NEWS: Sastry Wins National Essay Writing Contest


(Photo courtesy

By Ian Hugo – Staff Reporter

Law junior Amita Sastry recently placed first in a nationwide essay-writing contest.

The contest, sponsored by the Yale Scientific Magazine, was open to students across the United States. Students were required to discuss how scientists have attained success by breaking convention.

“I decided to enter the contest because I had a lot of ideas that I thought would be interesting to share,” said Sastry. “I felt that it would be an enriching experience in terms of scientific inquiry as well as essay writing.”

Only after several drafts and receiving helpful comments from others was Sastry ready to submit her final piece.

“Although the ideas came easily, it was definitely a challenge to put them all together in a cohesive piece that flowed smoothly,” Sastry said.

Sastry learned of the contest from her ninth grade biology teacher Mrs. Mercaldi, and listed Mercaldi and Sastry’s own sister Siri (who is currently studying at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan) as people who were influential in her success in this contest.

“My sister Siri offered her help in proofreading my essay and making it great,” Sastry said.

Sastry said that when she received the email saying that she had won she was “both shocked and overjoyed upon reading that I was so successful.”

Sastry said she immediately forwarded the email to her family with a message thanking them for all their help and support in the essay-writing process.

In her essay, Sastry wrote about an idea she has to invent something that would allow humans to take a picture of something with their eye and then be able to transfer the images from their eye to a computer.

“I’ve been interested in the eyes and ophthalmology from a young age, and I’ve always thought it would be cool to be able to take photographs with our own eyes,” said Sastry. “I’ve seen so many phenomena that are simply impossible to capture authentically with a camera that I’ve wished I could snap a picture in real time.”

While this idea may seem far-fetched to some, with bright young minds like Sastry, something like this may be just around the corner.

After winning the contest, Sastry received a t-shirt with the Yale synapse logo on it, a certificate of achievement, and a copy of the Yale Scientific Magazine with her published essay inside.

“I wasn’t sure that I would be so lucky as to win first place, but I enjoyed the process of writing the piece nonetheless,” said Sastry.

Read Sastry’s winning essay online here:




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