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Genius Loves Company: Prodigious Minds Have Global Impact
Davidson Institute Highlights Importance of Nurturing Young Minds by
Naming 17 Students as 2005 Davidson Fellows

Reno, Nev., (Aug. 2, 2005) prod·i·gy (prŏd'ə-jē) n., pl. –gies:
      1.     An extraordinary person, particularly a child, who shows spontaneous early signs of genius or exceptional ability; 
2.       An act or event so extraordinary or rare as to inspire wonder.*

The achievements of the 17 students named as 2005 Davidson Fellows – including a 6-year-old piano virtuoso, a 17-year-old who researched promising brain cancer treatments, and a 16-year-old who developed a revolutionary security and surveillance device – could certainly be deemed prodigious. Currently, the encouragement of exceptional intellectual talent is not a priority in this country. If the Davidson Institute for Talent Development has its way, however, the prevalence of such gifted accomplishments will soar – much like the Mars dust experiments conducted by a 17-year-old Fellow whose results were incorporated in NASA and European Space Agency missions. 

“Students such as the Davidson Fellows are the ones who will 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,” said Colleen Harsin, director of services at the Davidson Institute, a nonprofit organization that recognizes, nurtures, and supports profoundly gifted students. “As a society, we could very well depend on their genius to tackle some of today’s most vexing problems.” 

Davidson Fellowships, established in 2001 and accompanied by a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship, 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. 

At present, nearly half of all gifted students are underachieving and, alarmingly, up to 20 percent of high school dropouts test in the gifted range. Further, there is no federal mandate for 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, a group the Davidson Institute asserts is one of the most under-served populations 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 as a society, we need to nurture and encourage the development of this extraordinary talent pool.”

“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 2005 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 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. Bob and Jan co-wrote, with Laura Vanderkam, Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds, which chronicles the struggles faced by many gifted students and their parents. For more information on the Davidson Institute for Talent Development or to request a copy of Genius Denied, please visit 

* Definitions from and 


2005 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- Scholarship Award: $50,000

  • Karsten Gimre, 12, Banks, Ore.; Music: Conversation Without Words

  • Heidi Kaloustian, 17, Canton, Mich.; Literature: The Roots of All Things

  • Tiffany Ko, 16, Terre Haute, Ind.; Technology: Designing a Capacitance-Based Security System Employing the MC33794 E-Field Sensor Chip

  • Milana Zaurova, 17, Fresh Meadows, NY; Science: Gene Therapy Meets Chemotherapy: Exposure of Malignant Glioma Cells to Transgenic Embryonic Stem Cells and Temozolomide

2005 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $25,000

  • Maia Cabeza, 12, Chapel Hill, NC; Music: Sharing Music With People Around The World

  • Brett Harrison, 17, Dix Hills, NY; Mathematics: A Proof of Seymour's Conjecture for All Oriented Graphs

  • Tudor Dominik Maican, 16, Bethesda, Md.; Music: Symphonietta for String Orchestra, D'un Monde a l'autre, Reflections on James Joyce

  • Justin Solomon, 17, Oakton, Va.; Technology: Identification of Differential Surface Properties on a Triangle Mesh for Facial & Object Recognition

  • John Zhou, 17, Northville, Mich.; Science: A Study of Possible Interactions Among Rev1, Rev3 and Rev7 Proteins from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

2005 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $10,000

  • Kadir Annamalai, 17, Saratoga, Calif.; Science: Growth of Germanium Nanowires Through the Vapor Liquid Solid Mechanism

  • Stephanie Hon, 17, Fort Myers, Fla.; Science: The Effects of Intracerebroventricular Passive Immunization on the Deposition of Beta-Amyloid

  • Benedict Shan Yuan Huang, 17, Coram, NY; Science: Changed Particle Production in High Energy Nuclear Collisions

  • Lucas Moller, 17, Moscow, Idaho; Science: Static and Dynamic Analysis of Mars Dust:  Application to Mars Exploration

  • Nimish Ramanlal, 17, Winter Springs, Fla.; Technology: Programmable Quantum Computing: A New Framework with von Neumann Type Architecture

  • Tony Wu, 17, Irvine, Calif.; Technology: A Category Oriented Web Search Engine Based on Round Robin Learning and Ranking Algorithm

  • Fan Yang, 17, Davis, Calif.; Science: Identification of Bacterial Adhesion Antagonists for Contact Lenses & Intraocular Lenses

  • Marc Yu, 6, Monterey Park, Calif.; Music: Performance Selections for Piano


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