August 1, 2006

Contact Information:
(775) 852-3483 ext. 425




Davidson Institute Scholarships Highlight Importance of 
Nurturing Nation’s Most Gifted Young People

(Reno,  Nev.)  From the front pages of national newspapers and the 2006 State-of-the-Union address, to the platforms of business and education groups, there is ample concern over the nation’s lagging progress in international competitiveness and innovation. However, given the accomplishments of 16 Davidson Fellows, all under the age of 18, it’s possible to see a much brighter future led by prodigiously gifted students who have received the support needed to reach their full potential.

Based on significant achievements in science, technology, mathematics, music, literature and philosophy, the 2006 Davidson Fellows are receiving $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit organization that recognizes, nurtures and supports profoundly gifted students.

“The Davidson Fellows are success stories because they’ve nurtured their genius by seeking out mentors, relying on strong family support and working diligently to achieve their goals,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “As a whole, prodigiously gifted U.S.  students need much more support and guidance to achieve their potential. Our most talented students in math and science still rank near the bottom compared to those in other industrialized nations, and only 39 percent of the doctorates from U.S. universities are granted to U.S. students.”

2006 Davidson Fellows include a 16-year-old investigating a new drug delivery system to help fight cancer, a 17-year-old developing a new computational method in number theory that when applied to cryptology can better protect against identity theft, and a 17-year-old improving medical diagnostics through more effective magnetic resonance imaging.  Many of the Fellows honored in 2006 demonstrate the value of nurturing young people with the talent to solve some of society’s most vexing problems now and in the years to come.

Each of the 2006 Davidson Fellows has sought out the support they needed to nurture their abilities and prepare them to make further advances in their fields. Unfortunately, not all gifted students are getting the support they need to reach their potential. 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.

“Davidson Fellows, who are on the cutting edge of science, mathematics, and technology and at the forefront of music and literature, demonstrate the potential of America’s next generation of innovative leaders,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “Yet, there is no federal mandate for gifted education and, while No Child Left Behind focuses on bringing students up to minimum standards, most gifted students aren’t given opportunities to soar ahead. It’s important that we commit the resources to ensure these young men and women have the support to develop our nation’s competitive edge.”

The brainpower deficit is particularly acute in the fields of mathematics and science, which has led to major initiatives by the U.S. Business Roundtable (, Intel ( and The White House, which announced in the $5.9 billion American Competitiveness Initiative to increase investments in research and development, strengthen education and foster entrepreneurship (

Started in 1999 by former educational software entrepreneurs Bob and Jan Davidson, the Davidson Institute’s mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people ( In 2004, the Davidsons co-authored, with Laura Vanderkam, Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds ( The Davidsons’ latest endeavor is the opening of The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free, public school for profoundly gifted students on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno ( For more information on the Davidson Institute please visit


2006 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- $50,000 Scholarship:

  • Miss Heather Engebretson, 16, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Music: Music as Universal Communication

  • Miss Shivani Sud, 16, Durham, N.C.; Science: HIV-1 Tat and Igk-Chain Secretion Based Protein Transduction: A Novel Strategy for Molecule Delivery

  • Mr. Michael Viscardi, 17, San Diego, Calif.; Mathematics: On the Solution of the Dirichlet Problem with Rational Holomorphic Boundary Data

2006 Davidson Fellows -- $25,000 Scholarship:

  • Miss Stephanie Chen, 17, Austin, Texas; Music: A Musical Painting

  • Mr. Kyle Dacuyan, 16, Sterling, Va.; Literature: What Have You Been, Where Have You Gone

  • Miss Sheela Krishnan, 17, Suffern, N.Y.; Science: Isolation and Characterization of a Potential Probiotic Cocktail for the Control of American Foulbrood in Domestic Honeybees

  • Mr. Varun Kumar, 17, Bellaire, Texas; Science: Novel Properties in Europium DOTA - tetraamide Complex for use in MRI Contrast Agents

  • Mr. Adam Solomon, 16, Bellmore, N.Y.; Science: The Effects of Age on Brown Dwarf Spectral Features in the Near-Infrared

  • Mr. Yi Sun, 17, San Jose, Calif.; Mathematics: On the Expected Winding Number of a Random Walk on the Unit Lattice

2006 Davidson Fellows -- $10,000 Scholarship:

  • Mr. Travis Johnson, 13, Milwaukie, Ore.; Music: Trails of Hope: The Importance of Adding New Music to the Classical Repetoire

  • Mr. Drew Petersen, 12, Oradell, N.J.; Music: Keeping Classical Music Alive

  • Mr. Albert Shieh, 16, Paradise Valley, Ariz.; Science: A Novel Algorithm for Automated SNP Genotyping

  • Miss Anna Stalker, 15, Birmingham, Ala.; Literature: The Reincarnation Journals

  • Miss Anarghya Vardhana, 17, Beaverton, Ore.; Mathematics: Novel Method of Computing Jacobi Symbols for Mersenne Numbers

  • Miss Xin (Cindy) Wang, 17, Geneva, Ill.; Science: nm2608A, A New Naturally Arising Mouse Model for Human Autosomal Recessive Achromatopsia 2

  • Mr. Steven Wu, 15, Folsom, Calif.; Science: Optimizing Quadrupole Ion Trap Geometry by Computer Simulations


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