A sophomore from recently won an award from the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) for his essay on DNA.
Girish Chandrasekar placed third in the ASHG’s 7th Annual National DNA Day Essay Contest. Chandrasekar was awarded a $400 prize for his original essay on gene regulation and its role in human disease. Also, Chandrasekar’s science teacher, Nicholas DiGiovanni, received a $400 grant from ASHG to purchase new genetics laboratory equipment for the biology classrooms at Naperville Central High School.
Almost 6,000 essays were written for this year’s contest, and ASHG received entries from 43 U.S. states, as well as from Canada, Italy, China, Turkey, Greece, India, Bangladesh, and Lithuania, according to a press release. More than 300 geneticists from the ASHG membership volunteered to judge the students’ essays on the basis of scientific accuracy, creativity, and writing quality.
The goal behind the essay contest was to educate students and teachers about important concepts in genetic science. This year’s topic specifically focused on students ability to demonstrate their understanding of gene regulation.
Another Chicago area student, Nathan Swetlitz, a junior at Chicagoland Jewish High School in Deerfield, won first place.
“The ASHG judges were very impressed with the outstanding essays written by Swetlitz and Chandrasekar, both of whom clearly demonstrated a solid understanding of complex genetics concepts and a thorough knowledge of gene regulation and disease,” said ASHG’s Education Director, Dr. Michael Dougherty in a press release. “The fact that two of the top three winners in this international competition hale from the same local area is a testament to the high quality of biology teaching and learning in the Chicago area. Mr. Swetlitz’s placing as a top winner two years in a row is a remarkable achievement – a first for our contest.”
For more information about the National DNA Day Essay Contest and ASHG’s other genetics education programs and resources, visit http://www.ashg.org/education.