This contest will run from September 1st 2019 through October 4th 2019. Winning essays will be published in the Winter PAGC newsletter. The author of the winning essay will receive paid student membership to NSGC for 2020 and up to $500 in travel reimbursement to help with attendance for a local or national genetics meeting. Two or more honorable mentions will also receive paid student member to NSGC for 2020.
Genetic testing is now more accessible and more popular than ever. More people are getting their DNA tested, for more indications, than ever before. People can learn information about themselves, their relatives, their health, and even their pets by ordering genetic testing online. Select one of the two essay prompts below to further explore how the popularity of genetic testing is impacting the practice of genetic counseling.
Prompt #1 Explain one general misconception about genetics in popular culture. How did it arise, why is it perpetuated, what is the truth behind the misconception, and how could it impact the relationship between a genetic counselor and his or her patients? Provide suggestions that genetic counselors can take to address this misconception both in a genetic counseling session and publicly, as a profession.
Prompt #2 Popular direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies often sell or share genetic data. Examine the benefits and limitations of this practice from the point of view of 3 or more stakeholders in this practice. Stakeholders can include but are not limited to the patient, the DTC company, physicians, medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and law enforcement. Conclude by providing suggestions on how to discuss data sharing and privacy with patients who are considering DTC genetic testing.
Who May Enter Essays that will be accepted must be sponsored by a PAGC member and written by a student enrolled in a genetic counseling graduate program in Pennsylvania.
How to Submit An Essay
A PAGC member must sponsor the student essay and authenticate that submission is the original work of a currently enrolled student.
Only one entry may be submitted for each student.
Essay submission forms and completed essays must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on October 4th, 2019. Once submitted, essays cannot be changed or revised.
Essays must be the product of an individual student's work; group submissions are not permitted.
All essays must be written in English and are limited to 1200 words. Word count includes in-text citations, but does not include reference lists.
Essay titles are optional and will be counted towards the word limit.
Word count is best determined by Microsoft Word's count.
Essays should not include a student's name.
Essays must include at least one reference. References must be clearly documented with both in-text citations and in the references list. Students may use either APA or MLA style citations. There is no restriction on how many references students may use. However, please keep in mind that students should avoid having too many references, as we want to know the student's opinion on the question and not the opinion of the student's sources.
Quality of references will be considered by judges when scoring.
Low quality sources = Wikipedia.
High quality sources = Research journals (for example, from PubMed)
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. The text of the student's essay must be his or her own words unless quotations are explicitly noted. If plagiarism is suspected during any point of the contest, the essay in question will be examined. Essays found to contain the uncited work of others will be disqualified and the student's teacher will be notified. Plagiarism.org gives a helpful explanation of what plagiarism is.
1st Prize: 2020 student membership to NSGC/PAGC. ($100)
$500 travel scholarship for 2019-2020 genetics meeting of your choice (PAGC, NSGC, etc.)
Honorable Mentions: 2020 student membership to NSGC/PAGC ($100)
Judging Process and Rubric Follow the rubric below to help craft your essay. Judges use this rubric to evaluate every. Essays will be judged anonymously.
Overall accuracy of the science content: 0-6 points
Use of evidence in support of an argument/answer; essay well-focused on the question/topic selected: 0-6 points