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2022 John Sexton Essay Contest



Evan R. Chesler (Chair)

Chairman of Cravath, Swaine & Moore


Rubana Huq 

Vice-Chancellor of Asian University for Women


Ting Yu
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, 
Teach for America's One Day Magazine


Shahidul Haque 

25th Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh


George E. Rupp
President Emeritus at International Rescue Committee, Columbia University, Rice University


Dina M. Siddiqi

Professor of Anthropology at BRAC University; Clinical Associate Professor at NYU


Gregory H. Stanton 

Founding President & Chairman of Genocide Watch

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Chaumtoli Huq 

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Law@theMargins; Associate Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law


Kamal Ahmad 

Founder & President, Asian University for Women


Michael L. Weitzman 

Professor of Pediatrics & Environmental Medicine, NYU Grossman


Katherine Gallagher 

Senior Staff Attorney at Center for Constitutional Rights


Shakil Ahmed 

Founder & CEO,

Princeton Alpha Management LP


Jan T. Vilcek 

Chairman & CEO, The Vilcek Foundation


Jesse Corburn 

Assistant Superintendent,

Uncommon Collegiate Charter High School


Adem Carroll
United Nations & New York 
Program Director, Burma Task Force

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Andrew Stein 

Head Tutor, Sentia Education; Social Policy Doctoral Student, Northwestern U.


1st Place

Aidan Gouley.jpeg

Aidan Gouley
Regis High School,
11th Grade

2nd Place

Sara Davies.jpeg

Sara Davies
Pittsford Sutherland High School,
11th Grade

3rd Place

Lucy Fritzinger.jpg

Lucy Fritzinger
Daniel Hand High School,
11th Grade

Honorable Mentions:

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Andrew Edelmann
Bronx High School of Science,
12th Grade

Ranaa Forgah.jpg

Raana Forgah
Leon M. Goldstein High School,
10th Grade

Bobby head shot.jpg

Robert Cook
River Dell High School,
9th Grade

Irene Cho.png

Irene Cho
River Dell High School,
9th Grade

Hannah Sim.jpeg

Hannah Sim
Syosset High School,
9th Grade

The John Sexton Scholars Program invites high school students across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to participate in the 2022 John Sexton Essay Contest. The competition challenges students to write an original and creative research essay for the following prompt:

Currently, there are over 80 million displaced people in the world today. Experts agree that climate change will cause a much larger refugee crisis in the coming decades. Make recommendations to inform global efforts to address this complex, impending emergency based on the Rohingya refugee crisis, as well as at least one other mass displacement.

Rules & Rubric


All students must:

  • Currently be enrolled in a high school (grades 9-12)

  • Attend a school in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut

  • Not have previously won or received an honorable mention in the John Sexton Essay Contest

  • Not be related to any member of the John Sexton Scholars Program Team or current judge

Submission Guidelines

  • The deadline is 11:59 pm EST on June 30th, 2022

  • Essays must be submitted via our website

  • The following must be submitted via our website's submission page: name, email address, high school currently attending, and current grade level.

  • Entries must be sent as a PDF document. The title should be your last name then first name. (Ex: Sexton, John)

Essay Requirements


  • No more than 500 words (excluding in-text citations)

  • At least three varied sources, such as newspapers and journal articles, books, TED Talks, videos, documentaries, government websites, and JS Scholar Interviews 

  • Sources must be documented with in-text citations and a bibliography

  • Only one entry per student per year

Awards & Scholars Program

1st Place Winner: $1000

2nd Place Winner: $300

3rd Place Winner: $200

Five Honorable Mentions:  $50 each

All winners will be awarded a plaque at our event and will have their essays posted on our website

All eight winners will receive:

  • A personal Awards Ceremony for students and their families

  • SAT tutoring with Sentia Education & additional college application assistance

  • A unique college & career mentorship with NYU President Emeritus, John Sexton

Winners will also become members of our Scholars Program, which includes:

  • Writing mentorships with our Student Journal

  • A unique collective grantmaking experience

  • Various internship opportunities

Awards are sponsored by: Justice For All and Sentia Education

Winners will be announced and notified via email by August 1, 2022.

Past winners of the John Sexton Essay Contest have gone on to attend NYU, Harvard,

Syracuse, Yale, Cornell, and many other prestigious colleges and universities.

Judging Criteria

Content will count for 75% and the following parameters will be considered:

  1. Focus:  Insightful development of a relevant thesis

  2. Supporting Evidence:  Well researched analysis of the question and convincing arguments with specific examples (Use evidence to support your ideas; do not merely paraphrase sources).

  3. Source Material:  Bibliography of three or more varied sources


Presentation will count for 25% and the following parameters will be considered:

  1. Quality of Writing:  Clarity, flow, vocabulary, and style

  2. Organization: Well-structured essay, including an introduction and conclusion

  3. Conventions:  Spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation


We recommend that you peruse the following resources to best prepare for the contest: ​​


  • The Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization.

  • The John Sexton Scholars Program reserves the right to print and display the essays and photographs of the contest winners.

  • Previous year winners are not eligible to compete in the contest.

  • All entries become the property of the John Sexton Scholars Program and will not be returned.

  • Decisions of the John Sexton Essay Contest Committee are final.

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