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Students' Innovations Have Worldwide Implications
Davidson Institute Highlights Importance of Nurturing Young Minds by
Naming 16 Students as 2004 Davidson Fellows

Reno, Nev., (Aug. 3, 2004) - Nicole Ali’s work at a leading national research facility furthered the understanding of how external umbilical cord stem cells can be used in the treatment of blood disorders, including leukemia and hemophilia. Jerry Guo developed an advanced spam filter that can be customized by the user to be 99 percent effective in blocking unwanted emails. Shuyu Wang unlocked part of the mystery surrounding the behavior of DNA, particularly how it bends to form RNA. And Harish Khandrika discovered a super massive black hole in a neighboring galaxy using NASA data.

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

These young men and women are among 16 students from across the country named as 2004 Davidson Fellows, an honor accompanied by a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national non-profit foundation that supports 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 and philosophy. Each of the Fellows’ projects must make a positive contribution to society.

“The work completed by the 2004 Davidson Fellows could forever change the world,” said Marie Capurro, director of programs and services at the Davidson Institute. “Students such as these are the ones who will lead future research, like developing the cure for AIDS, ending our dependence on fossil fuels and discovering new technologies. As a society, we could very well depend on their genius to address some of today’s most important problems.” 

Cultivating such genius is not difficult, says the Davidson Institute, it just takes flexibility on the part of educators, guidance from mentors and, most importantly, support from parents.

At present, nearly half of all gifted students are underachievers and, alarmingly, up to 20 percent of high school dropouts test in the gifted range. Further, there is no federal legislation that mandates gifted education nor are there cohesive infrastructures in place that help parents recognize -- and take advantage of -- resources to effectively advocate for gifted children. The absence of such practices stifles the development of highly intelligent youth, arguably the most under-served population in American schools today, and poses significant concerns regarding the development of future advances and inventions in all fields of study.

“For a society to ignore the development of its most talented young people is like letting crops rot during a famine,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute and co-author of Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds. “Ironically, these students may at first seem like the last ones in need of help. But these students have very specialized needs, and too often the education system can’t, or won’t, try to meet them.”

Because most states do not have mandatory identification programs in place for all school districts, many parents and educators often times do not realize how bright their student actually is until he or she becomes a disciplinary problem or complains of being bored in school.

“The Davidson Institute works with students, parents, educators and other professionals to ensure that all students are provided an educational experience commensurate with their abilities,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute and co-author of Genius Denied. “The 2004 Davidson Fellows are success stories – they’re students who have resourcefully found ways to nurture their genius by seeking out mentors, relying on strong family support and working diligently to achieve their goals.”

Located in Reno, Nev., the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a 501(c)3 nonprofit operating foundation started 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 in order to make a positive difference in society. Jan and Bob co-wrote with Laura Vanderkam Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds, which chronicles the struggles faced by many parents of gifted children and serves as a resource for other parents. For more information on the Davidson Institute for Talent Development or to request a copy of Genius Denied, please visit 


2004 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- Scholarship Award: $50,000

  • Miss Nicole Ali, 16 years old, St. Paul, Minn.; Science:  Twisted Gastrulation and Chordin Can Aid Primitive Human Hematopoietic Cell Expansion Ex Vivo

  • Mr. Jerry Guo, 16 years old, Greer, SC; Technology: “Development of an Advanced Bayesian Statistical Spam Filter

  • Miss Rachel Naomi Kudo, 17 years old, Northbrook, Ill.; Music:  For the Love of Music

  • Miss Shuyu Wang, 17 years old, East Lansing, Mich.; Science: “Statistical Mechanics of DNA Bending

2004 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $25,000

  • Miss Athena Adamopoulos, 17 years old, New York, NY; Music: “Expressing the Voice of the Individual in Music

  • Mr. Boris Alexeev, 17 years old, Athens, Ga.; Mathematics: “Minimal Space DFA's for Testing Divisibility

  • Miss Molly Carr, 17 years old, Reno, Nev.; Music: “Heaven Breaking In On Us

  • Mr. Matthew Goldstein, 17 years old, Delmar, NY; Technology: “DoorManBot: Instant Message Relaying for Offline Users

  • Mr. Harish Khandrika, 17 years old, La Jolla, Calif.; Science: “Analysis of X-Rays from the Core of Radio-Galaxy Centaurus A

  • Miss Natasha Simonova, 17 years old, Huntingdon Valley, Penn.; Literature: “The Renaissance: But Victual of Voracious Change

  • Miss April Wang, 17 years old, Cincinnati, Ohio; Literature: “Who Am I?”

2004 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $10,000

  • Miss Ann Chi, 17 years old, Terre Haute, Ind.; Science: “H2 and C2H4 Elimination Pathways in the Y + C2H6 Reaction

  • Mr. Illya Filshtinskiy, 17 years old, Westerville, Ohio; Music: “A Step Toward My Dream

  • Mr. Lee Huttner, 15 years old, Pittsburgh, Penn.; Philosophy: “The Religio-Spiritual Impulse and Its Biological Inherence in Humans

  • Miss Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, 17 years old, Brewster, NY; Science: “Disease Propagation Through Connective Paths

  • Miss Stephanie Tse, 17 years old, Los Angeles, Calif.; Science: “SNP Detection of a 410bp Region of the MTRR Promoter in Colorectal Adenoma Patients


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