ASHG 2017 DNA Day logo

Congratulations to our winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

Thank you for making this another successful year! We received many submissions from students in 40 U.S. states and 21 foreign countries, including Colombia, Ukraine, and Singapore. We would also like to thank the over 500 ASHG members who participated in judging the essays!

2017 Question

In the early 1990s, gene therapy was hailed as a potential treatment or cure for many genetic diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, problems during clinical trials, including the death of a patient due to a fatal immune reaction, forced scientists to re-think their strategies. Recent advances in biology have made gene therapy more promising than ever and expanded the field beyond its original concept of providing an additional, functional copy of a malfunctioning gene to specific cells. Choose one modern example of gene therapy (since 2005), describe the disease or condition researchers are attempting to treat, and explain how the therapy/approach might repair the underlying cause of the disease or condition.


2017 Winners

Click the names below to view essay excerpts.

1
ST
Place

Adele Peng Grade 9

Teacher: Aubrie Holman
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Alexandria, VA

2
ND
Place

Sophia Spiegel Grade 11

Teacher: Judith Pinto
Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, NJ

3
RD
Place

Alvin Ya Grade 12

Teacher: Mary Alice Adah
Poolesville High School
Poolesville, MD


Blake Holman
Lake Dallas High School
Corinth, TX
Teacher: Cynthia Powers
Jio Jeong
Seoul International School
Seongnam-si, South Korea
Teacher: Eugene Lee
Lucy Liu
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Aurora, IL
Teacher: Crystal Randall
Alleanna Marquez
Whitestation High School
Memphis, TN
Teacher: Chikezie Madu
Rhea Park
Head-Royce School
Oakland, CA
Teacher: Jennifer Brakeman
Tharushi Perera
Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis
Arielle Rothman
North Shore Hebrew Academy High School
Great Neck, NY
Teacher: Lisa Runco
Julian Rubinfien
Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY
Teacher: Maria Nedwidek-Moore
Olivia Wilkes
Home School
Toney, AL
Teacher: Linda Wilkes
Lina Zein
Hathaway Brown School
Shaker Heights, OH
Teacher: Sheri Homany
Jacob Zinberg
Torah Academy of Bergen County
Teaneck, NJ
Teacher: Garry Katz

Honorable Mentions

Blake Holman

Lake Dallas High School
Corinth, TX
Teacher: Cynthia Powers

Jio Jeong

Seoul International School
Seongnam-si, South Korea
Teacher: Eugene Lee

Lucy Liu

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Aurora, IL
Teacher: Crystal Randall

Alleanna Marquez

Whitestation High School
Memphis, TN
Teacher: Chikezie Madu

Rhea Park

Head-Royce School
Oakland, CA
Teacher: Jennifer Brakeman

Tharushi Perera

Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis

Arielle Rothman

North Shore Hebrew Academy High School
Great Neck, NY
Teacher: Lisa Runco

Julian Rubinfien

Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY
Teacher: Maria Nedwidek-Moore

Olivia Wilkes

Home School
Toney, AL
Teacher: Linda Wilkes

Lina Zein

Hathaway Brown School
Shaker Heights, OH
Teacher: Sheri Homany

Jacob Zinberg

Torah Academy of Bergen County
Teaneck, NJ
Teacher: Garry Katz


See where in the world our submissions come from:

2017 DNA Day Entries Map

About the Contest

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important ideas and issues related to human genetics. Competitive essays are expected to convey substantive, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments that demonstrate deep understanding.

Essays are evaluated through three rounds of judging, and every essay is read by a minimum of three judges. Top-scoring essays have typically been scored by a dozen or more judges. 

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org