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Frequently asked questions

About GSS

What is the Governor’s STEM Scholars?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars is an innovative public-private partnership among the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the New Jersey Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of State, and the state’s leading public and private research organizations. The Governor’s STEM Scholars provides participants with an introduction to the state’s vast STEM economy through quarterly symposiums, field trips, master classes, research work, and more.

When are the Governor’s STEM Scholars Symposiums?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars hold Symposiums on Saturdays in September, December, February, and May of each year. Exact dates and times will be provided to the Scholars as soon as they become available.

Where are the Governor’s STEM Scholars Symposiums?

Symposiums are held at institutions of higher education throughout the state. In the past, symposiums have been held at Rutgers University New Brunswick, Rowan University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Kean University, and Montclair State University.

What does a typical Governor’s STEM Scholars Symposium look like?

While each symposium has varying agendas, they all provide the Scholars with the opportunity to learn from and engage with some of the state’s highest achieving STEM professionals. An example of a previous STEM in Industry Symposium can be found here.

What other activities are available to Governor’s STEM Scholars?

Optional field trips and research institution site visits, master classes, and fireside chats with STEM professionals will be scheduled throughout the programmatic year.

What are the requirements for graduation of the program?

Scholars must attend all four Symposiums and participate in the research project – either as a team lead or team member.

How much does the Governor’s STEM Scholars cost?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars is provided at no cost to participants of the program. It is completely funded through the generous support of private industry sponsors and in-kind donations from academic and government partners.

What is the attendance policy?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars has a strict attendance policy. In order to graduate, a Scholar must attend the entirety of all four symposiums.

Will I be able to pick which research project I work on?

No. Research teams will be designed using a number of internal criteria, including project needs, geography, experience level, and more. We cannot accommodate requests for research groups.

I have additional questions, who can I reach out to?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars will host three open sessions to learn more about the program. Please check the Calendar here. Any additional questions can be sent to the Governor’s STEM Scholars at

GSS Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply for the Governor’s STEM Scholars?

To be considered for the Governor's STEM Scholars, applicants must:

  • Be a sophomore in high school through doctoral level as of Fall 2021;
  • Be enrolled in a high school, college or university, or be - certified as a home schooled student in New Jersey;
  • Have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher; and
  • Show a strong commitment to STEM in New Jersey.

Do I have to be a New Jersey resident to apply?

No. In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled in a New Jersey school or be certified as a home-schooled student in this state.

About the Application

What does the Governor’s STEM Scholars application look like?

You can see the questions on the 2021-22 Governor’s STEM Scholars application here.

Beyond filing out the written application, what other materials do I need to supply?

Applicants must submit a 60-second personal video, an official transcript, and a resume highlighting their academic and nonacademic work and achievements.

Someone would like to submit a blind letter of recommendation on my behalf, where should they send it?

Blind letters of recommendation should be emailed to with the student’s name and school in the subject line. All letters of recommendation must be submitted by 11:59 pm on June 11 for inclusion in the application materials.

Who makes determinations on who is accepted into the Governor’s STEM Scholars?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars Advisory Council serves as the programmatic selections committee. Meet the Advisory Council here.

What criteria do they use in making their decision?

The Advisory Council reviews each application and scores based on a demonstrated passion for STEM, leadership experience and qualities, likelihood of programmatic impact, and diversity of the candidate.

What does a good application look like?

A good application has answered the essay questions in a thoughtful and complete manner. Additionally, the applicant shows a real passion for STEM through their 60-second video. Example essay questions can be found here. Sample resumes can be found here.

How should I record and upload the 60-second video as part of the application?

This can be recorded on a phone or computer, should be from your shoulders up, and have good lighting. Suggested ways to upload include on YouTube set to private or on Google Docs. Please check to ensure the video does not expire before August 31, 2021 and that the privacy setting allows anyone with the link to view.

I don’t have access to a phone or computer to record the 60-second video, what should I do?

The Governor’s STEM Scholars strives to remove any barriers to completing the application no matter their access to video recording equipment. If you do not have access to recording equipment, please reach out to for alternative accommodations.

When is the Governor’s STEM Scholars application due?

The application will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021.

When will students be notified about whether they have been accepted into the Governor’s STEM Scholars?

All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by August 2021.

Do I have to complete the application all at once?

Yes. Please take a look at the questions and upload requirements of the application prior to beginning the application online. We suggest you write your answers and save them in a word document in case you lose internet connection while completing the application. If you need to send a letter of recommendation separately, you may email it directly to with your name and school in the subject line.

I need technical support on the application. What do I do?

Please reach out to with any issues.

For College Students

What criteria is used to select college-level applicants and their research projects?

Research projects that have a compelling argument for the need for the research, are presented with appropriate and attainable methodologies, can be executed within the timeframe and commitment, and within the allowable expenses will be prioritized for selection. A clear plan to mentor and utilize the team within the research will be considered. And while not required, research that shows a commitment to community and local impact in their projects will recieve special consideration.

If my research proposal is not accepted, can I still participate in the Governor’s STEM Scholars?

Yes. Some college students may be assigned as a team member to research they did not propose.

Can I propose a project that I am already working on through my university?

Yes. With advanced permission from your Research Advisor or Principal Investigator, you may propose a project that you are working on through your college or university. A few things to keep in mind, this needs to be a standalone piece of a total project, with research that can be done with your research team, and that can be concluded by the end of the Governor’s STEM Scholars programmatic year not to exceed 10 -12 weeks.

Am I required to have a Research Advisor or Principal Investigator in advance of submitting my research proposal?

Not necessarily, but it can be very useful in the planning process and aid in the selection process. For continuing research, it is required that the Advisor or Principal Investigator sign off, that the research can be used as part of the Governor’s STEM Scholars, prior to the applicant proposing the project as part of their application.

What is a community-impact research project?

A community-impact research project is one that is connected to a local neighborhood, community or region and whose results will have an impact on that place. An example of past Governor’s STEM Scholars place-based research projects can be found here.

Is funding provided for the research project?

Each research project team will receive up to $300 in reimbursements for supplies spent on the project. Project leaders can not exceed this amount and should plan their respective projects with this budget in mind.

What are some previous research projects completed by the Governor's STEM Scholars?

You can take a look at past research project abstracts here.

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