NCSE congratulates the winners of Alliance for Science's third annual essay contest, announced (PDF) on April 30, 2009. Alliance for Science — a non-profit organization which seeks "to heighten public understanding and support for science and to preserve the distinctions between science and religion in the public sphere" — invited high school students to compare the achievements and dedication of a modern-era scientist with those of Charles Darwin.
Alliance for Science received entries from students around the country. The winning entry was submitted by Regina Parker, a high school sophomore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who wrote about Walter J. Gehring. She received copies of Lauri Lebo's The Devil in Dover and Carl Zimmer's Microcosm as well as $300 as a prize, while her teacher Jessica Jones received copies of Kenneth R. Miller's Finding Darwin's God and Only a Theory as well as $150 toward classroom supplies.
Parker's prize essay, as well as four other prize-winning essays from the contest, are now posted in PDF form at Alliance for Science's website. "Our winners this year really showed how well they grasped the theme of the contest," said Dick Lessard, the director of Alliance for Science's essay contest. "We hope that all of the students who entered the contest learned to look at Darwin's work and career in a new light, while also developing an appreciation for the challenges and excitement of science today."