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Prodigies' Innovations Have Worldwide Implications
Davidson Institute Names 15 Students Selected as 2003 Fellows;
Cautions Against Ignoring the Potential of Profoundly Intelligent Youth

Reno, Nev., (Aug. 5, 2003) - Justin Liu’s development of a revolutionary mathematical model identifies proteins in the body that allow HIV to thrive while advancing stronger and more effective treatment options.  Irene Sun’s analysis of gene expression regulation could relieve the pain of millions suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.  Michael Snow’s discovery of new properties of clay adhesion to polymers has far-reaching applications in fields ranging from bio-toxin analysis to automobile engineering. And Keerthi Prabhala’s creation of an electronic “brain” could allow physically disabled people to move objects by thought.

Not one of these students is even old enough to vote.

These young men and women are among 15 students from across the country named as 2003 Davidson Fellows, an honor accompanied by a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing profoundly intelligent young people, established the Davidson Fellowship in 2001 to recognize and reward students under the age of 18 who have made significant achievements in science, technology, mathematics, music, literature or philosophy. Each of the Fellows’ projects must make a positive contribution to society.

“The work completed by the 2003 Davidson Fellows has far-reaching, worldwide and long-term implications,” said Marie Capurro, director of programs and services at the Davidson Institute. “The Fellows have the potential to become the next Einsteins, Marie Curies and Mozarts - they have the potential to change the world.”

Yet without a significant shift in the way the nation’s K-12 education system responds to the needs of profoundly intelligent students, arguably the most under-served population in American schools today, many promising advances and inventions may never be realized.

“Ironically, these students may at first seem like the last ones in need of help,” said Jan Davidson, a former education software entrepreneur who co-founded the Davidson Institute with her husband, Bob. “The highly intelligent seem privileged, and thus undeserving of extra attention. But these students have very specialized education needs, and too often the education system can’t, or won’t, try to meet them.”

Nearly half of all gifted students are underachievers and, shockingly, one out of every five high school dropouts tests in the gifted range.

“By failing to recognize and nurture extraordinary intellectual ability, we are in effect writing off our nation’s brightest young minds,” said Bob Davidson. “By denying them the opportunity to excel in their endeavors, we deny the nation, perhaps even the world, the benefits of what they will someday achieve.”

Despite the lack of support within the current education system, some gifted students are extraordinary achievers and the Davidson Institute is committed to recognizing their prodigious accomplishments. This year, four 2003 Davidson Fellow Laureates will receive $50,000 scholarships, six Davidson Fellows will receive $25,000 scholarships, and five will receive $10,000 scholarships.

The Davidson Institute believes all students should be provided with an educational experience appropriate to their abilities. The Davidson Fellowship was created in part to call attention to this need.  Profoundly intelligent students are those who fuel advances in science, technology and mathematics; propel society to new heights in literature, music and philosophy; and drive an economy that will keep America competitive in an international marketplace.

Located in Reno, Nev., the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a 501(c)3 nonprofit operating foundation founded in 1999 by educational software entrepreneurs, Bob and Jan Davidson.  The mission of the Davidson Institute is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.  For more information on the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, please visit  


2003 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- Scholarship Award: $50,000

  • Devon Guthrie, a 16-year-old from Claremont, Calif.; Music – Vocalist:  “An American Quartet: Poet, Composer, Singer & Pianist"

  • Daniel Kane, a 17-year-old from Madison, Wis.; Mathematics: “Two Papers on the Theory of Partitions”

  • Justin Liu, a 17-year-old from Sacramento, Calif.; Science:  “Chemokine Receptors and Chemokine Receptor-like Proteins: Prime Candidates for Tyrosine Sulfation”

  • Jamie Rubin, a 16-year-old from Ft. Myers, Fla.; Science: “Characterization of the Secreted Aspartic Proteinases of C. albicans Using a Combinatorial Approach”

2003 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $25,000

  • Timothy Andres, a 17-year-old from Washington, Conn.; Music – Composer: “Piano Works of Timothy Andres”

  • Qilei Hang, a 17-year-old from Cumberland, Md.; Science: “Optimization of the Location for Two Drawpoint Holes in Conical Stockpiles”

  • Anders Kaseorg, a 17-year-old from Charlotte, N.C.; Mathematics: “The Theory of P-Set Games"

  • Pallavi Mahidhara, a 15-year-old from Bethesda, Md.; Music – Classical Instrumentalist: “My Musical Journey with the Piano”

  • Michael Snow, a 17-year-old from Woodmere, N.Y.; Science: “The Effect of Inorganic Fillers on Adhesion”

  • Irene Sun, a 16-year-old from Indianapolis, Ind.; Science: “Model-Based Gene Expression Analysis of Synovial Cells Under Impulsive Shock”

2003 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $10,000

  • Julian Gingold, a 17-year-old from Scarsdale, N.Y.; Science: “Analyzing/Displaying Protein Motion: Variations in Interatomic Distances and Crystallographic B-Factor"

  • Tim Lyakhovetskiy, a 17-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif.; Technology: “Stem Engine”

  • Keerthi Prabhala, a 17-year-old from Irvine, Calif.; Technology: “Brainwave Derived Electronic Control”

  • Arielle Tambini, a 17-year-old from Suffern, N.Y.; Science: “A Comparison of the Neuropsychology of Gulf War Veterans and Civilians Exposed to Pesticides”

  • Mandeep Virdi, a 17-year-old from Plainview, N.Y.; Science: “The Synthesis of a Taxoid Porphyrin Conjugate for Selective Drug Delivery”


Click here to visit the Davidson Fellows Press Room.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development
9665 Gateway Drive, Suite B
Reno, Nevada 89521
Fax: 775-852-2184