2020 DNA Day Essay Contest Winners

DNA DAY 2020 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 39 U.S. states, and 28 non-U.S. countries. We would also like to thank the ASHG members who participated in judging the essays.

Certificates/Essay Feedback: Participation certificates and judging feedback for students can be received by contacting dnaday@ashg.org. Similarly, participation certificates for judges can be received the same way.

Essay Content Questions: Connect with a geneticists through ASHG’s GENE Network! This Network is made up of genetics experts who have volunteered their time to be a resource and answer your questions. ASHG has also created this DNA Day 2020 Info Handout with more information about this year’s question!

2020 Question

Ancestry testing is a form of direct-to-consumer genetic testing designed to inform customers about their genetic ancestry. There are generally three types of ancestry testing: Y chromosome testing, mitochondrial DNA testing, and autosomal DNA testing. If a person did all three ancestry tests, what types of information could they learn about their genetic ancestry and how does this genetic ancestry information compare and contrast with their cultural heritage (family traditions, etc.)?

2020 Winners

First-place winner Anisha Parsan  (courtesy Clements High School)

1st Place: Anisha Parsan, Grade 9
Teacher: Mr. Ricardo Garcia
School: Clements High School
Location: Sugar Land, Texas

2nd Place:Darren Lee, Grade 11
Teacher: Ms. Virginia Toepfer
School: Farmington High School
Location: Farmington, Connecticut

3rd Place: Jasmine Li, Grade 9
Teacher: Mr. Clyde Cao
School: Xi’an Liangjiatan International School
Location: Xi’an, Shaanxi, China

3rd Place: Ananya Raghavan, Grade 11
Teacher: Dr. Amanda Orenstein
School: Morris Hills High School
Location: Rockaway, New Jersey

Honorable Mentions

Kaitlin Chung
Corning Painted-Post High School
Corning, NY
Teacher: Mrs. Jennifer Deneka
Isabella Stenhouse
Stuyvesant High School
New York, New York
Teacher: Ms. Jessica Quenzer
Sarah Gates
Arlington High School
LaGrangeville, New York
Teacher: Mrs. Suzanne Curtiss
Albert Sung
St. Andrew’s School
Middletown, Delaware
Teacher: Mr. Dan O’Connell
Wooseok Kim
Seoul International School
Seongnam-si, Gyeonggido [Kyonggi-do], South Korea
Teacher: Mr. Eugene Lee
Advait Thaploo
Mira Loma High School
Sacramento, California
Teacher: Mrs. Rochelle Jacks
Claire Ku
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon
Teacher: Ms.  DreeAnna Morris
Emerson Utgaard
Patrick Henry High School
San Diego, California
Teacher: Mr. Alexander Mangahis
Kristoff Misquitta
Stuyvesant High School
New York, New York
Teacher: Ms. Jessica Quenzer
Benjamin Yacht
Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennady High School
Plainview, New York
Teacher: Mrs. Rohe Sheikh
Jonas Schwab
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon
Teacher: Ms.  DreeAnna Morris

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.

Read the 2020 DNA Day Essay Contest Announcement Press Release.

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

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