be judged on:

  • Quality of writing
  • Relevance of topic
  • Adherence to guidelines


In order to prepare and schedule their presentation for final judging, finalists will be notified by 

Second round – Final presentations will be given.

Winners will be notified by via email.


Members of the S.T.A.R.T. Committee will choose for the finalists and winners. The Committee includes undergraduate students, the Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs, the Program’s MBA Graduate Assistant, and additional Smeal advisors.


  • First place -      $2000
  • Second place -  $1500
  • Third place -     $750

*Winners will be recognized and are required to present their final paper at the S.T.A.R.T. Conference on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the Nittany Lion Inn.


Please note that if at any time your scholarships, grants, and other types of student financial aid are in excess of your federally computed “financial need” or your “cost of attendance”, it may be necessary for the Office of Student Aid to make adjustments to your previously awarded aid sources.

In order to receive the scholarship, you must be enrolled as a full-time student in good academic standing at the Pennsylvania State University. If you are planning to be on internship, are registered for less than 12 total credits, or if you are studying abroad through a non-Penn State program, your scholarship funds will be forfeited and awarded to another deserving student. It is your responsibility to notify our office of your change in enrollment.