About the eXpressions®Program


  1. What is eXpressions?

eXpressions is a free, award-winning educational initiative that engages middle and high school students in the creative exploration of science and medicine. Through project-based, peer-to-peer learning, students translate research studies that have either been summarized, conducted, or authored by Cleveland Clinic interns or clinicians to produce creative interpretations of the science. Projects are submitted to Cleveland Clinic as part of a juried competition.


  1. What type of interpretations of the science are students allowed to create?

There are no media restrictions. Over the years, students have created paintings, poems, stories, essays, videos, dances, and mathematical equations. Students will be asked to enter their creative interpretation under one of three forms of submssion: Art, Language, or Math.


  1. Are there three different eXpressions programs – one for Art, one for Language, and one for Math?

No. Whether a student submits a painting under Art or a poem under Language or a geometric analysis under Math, each is participating in eXpressions®. The categories help with judging.


  1. Is eXpressions only for art, language arts, and math students?

No, eXpressions is not limited to just those three subject areas. Any educator can enroll his/her students into the program. No matter what class students are in, whether it is a social studies, foreign language, orchestra, economics or health (to name just a few), all are welcome to participate as long as their submissions align with one of the health science  research  projects completed by the summer interns. Some examples of projects might include historical comparison essays, economic analysis, dioramas, poetry or other written works presented musically or in foreign languages.


  1. What would social studies submissions look like?

For eXpressions submissions that are aligned with social studies, a student might choose to interpret the health science research through a history, economics, policy, or ethics lens. In general, student submissions that express health science research through a social studies lens will most likely be categorized as written "Language" format submissions.  However, “Art” format or “Math” format submissions may be appropriate as well depending on the form of the finished product.

Social studies students wishing to participate in eXpressions might consider some of these project suggestions.

  • Narrative History
  • Persuasive Civic Writing/Policy Advocacy
  • Documentary (scripts or filmed)
  • Graphic Novel
  • Historical Fiction
  • Demographic Analysis using GIS data (a type of project that could fall under the Math format)

  1. What are the criteria to participate?

The programs are available to all high school and middle school students; in order for a student to participate, though, the student's teacher must first register for the program. Only work from students whose teachers have officially enrolled in the program will be accepted for review.


  1. As a teacher, how do I register for the program?

Please visit our Teacher Program Registration page, and submit your information via our online form.


  1. When is the teacher registration deadline?

The eXpressions registration deadline typically falls around mid-October. Please visit our Teacher Program Registration page for the current year's exact deadline.


  1. When is the student submission deadline?

The student submission deadline is usually in the beginning of November. Please see the Student Submission Process page for the current year's exact deadline.


  1. Is there an eXpressions Teacher Guide?

Yes. Go to the eXpressions Program Resources page and click on Teacher Guide. This document will provide step-by-step recommendations on how to implement the program.


  1. Are there any fees involved with participation in eXpressions?

There are no fees to participate.


  1. I am a senior in high school and I graduate next year. Can I still participate in eXpressions?

Yes, you can participate as long as your teacher registers for the program.


  1. My teachers don't know about eXpressions. Who can they contact to learn about the program?

First ask your teachers to visit the eXpressions home page. If they still have questions after reviewing the online information, they can contact Chris DeNicola at denicoc@ccf.org or 216.448.0757.


About the Process

  1. What are the criteria for submission?

A complete list of submission criteria can be found in the "Submission Guidelines and Instructions" document found on the Student Submission Process page. Please note that all submissions for the 2019-2020 eXpressions program must interpret research listed under the 5 themes contained in the matrix posted on the website. Creative submissions must align with one of those 15 research assets. Interpretation that do not connect to this research will NOT be accepted for judging.


  1. Is this a competition?

Yes. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of judges.


  1. Who are the judges and what criteria do they use?

Each year, submissions are judged by an esteemed panel of content specialists: arts educators, professional writers and editors, scientific researchers, and mathematicians. All work submitted to Cleveland Clinic through eXpressions will be evaluated on four main criteria: interpretation, presentation, creativity, and initiative. For program-specific submission evaluation guidelines, visit the Program Resources page.


  1. What do winners get?

Selected pieces will receive a ribbon award. Each blue-ribbon winner will receive a $100 gift card, each red-ribbon winner will receive a $75 gift card, each white-ribbon winner will receive a $50 gift card, and each honorable mention-ribbon winner will receive a $25 gift card. Ribbon-winning work will be featured online and in an annual publication, and will also be included in an eXpressions eXhibition. The eXpressions eXhibition opens with a formal reception and dedication in February. All teachers who mentor an award-winning student will receive a $100 educational grant. In addition, numerous students will be recognized for what they learned through the process of completing the program and will receive the Journey Award, which includes a $25 gift card.

  1. Is there a specific medium or genre that has to be used for eXpressions?

No. Students are free to choose whatever medium or genre they prefer. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, jewelry, videos, poems, essays, short stories, and musical compositions have all earned awards. Teachers and students should keep in mind, however, that they will be responsible for shipping or delivering the actual project to Cleveland Clinic in the event the piece is selected for an award. (An art teacher in Alaska, therefore, may want their students' submissions to be charcoal drawings rather than marble sculptures.)

  1. Is there a specific language required for eXpressions?

No. A student may submit a literary work in any language provided the student is studying that language in school and the student's language teacher is enrolled in the eXpressions program. For example, a student whose native language is English may submit a story in Spanish if the student is enrolled in a Spanish class and the student's Spanish teacher is enrolled in the eXpressions program. An English translation of the piece must also accompany the submission.

  1. Can I submit multiple pieces?

A student may submit more than one project. Each submission, though, requires a separate submission form.


  1. Can more than one student work on a project?

Yes. Students are able to work in groups of six or fewer members.