2009 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2009 winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

This year, we received 300 essays from high school students in the U.S., Canada, and other countries, such as China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Ghana. The geneticist judges enjoyed reading the essays, and it is refreshing to see what the younger generation thinks about genetics.

2009 Questions

Question 1

Some traits come in two varieties (for example, Mendel’s round and wrinkled peas with the green and yellow colors). Do all traits for all species come in only two varieties? Justify your answer by explaining the relationship between genes and traits.

2009 Question 1 Winners

1st Place: Mehera Emrich
Teacher: Jay Chugh
School: Acalanes High School
Location: Lafayette, CA

2nd Place: Laura Molina
Teacher: Cyndi Hoffman
School: Viera High School
Location: Viera, FL

3rd Place: Stephan Wang
Teacher: Beenu Gupta
School: Charter School of Wilmington
Location: Wilmington, DE

Honorable Mentions

Will Kovacs
Winston Churchill High School
Potomac, MD
Teacher: Virginia Brown
Melanie Jorgenson
Incarnate Word Academy
Bel-Nor, MO
Teacher: Trudy Swan
Sawwon Lee
Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, NJ
Teacher: Carol Zepatos
Labib Rahman
Manarat Dhaka International College
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Teacher: Abu Hayat, Md. Sharif
Jonathan Ho
Windward School
Los Angeles, CA
Teacher: Simon Huss
Yi “Amy” Xiao
Montgomery Blair High School
Silver Spring, MD
Teacher: Elizabeth Duval


Question 2

What is (are) the cause(s) of human health and disease? Explain your answer using one or more specific examples.

2009 Question 2 Winners

1st Place: Michale Kovacs
Teacher: Virginia Brown
School: Winston Churchill High School
Location: Potomac, MD

2nd Place: Jennifer Li
Teacher: Chad Ogren
School: Enloe High School
Location: Raleigh, NC

3rd Place: Sharon Hartzell
Teacher: Tina Giovenco
School: Chenango Forks High School
Location: Binghamton, NY

Honorable Mentions

Anika Ahmed
Midwood High School
Brooklyn, NY
Teacher: Denise Aubrey
James Evans
Crystal Springs Uplands High School
Hillsborough, CA
Teacher: Chris Read
Jyotishka Biswas
School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt
Nashville, TN
Teacher: Kimberlie McCue
Darren Mensch
Muncy High School
Muncy, PA
Teacher: Mark Temons
Leah Buchman
South Side High School
Rockville Centre, NY
Teacher: Todd Russo
Jon Moller
Walnut Hulls High School
Cincinnati, OH
Teacher: Rajni Harsh
Wenjing Chen
Montgomery Blair High School
Silver Spring, MD
Teacher: Angelique Bosse
Travis Stewart
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School
Columbia, SC
Teacher: Lisa Norman


About the Contest

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on the important concepts of genetics. Essays are expected to contain substantive, well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay questions.

Essays are read and scored by at least two independent judges. A 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner are chosen for each question.

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

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