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Science and Human Rights Coalition Announces 2014 Student Essay Competition Winners

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition has announced the winners of its first annual student essay competition. The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students, who were invited to write an essay on any topic at the intersection of science, technology and human rights. 

Fifty-three students from eleven different countries entered the competition. Their essays covered almost as many topics, addressing human rights concerns connected to surrogacy, immunization, bio-technology, genetic tests, environmental health issues, and more. Many essays highlighted potential contributions of science and technology to protecting human rights, while others gave thoughtful consideration to ways in which human rights principles can inform scientific research and practice.

Graduate Student Winners

First Place
Wasiu Adedapo Lawal, The University of Texas at Arlington
Essay Title: "Water as a Friend and a Right"

Second Place
Marina Santiago, Harvard University
Essay Title: “Genetic Discrimination: 23andMe, GINA, Myriad, and the Future”

Undergraduate Student Winners

First Place
Surabhi Chaturvedi, National Law Institute University, Bhopal
Essay Title: “Satellite Imagery in International Human Rights Litigation”

Second Place
Isaac Song, Rutgers University
Essay Title: “The Condom and Banana Problem”

The authors of the two winning essays will each receive one year of membership in AAAS, which among other benefits includes 51 weekly issues of Science, online access to Science articles and the Science archive, networking opportunities within the AAAS community and more. The essays will be considered for publication in Professional Ethics Review and the Journal of the International Association of Official Statistics.

The competition was organized by the Coalition’s Outreach and Communications Committee, with leadership from Ali Arab, Jeffrey Toney, and Joseph Carson. Generous support for the competition was provided by Kean University and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers-East Tennessee Section.

Competition judges were:    

  • Elizabeth Ambos, Executive Director, Council for Undergraduate Research
  • Ali Arab, Assistant Professor of Statistics, Georgetown University (Co-Chair of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Outreach and Communications Committee)
  • Joseph P. Carson, PE, U.S. Department of Energy, member ANS, ASME, NSPE
  • Bruce Friesen, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tampa
  • Heather Gingerich, Medical Geologist, International Medical Geology Association (Canada)
  • Mary Gray, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, American University
  • Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Democracy, Human Rights and Civil Society Consultant
  • Theresa Harris, Senior Program Associate, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
  • Barbara Jasny, Deputy Editor for Commentary, Science
  • Arthur Kendall, President, Capital Area Social Psychology Association
  • Jeffrey T. Laitman, Distinguished Professor, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • James Logan, Programme Officer, International Human Rights Programme, Oak Foundation
  • Fritz Scheuren, Senior Fellow and Vice President, Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Kat Song, Project Director, Communications, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships Program
  • Jeffrey Toney, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kean University (Co-Chair of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Outreach and Communications Committee)
  • Jessica Wyndham, Associate Director, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program and Coordinator of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition