ASHG Announces 2022 Winners of International DNA Day Essay Contest
Contest Addressed the Impact of Gregor Mendel’s Discoveries on Today’s Research

Published: Monday, April 25, 2022, 2:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Krystal Foster,

ROCKVILLE, MD – As part of its celebration of National DNA Day, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) announced today the winners of its 2022 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. The three winner spots were awarded to international students, the second consecutive year that this has ever happened in the contest’s history. ASHG awarded first place to Man Tak Mindy Shie, grade 12 at Singapore International School (Hong Kong). in Hong Kong, China; second place to Gillian Wells, grade 11 at Ulverston Victoria High School in Ulverston, England, UK; and third place to Yiyang Zhang, grade 11 at Shanghai High School International Division in Shanghai, China.

ASHG received essays from over 700 students from more than 30 U.S. states and more than 35 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, the question acknowledged Gregor Mendel in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of his birth. Students were asked how his discoveries help us understand Mendelian disorders and how the study of Mendelian disorders help us understand complex diseases.

“This year presented the unique opportunity to reflect upon the foundations of the human genetics field, the progress we have made in research, and look ahead to the exciting breakthroughs on the horizon,” said Kenneth Ramos, MD/PhD, of Texas A&M Health Science Center – Institute of Biosciences and Technology and chair of the Public Education & Awareness Committee. “It is remarkable to observe the impact on research, medicine, and health that the field of human genetics has had and continues to have due to our collaborative and innovative community. We have come a long way in the 200 years since Gregor Mendel was born and there is certainly much more to come if this year’s DNA Day Essay Contest participants are indicative of the next generation of human geneticists.”

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. Shie will receive a $1,000 prize. Wells will receive a $600 prize. Zhang 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:

  • Lena Chae, grade 9, Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois
  • Aadit Jain, grade 11, International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • Sharanya Ravishanker, grade 11, Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
  • Zhiyuan Shi, grade 11, BASIS International School Hangzhou in Hangzhou, China
  • Audric Thakur, grade 11, Reading School in Reading, United Kingdom
  • Emma Tse, grade 11, Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Cheltenham, United Kingdom
  • Hannah Wilson, grade 12, Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School in Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Emma Youngblood, grade 12, St. John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Virginia
  • Vivian Yuan, grade 11, Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • Xinyi Zhang, grade 11, South Brunswick High School in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey

For details on the 2022 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 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:

6120 Executive Blvd, Suite 500 | Rockville, MD 20852 | 301.634.7300 | |
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