Nev., (Aug. 2, 2005) –
n., pl. –gies:
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 www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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2005 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- Scholarship Award: $50,000
2005 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $25,000
2005 Davidson Fellows -- Scholarship Award: $10,000
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