Evolution Essay Contest: Results are in!

The Alliance for Science has put up the final results from their 1st Annual Evolution Essay Contest! Here’s a copy of their press release, in case you didn’t know about it and want to find out more:

High School Student Cites Disease Tracking and Antibiotic Resistance in Winning Evolution Essay

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2007

Arlington, Va. –Why should doctors study evolution? High school students from all over the nation answered this question with an essay in a contest sponsored by the Alliance for Science, a national non-profit that promotes good science teaching.

“The essay contest is part of our effort to bring together scientists, teachers and supporters of science education with the many religious bodies that have found no conflict between religion and science, said Dr. Irving W. Wainer, the chair of Alliance for Science. “Our goal is to reawaken America’s love of science.”

Gregory Simonian, of Los Angeles, CA, an 11th grader at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, won the grand prize for his essay, which cites disease tracking and antibiotic resistance as two important contributions of evolutionary biology to medicine. Simonian will receive a $300 cash prize.

His teacher, Ms. Gloriana Chung, also receives prizes: $250 for classroom use; GeoSpiza, an interactive biology learning program, and a DVD on evolution from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Merve Fejzula, of Garfield, NJ, won second place for her entertaining essay about visiting her doctor’s own waiting room and considering the role of evolution there. Fejzula is a senior at Academies@Englewood, in Englewood, NJ. She receives $250; her teacher Ms. Clare Kennedy wins the evolution DVD.

Third Place: Shobha Topgi, Palatine, IL, an 11th grader at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy wins $150, and teacher Dr. Richard Dods wins the evolution DVD.

Fourth Place: Linda Zhou, River Edge, NJ, 9th grader at the Bergen County Academies wins $100, and teacher Dr. Judith Pinto wins the evolution DVD.

“I hope this contest has helped students see that evolutionary science is not a matter of personal philosophy or worldview,” said Dick Lessard, AfS Essay Contest Director.”It’s hard, evidence-based science that directly affects our lives individually, as well as having major implications for public policy.”

Not half bad, considering we had the idea in late 2006 and threw the contest together at the last minute so as to try and correspond with Darwin Day 2007. A HUGE thank-you to all our donors for making this possible, and remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg! We’ll be back next year with most of the kinks ironed out, and hopefully some great prizes and new twists!

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