ASHG Announces 2024 Winners of DNA Day Essay Contest

On April 25,2024, as part of its celebration of National DNA Day, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) announced the winners of its 2024 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. ASHG awarded first place to Megan Xie, grade 12 at Lower Moreland High School, in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania; second place to Macey Hunter, grade 12 at Fayetteville High School, in Fayetteville, Arkansas; and third place to Justin Lin, grade 11 at San Marino High School, in San Marino, California.

In a demonstration of the global reach of the contest, this year yielded the highest number of submissions and greatest number of participating countries since it began in 2006. Additionally, after increasing focus on domestic participation, this is the first year since 2019 that the winners all reside in the United States. Over 1,300 essays were submitted from 44 U.S. states and 52 countries. Nearly 200 ASHG members evaluated the results for accuracy, creativity, and writing. The Society has hosted 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.

“I am thrilled to see the tremendous engagement and participation from students and teachers across the United States and around the world,” said Joseph Shen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Division of Genomic Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at University of California, Davis, and Chair of ASHG’s Public Education & Awareness Committee (PEAC). “Over the years, the DNA Day Essay Contest has encouraged thousands of students to explore human genetics and genomics. Congratulations to the 2024 winners and honorable mentions, and a heartfelt thank you from PEAC to their teachers, the ASHG members who volunteered their time to review essays, and all who enthusiastically participated. Science knows no borders, and that is readily apparent from this year’s impressive participants.” 

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. Xie will receive a $1,000 prize. Hunter will receive a $600 prize. Lin will receive a $400 prize.

Honorable mentions were awarded to 11 students, each of whom will receive a $100 monetary prize. The recipients of honorable mentions, listed alphabetically by last name, are: Ashley Andrew, grade 12 at Lawerence E. Elkins High School, in Missouri City, Texas Elizabeth Barna, grade 12 at College Heights Secondary School, in Prince George, Canada Kevin Guo, grade 10 at Horace Greeley High School, in Chappaqua, New York Ajin Jo, grade 11 at CheongShim International Academy, in Gapyeong Gun, South Korea Siddharth Kumar Gopal, grade 10 at St. Thomas Residential School, in Thiruvananthapuram, India Anvita K, grade 11 in Trenton, New Jersey Robert Lin, grade 11 at Westmount Charter School, in Calgary, Canada Omar Reyes, grade 12 at The Awty International School, in Houston, Texas Zoravar Singh, grade 11 at Singapore American School, in Singapore, Singapore Tuan Tran, grade 10 at Indian Springs School, in Indian Springs, Alabama Hongyi Wei, grade 11 at Dougherty Valley High School, in San Ramon, California For details on the 2024 contest winners, including photos and the winning essays, visit the results page.

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: http://www.ashg.org.

[ASHG news release]

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