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Science and Human Rights Coalition Announces 2018 Student Competition Winners

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition has announced the winners of its fifth 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. 

56 students from 24 different countries entered the competition. The essays covered a wide range of topics at the intersection of science of human rights, including tropical diseases, artificial intelligence, social science research, and neurotechnology.  The winners will be recognized at the July 12, 2018 Science and Human Rights Coalition Symposium in Washington, D.C. 

Graduate Student Winner


Irene Fogarty, University College Dublin
Essay Title: "Protected Areas Conservation, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights"

Ms. Fogarty is currently undertaking a Masters of Science in World Heritage Conservation through University College Dublin on a part-time basis, while employed as Research Executive by The Irish Times in Dublin, Ireland. She is particularly interested in Indigenous cultural heritage, cultural resilience and landscape management, and in the World Heritage Convention's operational and decision-making processes. 

Undergraduate Student Winner


Neil Thivalapill, Columbia University
Essay Title: "The Etiology of Rights: Intersecting the Right to Health and the Right to Science for the Neglected Tropical Diseases"

Mr. Thivalapill graduated from Columbia University in 2018, where he studied Biology and Human Rights. His interests lie in designing and implementing global health interventions for populations burdened by infectious diseases, particularly in conflict settings and post-conflict states. In fall 2018, he will pursue an M.S. in Global Health & Population at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Honorable Mention


Kopal Jha, Cornell University
Essay Title: "What Women Expect When They're Expecting: Human Rights Considerations in Obstetrics"

Ms. Jha is Human Development major and pre-med student at Cornell University. She is interested in health systems innovation and is particularly excited by the potential of technology, data science and social science research to transform the healthcare landscape. She is currently working on a paper on the socioeconomic determinants of rising cesarean rates in developing countries, and hopes to use this research to inform policy that minimizes unnecessary intervention in the obstetrics space.

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 competition is supported by the AAAS-Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education and Human Rights

Many thanks to the judges:

  • Miriam Aczel, Imperial College London
  • Ali Arab, Georgetown University
  • Angela Bielefeldt, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Andrea Boggio, Bryant University
  • Liz Crocker, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
  • Mark Frezzo, University of Mississippi
  • Michele Irwin, American Physical Society
  • Arthur Kendall, Capital Area Social Psychological Association
  • Earl Lane, AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards Program
  • Steven Livingston, The George Washington University
  • Arthur Lustig, Tulane University
  • Robert O’Malley, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religio
  • Mindy Reiser, Member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition 
  • Jonathan Sessler, University of Texas at Austin
  • Laureen Summers, AAAS Education and Human Resoruces Program
  • Judith Tanur, Stony Brook University
  • Jeffrey Toney, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  • Jessica Wyndham, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
  • Saida Zardi, Zardi Stat-Econ Consulting