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JUMP into STEM: Students—Building a Better Future Starts NOW

Oct. 6, 2020

Do not delay! The deadline for submissions to the JUMP into STEM competition is quickly approaching. Make sure your submission is in before Nov. 13, 2020.

Photo of people in a meeting room with one standing at a podium.

2019 JUMP into STEM winner Sarah Tinsley presents her Home Energy Score Interactive Dashboard idea at the final event. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Do you like to develop your own solutions to real-world problems—such as building a sleeping loft out of two-by-fours to make more space in your cramped dorm room? It is not too late to send in your creative solution to one of the many challenges facing the building sciences industry.

JUMP into STEM is a U.S. Department of Energy collegiate competition organized by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It encourages students with a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to use their unique skills and ideas to contribute to the future development of building sciences and technology.

JUMP into STEM promotes a team approach to holistic problem-solving. It requires teams of two to four and attracts students from a variety of majors such as engineering, computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics, physics, economics, sociology, meteorology, and architecture. So, if instead of picking up a hammer, you are a person who tapes colorful fabric to your dorm room ceiling to transform that harsh white fluorescent light into a warm, comfortable glow—you are also a great candidate for this competition!

JUMP into STEM fosters the belief that everyone should be encouraged to develop solutions to make the buildings we live and work in more livable and energy efficient. In today's complex world, a holistic approach to problem-solving that encompasses a diversity of educational and personal interests and a variety of backgrounds often yields the best solutions. Competing students have the opportunity to influence the building industry as the next generation of building science thought leaders and researchers. Members from the final competition winning team are awarded paid, 10-week summer internships at either NREL or ORNL. The experience can be life changing.

As James Whitfield, a 2020 competition winner, shared: "JUMP into STEM was an incredible learning experience as it allowed me to brainstorm, flesh out, and professionally present a project that I felt could make a genuine impact on the world. That project, as well as my internship at NREL following the competition, enabled me to look at my current interest in computer science from the scope of energy efficiency and has pushed me to make that a heavy focus in my work as I continue my education and career path."

Three people standing and displaying certificate awards.
Destiny Currie and James Whitfield (students at Clark Atlanta University and winners of the 2020 JUMP into STEM Final competition) and Mary Hubbard, Technology to Market Manager, U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office. Photo by Carlos Jones

Three concurrent challenges are open to students in this year's competition. The topics are:

  • Grid-interactive efficient buildings
  • Building energy audits for residential or commercial buildings
  • Advanced building construction methods.

Be sure to submit your solution and your internship application before the challenges close on Nov. 13 for the chance to be selected as a finalist and win an invite to present your idea at the virtual final two-day event on Jan. 28–29, 2021.

The final competition will be conducted virtually in its entirety and will include, in addition to the student presentations: presentations from the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office, NREL and ORNL leadership, virtual tours of NREL and ORNL, networking events, and an awards ceremony.

Learn more about this exciting competition and how to apply online at