ASHG Announces Results of First-Ever Teen Genes Video Challenge

Media Contact:
Nalini Padmanabhan
ASHG Communications Manager

For Immediate Release
Friday, November 20, 2015
12:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time (UTC-05:00)

Contest Invites High Schoolers to Describe Current Applications of Genetics

BETHESDA, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is pleased to announce May Kyaw and Virginia Sun, seniors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., as the first-place winners of its inaugural Teen Genes Video Challenge. Dhanya Mahesh, a junior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif.; Allie Evans, a senior at Marion County High School in Lebanon, Ky.; and Amee Kapadia, Selina Cheng, and Aaron Gu, juniors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology received honorable mentions.

“The Teen Genes Video Challenge provides high school students an opportunity to choose a genetics topic that interests them and explore its significance, both in their own lives and for society more broadly,” said Michael Dougherty, PhD, Director of Education for ASHG. “Much like our annual DNA Day Essay Contest, this contest allows students to show their creative side while celebrating the impact of science.”

Entrants were asked to submit a 3-5 minute video describing any current application of genetics and explaining how it works. After the videos were reviewed for appropriateness, ASHG members were invited to view the entries and use a predetermined set of judging criteria to vote for a winner.

First-place winners Kyaw and Sun, whose video described research into the human microbiome and potential implications for health, will share a $1,500 monetary prize. In addition, they will participate in a video chat with Rick Guidotti, an award-winning former fashion photographer and founder of Positive Exposure. Honorable mention recipients, whose videos described varied topics such as crime scene investigation and approaches to ancestry testing, will each receive a $150 monetary prize.

The winning video described the genetics of the human microbiome. (Credit: May Kyaw and Virginia Sun, Thomas Jefferson High School)

View additional details on the contest winners, including the winning videos.

About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit:

9650 Rockville Pike | Bethesda, MD 20814 | 301.634.7300 | |

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