2013 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2013 winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

Over 6,000 essays were written for this year’s contest, and ASHG received record-breaking entries from teachers in 47 states and 15 foreign countries, including Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Lithuania, and Nigeria. Asking students to discuss the impacts of the discovery of the structure of DNA and the sequencing of the first human genome engaged students in thinking about big picture ideas and the applications of scientific knowledge. Many thoughtful and well-written essays were submitted. Over 350 genetics experts from the ASHG membership participated in judging the essays. We thank them for their help.

2013 Question

2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick and the 10th anniversary of the first sequencing of the human genome. Choose either of these breakthroughs and explain its broader impact on biotechnology, human health and disease, or our understanding of basic genetics, such as genetic variation or gene expression.

Justify your answer in detail and be sure to include one or more specific examples of broader impact. Use reliable references and citations to support your argument, for example, research published by experts in scientific journal articles and books.


2013 Winners

1st Place: Elan Filler, Grade 9
Teacher: Marie Kuhn
School: Palos Verdes High School
Location: Palos Verdes Estates, CA

2nd Place: Ryan Sweeney, Grade 12
Teacher: Nicholas DiGiovanni
School: Naperville Central High School
Location: Naperville, IL

3rd Place: Hannah Mayr, Grade 11
Teacher: Liza Gorkiewicz
School: Frankfurt International School
Location: Oberursel (Taunus), Germany

Honorable Mentions

Evangeline Chandran
River Hill High School
Clarksville, MD
Teacher: Terri Bradford
Brian Lue
The John Cooper School
Woodlands, TX
Teacher: Holly Barlaam
Trinish Chatterjee
Richard Montgomery HS
Rockville, MD
Teacher: Jerry Turner
David Qin
Lake Oswego High School
Oswego, OR
Teacher: Richard Rosenbaum
Claire Chen
Menlo School
Atherton, CA
Teacher: Todd Hardie
Jonathan Yu
Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, NJ
Teacher: Judith Pinto
Sumit Dalsania
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Greenbelt, MD
Teacher: Alexis Donoghue
Jingwen Zhang
Thomas Worthington High School
Worthington, OH
Teacher: Jodi Bacon
Chloe Deshuesses
Carrboro High School
Carrboro, NC
Teacher: Robin Bulleri
Emily Zhen
Naperville Central HS
Naperville, IL
Teacher: Nicholas DiGiovanni

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

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