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Science & Human Rights Coalition: 2015 Student Essay Competition

Science & Human Rights Coalition: 2015 Student Essay Competition

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Essay Competition. This essay competition was created to inspire students to explore connections between human rights and science, engineering and the health professions. Students may write on any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights.


Any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights

Science & Human Rights Coalition: 2015 Student Essay Competition


AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition


Prizes, including a year of membership in AAAS and a one-year subscription to Science, will be awarded in the following categories: 1) Undergraduate student and 2) Graduate student; as well as a travel stipend to attend the Coalition’s meeting, generously provided by the AAAS-Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education, and Human Rights. Students who receive prizes will be asked to support AAAS stewardship of the Sessler Fund by providing feedback about their experience in the competition.

The winning students will be recognized at the July 15-16, 2015 meeting of the Science and Human Rights Coalition (AAAS is unable to cover travel expenses). Their essays will be considered for publication in Professional Ethics Report, a quarterly publication of the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program.


Friday, May 22 (2015) at 11:59 PM (EST).



  1. The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program.
  2. Students may be enrolled in any discipline. Students enrolled in life science, physical science, social science, health, engineering or mathematics programs are especially encouraged to participate.
  3. Students may be enrolled in any accredited college or university. There is no geographic restriction.
  4. Submissions should be written in the form of an analytical or critical paper that raises thought-provoking questions. For example, potential essay topics might include: the applications of a scientific approach or a new technology to address specific human rights concerns; an analysis of synergies between human rights obligations and the social responsibilities of scientists, engineers and/or health professionals; or the ways in which full implementation of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress may influence realization of other human rights. These examples are only provided to spark ideas: students are encouraged to write essays that reflect their own ideas, interests, and insights.
  5. Papers written for courses are eligible, but all papers must be the original, unpublished work of an individual student.
  6. Each student may submit only one essay.
  7. Students must submit essays as an attachment to an email to by the Submission Deadline: Friday, May 22, 2015, 11:59 pm EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.


  1. Essays should be no more than 1,500 words in length.
  2. A complete bibliography should be included, if appropriate. The bibliography and/or footnotes will not count towards the word limit.
  3. Essays should be typed and double-spaced, in an easily readable font (such as Times New Roman), with 1” margins.
  4. All pages must include the title of the essay and page numbers.
  5. Submissions will be judged anonymously so please do not include any personally identifying information (name, university) in the essay document.
  6. Essays must be submitted in English.

Essay Judging

Essays will be evaluated for:

(1) Writing quality and clarity;

(2) Analysis and reasoning;

(3) Originality and creativity;

(4) Depth of knowledge and awareness of important issues and challenges; and

(5) Compliance with the essay competition requirements.

Judges for the competition will be drawn from among the representatives of AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Member Associations, as well as Affiliated Individual members of the Coalition. Prominent scientists and engineers from outside the Coalition membership and experienced human rights advocates will also be invited to serve as judges.

How to Enter

  1. Submit your essay as an attachment to an email to
  2. The attachment may be sent in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.
  3. The subject line of your email should be: Student Essay Competition (undergraduate) or Student Essay Competition (graduate) as appropriate depending on your status.
  4. The body of the email must include the following information: a. Name
  5. College or university where you are enrolled
  6. Student status (undergraduate or graduate)
  7. Essay title
  8. Email address
  9. Mailing address
  10. Phone number

Read the competition’s terms and conditions here.

Please note: Students participating in the competition authorize AAAS to use all or part of their essays in print and digital media. In such instances, the essay will be attributed to the author(s) and the college or university the student(s) attend.


Questions should be directed to Theresa Harris at / +1 (202) 326-6796


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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. Wasiu Lawal says:

    Hello all. Thanks for posting this Tosin.

    I happen to be the winner of last year’s edition of this competition and I’d like to encourage everyone who’s in school to submit an entry.

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