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


Thank you for making this our most successful year yet! We received a record high number of submissions from students in 44 U.S. states and 23 foreign countries, including Colombia, Antarctica, New Zealand, and Ukraine. We would also like to thank the more than 400 ASHG members who participated in judging the essays, as well as our sponsor for this year's contest, Embi Tec, creator of the MiniOne System for real time electrophoresis in the classroom!

2016 Question

Choose a genetic test that is currently available for a condition or disease that does not cause symptoms until adulthood
(i.e., an adult-onset condition such as hereditary breast cancer). Describe how the test works and how certain the test results are. Then, either defend or refute the recommendation below from ASHG’s recent position statement on pediatric genetic testing.

"Adolescents should be encouraged to defer predictive or pre-dispositional testing for adult-onset conditions until adulthood because of the complexity of the potential impact of the information at formative life stages."

2016 Winners:

Click names below to view essay excerpts.


Stella Ma


Grade 11 ($1,000)


Teacher: Cindy Kellor


James Madison Memorial High School

Madison, WI

Jillian Pesce


Grade 11 ($600)


Teacher: Maria Zeitlin


Smithtown High School East

St. James, NY


Alexis Schneider


Grade 11 ($400)


Teacher: Megan Gallagher

Upper Dublin High School

Fort Washington, PA

Dhruv Sharma


Grade 11 ($400)


Teacher: Pippa Haley

United World College of South East Asia,

Dover Campus

Singapore, SG


Ilan Bocain

Yeshiva University of Los Angeles,

Boys High School
Los Angeles, CA
Teacher: Vickie Bellomo


Zanzan Brink
Oregon Health & Sciences University Partnership for Scientific Inquiry Program

Portland, OR

Teacher: Richard Rosenbaum


Sanjana Eranki
Smithtown High School East

St. James, NY

Teacher: Maria Zeitlin

Norah Gordon
Bergen County Academies

Hackensack, NJ

Teacher: Carol Zepatos


Zoe Klein
Northern Secondary School

Toronto, ON

Teacher: Danielle Gauci


Stacy Okin
North Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Great Neck, NY
Teacher: Amie Roberts


Elizabeth Phelan

The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Reno, NV
Teacher: Martin Braik


Sarah Sachar
Winston Churchill High School

Potomac, MD

Teacher: Virginia Brown

Arjun Somayazulu

Oregon Health & Sciences University Partnership for Scientific Inquiry Program

Portland, OR
Teacher: Richard Rosenbaum

Ruojia Sun
Stuyvesant High School

New York, NY

Teacher: Maria Nedwidek-Moore


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


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