Eligibility and Criteria


Applications for the Our Planet, Our Purpose: STEM for Changemaking Challenge are open to any young person between the ages of 14 and 18 in the USA and its territories. 

Am I eligible? To qualify, you must meet all of the following criteria. We look forward to receiving your application!  

  • You are a young person between the ages of 14-18 by August 1, 2020 and a resident of the United States and its territories 
  • You are the founder, co-founder, or hold an equivalent leadership position within the initiative your application represents 
  • You have at least one other person on your team 
  • You are committed to mobilizing more young people to join the changemaker movement and to working with changemakers to solve environmental sustainability issues 
  • You have been actively working on your idea for at least three months
  • You are able to submit your application in English 
  • You are not employed, nor directly related (parents or sibling) to a General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee 
  • If chosen as a winner, you commit to attending the Changemaker Summit at the GM headquarters (an all-expense paid trip) in July 22-24, 2020. (As the event draws nearer, Ashoka will determine whether an in-person convening is safe for our participants in light of COVID-19, based on the best information available and current policies.)



Not sure if your project can participate? Here are some examples of how other changemakers are using STEM to solve a problem in sustainability to create long-lasting positive impact: 

  • Creating a low-cost flood warning system using sensors, IoT devices, the cloud, and mobile technologies providing real-time flood warnings to the local community and Emergency Operations Centers.
  • Creating free seed packets, events, and gardens to restore the community's native ecosystems and save species like the monarch butterfly.
  • Releasing a video game in which students learn about climate issues and sustainability and how they can make an impact. 
  • Inspiring underrepresented youth to overcome the problems their daily lives through the use of technology. 



How will winners be chosen?  The selection committee, comprised of members of Ashoka and General Motors, will be looking for changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story. Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Changemaker Quality: You identify as a Changemaker and are already taking steps to make a real difference by leveraging STEM for social change. You are also encouraging others to do so. 
  • Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh and innovative way that challenges the norm.  
  • Commitment: You have actively been working on this project for at least three months and have made progress – e.g. you have gone through the process of customer discovery and/or have developed prototypes. You are ready to stick by your project and leave a lasting impact. 
  • Connection: You are focused on making a difference for the environment and can demonstrate a personal connection. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about. 


If you have any questions regarding the Our Planet, Our Purpose: STEM for Changemaking Challenge please contact us at STEM@ashoka.org