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 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’s 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. This reading includes explanations of these three categories involved in making a difficult decision. Be certain to use your knowledge of the scientific and medical aspects of HD to support your views.

2019 Winners

Click the names below to view essays.


Sophia Chen Grade 11

Sophia Chen

Teacher: Dr. Devin Parry
School: Lakeside School
Location: Seattle, Washington


Yanna Bravewolf Grade 9

Yanna Bravewolf

Teacher: Dr. Isabelle Cohen
School: The Potomac School
Location: McLean, Virginia


Irene Calderon Grade 9

Nadia O'Hara

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

Weston Hicks
Weston Hicks

The Potomac School
McLean, Virginia
Teacher: Dr. Isabelle Cohen

Alex Hu

Darien High School
Darien, Connecticut
Teacher: Ms. Christine Leventhal

Sydney Kim
Sydney Kim

Convent of the Sacred Heart
Greenwich, Connecticut
Teacher: Dr. Kristina Gremski

Katherine Lei
Katherine Lei

Montgomery Blair HS
Silver Spring, Maryland
Teacher: Ms. Darcy Sloe

Shelli Lewis

Los Altos High School
Los Altos, California
Teacher: Mrs. Lisa Cardellini

Grace McDevitt
Grace McDevitt

Convent of the Sacred Heart
Greenwich, Connecticut
Teacher: Dr. Kristina Gremski

Edward Tucker Scott

Ranney School
Tinton Falls, New Jersey
Teacher: Ms. Leslie Patient

Sarina Smith

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
Teacher: Prof. Sabina McNally

Shifa Somji

Newport High School
Bellevue, Washington
Teacher: Ms. Margaret Will

Manu Sundaresan
Manu Sundaresan

Winston Churchill High School
Potomac, Maryland
Teacher: Mr. Jonathan Lee

See Where in the World Our Submissions Come From

2019 DNA Day Entries Map

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