ASHG Announces 2023 Winners of International DNA Day Essay Contest
Contest Begins Society’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 12:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Kara Flynn, (202) 257-8424,

ROCKVILLE, MD – As part of its celebration of National DNA Day, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) today announced the winners of its 2023 DNA Day Essay Contest, which encourages high school students and teachers worldwide to learn about human genetics concepts and apply them to current scientific and societal issues. After two years of winner spots being awarded to students outside of the United States and one year of winner spots being awarded to students outside of North America, the first, second, and third place spots were awarded to students located in the United States and Canada. ASHG awarded first place to Jennifer Zhong, grade 12 at Smithtown High School East, in Saint James, New York; second place to Bolin Miao, grade 10 at Dana Hall School, in Wellesley, Massachusetts; and third place to Olivia Park, grade 12 at William Lyon Mackenzie C.I., in Toronto, Canada.

ASHG received essays from over 950 students from nearly 30 U.S. states and 40 non-U.S. countries. Nearly 200 ASHG members evaluated the results for accuracy, creativity, and writing. Since 2006, the Society has led the contest annually and seeks to spark excitement and learning among the next generation of genetics professionals and foster greater genetic literacy among the general public.

This year is the 75th anniversary of ASHG. As a kick-off of the celebration, the 2023 question asked students to explain what the theme, “One Humanity, Many Genomes,” means to them in relation to how advances in understanding our genomes impact our lives.

“Participants in the DNA Day Essay Contest are our future scientific colleagues, leaders, and community members,” said Kenneth Ramos, MD, PhD, the Allek Chair of Medical Genetics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Chair of ASHG’s Public Education & Awareness Committee. “It is extraordinary to begin the 75th anniversary celebrations with the announcement of the winners and honorable mentions, as well as acknowledge all of the teachers and students who participated. We extend an invitation to participants around the world to celebrate their hard work, their pursuit of knowledge, and the value of ’One Humanity, Many Genomes.’ We hope they will continue the festivities with us throughout the year!”

For the first time, and as part of the Society’s 75th anniversary celebrations, the first-place winner will have the opportunity to record a brief video with ASHG to discuss their essay and experience in the contest. Additional celebrations and new learning resources, including a timeline of top milestones over the last 75 years and forward-looking advances in the field, are available on the Society’s 75th Anniversary page:

National DNA Day, celebrated annually on April 25, commemorates the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, two key milestones in genetics.

ASHG will award monetary prizes to winning students as well as grants for genetics laboratory equipment to eligible teachers. Zhong will receive a $1,000 prize. Miao will receive a $600 prize. Park will receive a $400 prize.

Honorable mentions were awarded to 10 students, each of whom will receive a $100 monetary prize. The recipients of honorable mentions, listed alphabetically by last name, are:

  • Yelizaveta Belova, grade 12 at ATFITK, in Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Siwen Cui, grade 12 at Kent School, in Kent, Connecticut
  • Gabe Finger, grade 10, at Smithtown High School East, in Saint James, New York
  • Eve Lee, grade 10 at Research Laboratory Academy Seoul, in Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • Harmony Heming LI, grade 10 at Shanghai High School International Division, in Shanghai, China
  • Maria Mathai, grade 10 at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, in Waterloo, Canada
  • Oshadha Perera, grade 12 at Southland Boys’ High School, in Invercargill, New Zealand
  • Mihir Relan, grade 11 at DeBakey High School for Health Professions, in Houston, Texas
  • Dylan Shen, grade 11 at Smithtown High School East, in Saint James, New York
  • Chun Hei Tai, grade 11 at St. Paul’s Co-educational College, in Hong Kong, China

For details on the 2023 contest winners, including photos and the winning essays, see: 

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About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its community of nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics and Human Genetics and Genomics Advances; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit:

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