Freshman Takes Top Honors in ASHG’s 2017 National DNA Essay Contest for High School Students

In recognition of National DNA Day, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) hosted the 2017 DNA Day Essay Contest to encourage high school students and teachers to learn about human genetics concepts beyond the standard curriculum. This year, ASHG awarded first place to Adele Peng (at left in photo with her teacher Aubrie Holman at right), a freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Sophia Spiegel, a junior at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey., won second place in the contest. Alvin Ya, a senior at Poolesville High School in Poolesville, Maryland, was awarded third place. “Recent advances in biology have made gene therapy, the focus of this year’s contest, more promising than ever, and have expanded the field beyond its original concept,” said Michael Dougherty, PhD, Director of Education for ASHG. “We were interested to see students’ perspectives on these advances and their potential effects in the clinic.” National DNA Day, celebrated annually on April 25, commemorates the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure and the completion of the Human Genome Project, two key milestones in the field of genetics. Each year since 2006, ASHG has run a DNA Day Essay Contest to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important concepts in human genetics by writing an original essay. Winning essays use well-reasoned arguments to show a grasp of topics that are not always well-covered in high school biology courses.
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