2019 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

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 45 U.S. states, and 24 non-U.S. countries, including Turkey, Canada, and India, which had the highest number of submissions outside of the U.S. We would also like to thank the ASHG members who participated in judging the essays. Participating judges and students should contact dnaday@ashg.org for participation certificates.

ASHG has put together a fact sheet explaining Huntington Disease to address any questions or misconceptions about the disease. Download, print, and share this document.

Questions about the 2019 question, and any other human-genetics related questions, can be answered in ASHG’s Genetics Engagement & Education Network. This Network is made up of human genetics experts who have volunteered their time to be a resource and answer your questions at no cost to you.

2019 Question

Jonathan, age 50, has just been diagnosed with Huntington disease (HD). His genetic counselor, Karen, seeks Jonathan’s consent to disclose this diagnosis to his daughter, Sarah, who is 25. Jonathan refuses to allow Karen or anyone else on the medical staff to reveal this diagnosis to Sarah. (1) Present arguments for and against Jonathan’s position by discussing the relevant goals, rights, and duties of each of the parties in this case. (2) Then choose one argument to defend, using your knowledge of the scientific and medical aspects of HD. Be certain to use your knowledge of the scientific and medical aspects of HD to support your views.

2019 Winners

First-place winner Sophia Chen and science teacher Dr. Devin Parry
(courtesy Lakeside School)

1st Place: Sophia Chen, Grade 11
Teacher: Dr. Devin Parry
School: Lakeside School
Location: Seattle, Washington

2nd Place: Yanna Bravewolf, Grade 9
Teacher: Dr. Isabelle Cohen
School: The Potomac School
Location: McLean, Virginia

3rd Place: Irene Calderon, Grade 9
Teacher: Mrs. Karen Suder
School: The Summit Country Day
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Honorable Mentions

Emma Gurcan
Partnership for Scientific Inquiry
Portland, Oregon
Teacher: Dr. Tammy Martin
Grace McDevitt
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Greenwich, Connecticut
Teacher: Dr. Kristina Gremski
Weston Hicks
The Potomac School
McLean, Virginia
Teacher: Dr. Isabelle Cohen
Edward Tucker Scott
Ranney School
Tinton Falls, New Jersey
Teacher: Ms. Leslie Patient
Alex Hu
Darien High School
Darien, Connecticut
Teacher: Ms. Christine Leventhal
Sarina Smith
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
Teacher: Prof. Sabina McNally
Sydney Kim
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Greenwich, Connecticut
Teacher: Dr. Kristina Gremski
Shifa Somji
Newport High School
Bellevue, Washington
Teacher: Ms. Margaret Will
Katherine Lei
Montgomery Blair HS
Silver Spring, Maryland
Teacher: Ms. Darcy Sloe
Manu Sundaresan
Winston Churchill High School
Potomac, Maryland
Teacher: Mr. Jonathan Lee
Shelli Lewis
Los Altos High School
Los Altos, California
Teacher: Mrs. Lisa Cardellini

Where in the world our submissions come from:

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.

We’ve announced our 2020 question! Find it on the DNA Day homepage.

Read the 2019 DNA Day Essay Contest Announcement Press Release.

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

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