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Science and Human Rights Coalition Announces 2019 Student Competition Winners

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

53 students from 11 different countries entered the competition. The essays represented a wide array of topics including promoting equal access to science and engineering, highlighting the potential harms science and technology can cause vulnerable populations, and exploring ways in which human rights principles can inform how we prepare for the societal impacts of emerging technologies. The winners will be recognized at the October 2019 AAAS Science and Human Rights Conference in Washington, DC.

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

Graduate Student Winner

Mehrogol Tiv

Mehrgol Tiv, McGill University
Essay Title: 
"AI for Social Good: How Psychological Researchers Can Contribute to the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence"

Mehrgol Tiv is a doctoral student in experimental psychology at McGill University’s Department of Psychology. Her research aims to answer how bilinguals make complex social inferences to understand one another during intergroup communication. Tiv is particularly interested in how diverse social identities impact cognitive and neural processing of language. She is also an advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in science and academia.

Undergraduate Student Winner

Sumona Gupta

Sumona Gupta, The University of Alabama
Essay Title: 
"Deep Poverty and Shallow Trenches: The Human Right to Sanitation in Alabama’s Black Belt"

Sumona Gupta is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Socio-Legal Studies. Her focus is immigration law and policy, as she has researched the effects of Alabama’s discriminatory immigration laws, lobbied lawmakers to uphold the Dream and Promise Act for Temporary Protected Status holders, and aided in the legal defense of detained immigrant adults and children. Though overall, Gupta aims to examine how social forces and legal institutions interact and react to one another.

Honorable Mention

Anna Lee Ali Headshot

Anna Lee Ali, University of London
Essay Title: 
"Samantha’s #MeToo: examining the idea of consent in sex robots (sexbots)"

Anna Lee Ali, an economist by training, is pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree with the University of London on a part-time basis. She is a second year student and is passionate about human and animal rights. Overwhelmed by the perceived injustices in the world, she hopes to utilize her acquired legal knowledge to assist and defend the most vulnerable in society. Ali is a economist by training. 

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.

Many thanks to the judges:

Affiliations provided for identification purposes only

Diaa A. Ahmed Independent Research Professional
Andrea Boggio Bryant University
Michael Cohen American Institutes for Research
Uvetta Dozier Bowie State University
Martin Fernandez AAAS Research Competitiveness Program
Symma Finn National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Joseph Flores-Toro University of Florida
Irene Fogarty University College Dublin
Mark Frezzo University of Mississippi
Cathy Furlong Statistics Without Borders
Juan C. Gallardo American Physical Society
Joanne Heininger AAAS Member Experience & Engagement
Michele Irwin American Physical Society
Arthur Kendall Capital Area Social Psychology Association
Se Kim AAAS Programs
Jerome Krase Brooklyn College
Arthur J. Lustig Tulane University
Vikram Singh Prasher University of Massachusetts Lowell
Mindy Reiser Member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition
Caroline Schuerger Case-Western Reserve University
Liljana Stevceva Medical Education and Research Institute
Laureen Summers AAAS Project on Science, Technology and Disability
Neil Thivalapill Harvard School of Public Health
Jeffrey Toney Kean University
Ann T. Torrusio University of Missouri St. Louis Honors College
Carol Valoris Committee of Concerned Scientists
Edward J. Walsh Acoustical Society of America
Brad Wible Science
Jessica Wyndham AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program



Joel Ericsen

Program Associate

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