Essays are expected to contain substantive, well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay question. Essays are read and evaluated by several independent judges through three rounds of scoring.
Choose a genetic test that is currently available for a condition or disease that does not cause symptoms until adulthood (i.e., an adult-onset condition such as hereditary breast cancer). Describe how the test works and how certain the test results are. Then, either defend or refute the recommendation below from ASHG’s recent position statement on pediatric genetic testing.
“Adolescents should be encouraged to defer predictive or pre-dispositional testing for adult-onset conditions until adulthood because of the complexity of the potential impact of the information at formative life stages.”
The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
First place winner: $1,000 + $1,000 genetics materials grant for teacher
Second place winner: $600 + $600 genetics materials grant for teacher
Third place winner: $400 + $400 genetics materials grant for teacher
Honorable mention: 10 prizes of $100 each
March 11 2016
- Essays will be accepted from high school students (grades 9-12) in the US and internationally. A teacher or administrator must submit the essay and authenticate that the submission is the original work of the student. Parents may submit the essays of home-schooled students only. Only one entry may be submitted for each student.
- All essays must be written in English and are limited to 750 words, including in-text citations. Essay titles are optional and will be counted towards the word limit. Reference lists do not count toward the 750 word limit.
- Each teacher may only submit six student essays per class, for up to three classes.
- Essays must be submitted electronically through the ASHG submission site no later than 5:00 pm EST on March 11, 2016.
- The ASHG submission site will open in early January 2016. Essays mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Society will NOT be accepted. Once submitted, essays cannot be changed or revised.
- The text of student essays must be original prose unless quotations are explicitly noted. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If plagiarism is suspected during any point of the contest, ASHG’s Plagiarism Review Board will examine the essay in question.
- Essays found to contain the uncited work of others will be disqualified, and the student’s teacher will be notified. This video from Carteret Community College Library gives a great overview of what constitutes plagiarism.
- Essays must include at least one reference. References must be clearly documented with both in-text citations and in the references list (the reference list should be separately entered into the “References” section of the submission page). Students may use either APA or MLA style for citing references. There is no restriction on how many references students may use. Quality of references will be considered by judges when scoring. General references such as Wikipedia are considered low-quality, whereas primary literature from research journals (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) is considered high-quality.
- Only classroom teachers are eligible for the equipment grant. Teachers of first-place winners from 2013, 2014, and 2015 are not eligible for equipment grants in 2016.
- Please note that text from essays may be used for research purposes to identify misconceptions, misunderstandings, and areas of student interest in genetics. Student text may be published on the ASHG Web site, newsletter or in other ASHG-supported publications.
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