Marvel recently announced another contest for young girls engaged with science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM). Continuing a trend of movie tie-in STEM contests that goes back to at least the 2013 film Iron Man 3, the latest contest is called The Magic of STEM Challenge and is tied to the November release of the film Doctor Strange.
The name highlights part of the dramatic arc of the film – a neurosurgeon engaging with magic as he seeks to recover from an accident. I have not seen the film, but it may bear some resemblance to how the Thor films have tried to explain the fantastical actions of those characters with some basis in science. But don’t look too close (as you shouldn’t in any superhero film) or the gloss of scientific realism will disappear.
But I’m writing about the contest. There’s a short window for entries, because the contest is open until October 5th. Entrants are girls in the U.S. from 15-18 years old (grades 10-12), and must submit a video blog (vlog) on a scientific or technological questions. The vlog can be no longer than 5 minutes, and are encouraged to find a mentor to help answer the question. Rachel McAdams, who plays Doctor Christine Palmer in the film, explains the contest in this video with the help of the contest winner from the Captain America: Civil War STEM contest:
(I’ll note here that there is a pattern to these Marvel movie tie-in contests. A video is typically involved, most of the competitions are geared toward young women and usually promoted by an actress playing a significant role in the film. And you have to act fast once you hear about them.)
The five finalists will travel to the world premiere of the film in Los Angeles in late October, receive a $1,000 deposit in a savings account, and a tour of Disney Studios. The grand prize winner will produce a science vlog under the mentorship of the Walt Disney Digital team, and it will be shown on one of the many different Disney media platforms. Good luck to all the entrants.