Science And Society Essay Contests

2017 Annual Meeting
Washington, DC, USA
November 9-10

Student/Postdoc Essay Contest in Neuroethics

The INS Student/Postdoc Essay Contest, now in its fourth year, aims to promote interest in neuroethics among students and postdocs early in their academic careers. The contest is open to all post-secondary students enrolled in a degree-granting program at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. This year, participants submitted essays in one of two categories—Academic or Science Communication—with varying formats and expectations.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted essays to this year's contest and recognize the following authors for their exceptional work. Links to the essays will be made available as drafts are finalized and published. Join us at the INS Annual Meeting to meet and congratulate these young scholars and communicators. Register today!

Academic Essay Winner

Science Communication Essay Winner

Editorial Mentorship Selectees

  • "Propranolol: Beginning the Discussion on a Medical Solution to Reducing Police Brutality" by Natalia Montes, University of Washington
  • "Psychiatry: The Modern Predicament" by Ien Li, Princeton University
  • "My Brain Made Me Do It" by Crystal Jing Jing Yeo, Houston Methodist Neurological Institute
  • "On the Ethics of Neurogenetics" by Abigail Danfora, American University
  • "Hearing Voices: First-Person Perspectives & Combating Social Stigma" by Stephanie M. Hare, Georgia State University

The 2016 INS Student/Postdoc Essay Contest winners Kaitlyn McGlothlen and Monique Wonderly, center and right, received a Michael Patterson Neuroethics Travel Stipend, presented by Dr. Michael Patterson, pictured left.

About the Contest

The essay contest is organized annually by the members of the INS Student/Postdoc Committee and supported by Dr. Michael Patterson. The call for essays is announce in March, submissions are generally accepted through June, and the winners, announced late summer, are invited to receive recognition at the INS Annual Meeting in November.

The essay submission deadline for this year has passed, but we encourage you to review the format and requirements in the call for essays to prepare your future submissions.

2016 Winning Essays

2015 Winning Essays

2014 Winning Essays

About INS

The International Neuroethics Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists, clinicians and other professionals who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience. Our mission is to promote the development and responsible application of neuroscience through interdisciplinary and international research, education, outreach and public engagement for the benefit of people of all nations, ethnicities and cultures.

Congratulations to our winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!

Thank you for making this another successful year! We received many submissions from students in 40 U.S. states and 21 foreign countries, including Colombia, Ukraine, and Singapore. We would also like to thank the over 500 ASHG members who participated in judging the essays!


2017 Winners

Click the names below to view essay excerpts.


Blake Holman
Lake Dallas High School
Corinth, TX
Teacher: Cynthia Powers Jio Jeong
Seoul International School
Seongnam-si, South Korea
Teacher: Eugene Lee Lucy Liu
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Aurora, IL
Teacher: Crystal Randall Alleanna Marquez
Whitestation High School
Memphis, TN
Teacher: Chikezie Madu

Rhea Park
Head-Royce School
Oakland, CA
Teacher: Jennifer Brakeman Tharushi Perera
Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, NY
Teacher: John Davis Arielle Rothman
North Shore Hebrew Academy High School
Great Neck, NY
Teacher: Lisa Runco Julian Rubinfien
Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY
Teacher: Maria Nedwidek-Moore

Olivia Wilkes
Home School
Toney, AL
Teacher: Linda Wilkes Lina Zein
Hathaway Brown School
Shaker Heights, OH
Teacher: Sheri Homany Jacob Zinberg
Torah Academy of Bergen County
Teaneck, NJ
Teacher: Garry Katz


See where in the world our submissions come from:


About the Contest

The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on important ideas and issues related to human genetics. Competitive essays are expected to convey substantive, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments that demonstrate deep understanding.

Essays are evaluated through three rounds of judging, and every essay is read by a minimum of three judges. Top-scoring essays have typically been scored by a dozen or more judges. 

Questions/Comments: Contact dnaday@ashg.org

2017 Question

In the early 1990s, gene therapy was hailed as a potential treatment or cure for many genetic diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, problems during clinical trials, including the death of a patient due to a fatal immune reaction, forced scientists to re-think their strategies. Recent advances in biology have made gene therapy more promising than ever and expanded the field beyond its original concept of providing an additional, functional copy of a malfunctioning gene to specific cells. Choose one modern example of gene therapy (since 2005), describe the disease or condition researchers are attempting to treat, and explain how the therapy/approach might repair the underlying cause of the disease or condition.

Adele PengGrade 9

Teacher: Aubrie Holman
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Alexandria, VA

Sophia SpiegelGrade 11

Teacher: Judith Pinto
Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, NJ

Alvin YaGrade 12

Teacher: Mary Alice Adah
Poolesville High School
Poolesville, MD

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