2013 International Science Essay Competition Results

Congratulations to our 2013 ISEC Winners and Runner-Ups!

Tony Pan, of Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA, was awarded first place for his essay “Nuclear Security and Nanotechnology.” Navya Dasari, of BASIS Scottsdale school in Scottsdale, AZ, received second place.

In addition, Sara Camilli, of Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ, and Rachel Stanziola, of MMI Preparatory School in Freeland, PA, were each honored as runner-ups.

The DUJS Editorial Board would like to thank all who participated in ISEC 2013. This year we received over 260 submissions from twenty different countries, making our selection process extremely difficult. To all of our contestants, we wish you all the best as you continue your studies in science.


Tony PanFirst Place Winner: Tony Pan
Grade: 12
Topic: Nuclear Security and Nanotechnology
Lynbrook High School

What are you thoughts about winning ISEC 2013?
I’ve always had a passion for both the sciences and writing and I decided that ISEC would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my abilities in both fields. Winning first place was a huge honor for me and it felt great to know that a team of accomplished authors and editors acknowledged the quality of my writing.

What did you learn while writing your essay?
Writing my essay helped me realize how interconnected different sects of science really are. I was very excited to learn how important ideas can be applied in multiple contexts.  I was able to expand my capability as a thinker and develop creativity in science. I also became more aware of the role science plays in today’s world and how it affects the way we live our lives.

What do you hope to study in college?
I hope to major in materials science engineering or chemical engineering and minor in computer science in college.

 Navya DasariSecond Place Winner: Navya Dasari
Grade: 11
Topic: Next to Normal: Mood Disorders, Medicine, and Society
BASIS Scottsdale High School
What are your thoughts about winning Second Place?
I am really honored to have my essay selected for second place and excited to hear that it will be published in the print journal. I worked hard on the essay and really enjoyed researching and writing it, so I’m glad that others in the scientific community found it valuable. I feel strongly about advancing the mental health care system, as I’ve seen firsthand how important it is. If my essay could spark more discussion about these issues, it would make me really happy.

What did you learn while writing your essay?
While writing the essay, I learned how deep the stigma and discrimination surrounding bipolar disorder and depression really go. It was disappointing to see the extent to which race-associated stigma and media misinformation hurt those suffering from these disorders, but with that knowledge I could also identify clear areas in which progress can be made. The biology behind depression and its treatments is fascinating, and I finished the essay with a much better understanding of the brain and how crucial interdisciplinary research is to the study and treatment of depression.

What do you hope to study in college? 
As someone who is both a captivated psychology student and research assistant in a neuro-oncology lab, I’ve developed a strong passion for neuroscience and I hope that I can continue to pursue this interest in college. I’d love to continue with scientific research, not only in neuroscience but also in molecular biology and oncology.

Sara CamilliRunner-Up: Sara Camilli
Grade: 11
Topic: Agricultural Biotechnology: A Solution to World Hunger and Malnutrition?
Biotechnology High School

What did you learn while writing your essay?
While writing and researching for my essay, I learned a lot about both world hunger and current developments in agricultural biotechnology. Putting the two together in my essay was exciting and required me to expand my thinking, which I imagine will be a valuable skill in the future.
What do you hope to study in college? 
In college I hope to continue my pursuit of the sciences. At present, I imagine myself getting a bachelor degree in biology and going on to graduate school to study biotechnology. Cancer studies have always interested me as well, and it would be great to be able to conduct research in that area of study.

Rachel StanziolaRunner-Up: Rachel Stanziola
Grade: 11
Topic: Bioprinting Hope
MMI Preparatory School

What did you learn while writing your essay?
I learned that advancements in technology such as 3D printing can help save lives. 3D printing will pave the way for future scientific breakthroughs.
What do you hope to study in college? 
I plan to major in the sciences and possibly incorporate my new knowledge of bioprinting in my career.

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