August 7, 2007

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


17 Students Named Davidson Fellows and Receive
$50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 Scholarships

(Washington, D.C.) -- With mounting concern about U.S. competitiveness and low student achievement in relation to other countries, conventional wisdom leads many to believe that the great inventors, artists and innovators of the future will come from distant shores. Yet the accomplishments of the 17 young people, all under the age of 18, who are being honored as 2007 Davidson Fellows demonstrate the potential of gifted students who are already achieving remarkable success in the United States.

Based on significant achievements in science, technology, mathematics, music, literature and philosophy, these talented teens are being recognized as the 2007 Davidson Fellows and will receive $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that encourages, nurtures and supports profoundly gifted youth.

“Every year we are astounded by the level of accomplishment we see in the Davidson Fellows,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute.  “These are the students who will move our country forward in many fields, including medicine and technology, and their accomplishments demonstrate the value of nurturing young people with the talent to solve some of society’s most vexing problems.”

Ranging in age from 14 to 17, the 2007 Davidson Fellows have accomplished important work in a variety of pursuits, such as:

  • Pioneering a method for isolating DNA to detect the early stages of cancer

  • Discovering a process that could revolutionize the plastics recycling industry

  • Developing a new encryption technique for top-secret communications

  • Engineering a new process to inhibit bacterial pathogens

  • Performing advanced musical compositions for piano, cello and violin at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center

  • Creating a literary portfolio focused on deepening our understanding of human responses to grief

“The Fellows’ achievements didn’t just happen,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute.  “They were supported by parents who made sacrifices to nurture them; they had mentors and teachers who not only shared their knowledge, but also a passion for the subject area. Many of these students had to overcome obstacles and challenges, taking it upon themselves to pursue their interests.”

While the Davidsons believe that all students need to be nurtured and given opportunities to excel, there is cause for concern. The number of U.S. students who are excelling in the fields of mathematics and science is dropping; about one-third of all jobs in the U.S. require science or technology expertise, yet only 17 percent of American students graduate from college with science or technology majors.(1) In 1970, the U.S. produced more than half of the world’s Ph.D.s, however if patterns continue, by 2010 only 15 percent of the world’s doctorates will be U.S. citizens.(2)

“The Davidson Institute supports the movement toward flexibility in our classrooms, allowing students to accelerate by grade or subject-area based upon their individual abilities instead of forcing them to remain in an age-grade lockstep,” said Jan Davidson.  “The Davidson Institute is built on the belief that individuals, who have extraordinary intelligence and talents, when encouraged and supported, can improve the quality of life for us all.”

In addition to heading the Davidson Institute, which they founded in 1999, Bob and Jan Davidson are co-authors, with Laura Vanderkam, of Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (  In 2006 the Davidsons opened 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

(1) William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University, Congressional testimony, July 2005

(2) National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2005


2007 Davidson Fellow Laureates -- $50,000 Scholarship:


  • Miss Alexandra Courtis, 17, Davis, Calif.; Bright Luminescent Silicon Nanoparticles for Biological Applications

  • Mr. Yale Fan, 15, Beaverton, Ore.; Applications of Multi-Valued Quantum Algorithms

  • Miss Madhavi Gavini, 17, Starkville, Miss.; Engineering a Novel Inhibitor of Biofilm-Encapsulated Pathogens

  • Mr. Todd Kramer, 17, Port Jefferson, N.Y.; Finding My Voice Through Music

  • Miss Katherine Orazem, 17, Ames, Iowa; After - Elegies

2007 Davidson Fellows -- $25,000 Scholarship:


  • Mr. Nate Bottman, 17, Seattle, Wash.; Analytically Determining the Spectra of Solutions of the NLS

  • Mr. Michael Harwick, 17, Bridgewater, N.J.; Highways: The Road as Existence

  • Miss Danielle Lent, 17, Cedarhurst, N.Y.; Optimizing Recycled Polymer Blends Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

  • Miss Celeste Lipkes, 17, Wesley Chapel, Fla.; Room To Pace

  • Mr. Damon Meng, 16, Madison, N.J.; Reviving Classical Music Through Individualism

  • Miss Janet Song, 15, Norristown, Pa.; Development of a Urine Test for the Early Detection of Cancer


2007 Davidson Fellows -- $10,000 Scholarship:


  • Mr. Richard Alt, II, 17, Fredericksburg, Va.; A Comparison of Three Seasonal Snowfall Forecasting Methods for Winter 2004-05

  • Miss Christina Beasley, 17, Vienna, Va.; An Experiment in Free Speech

  • Mr. Billy Dorminy, 15, McDonough, Ga.; Improper Fractional Base Encryption

  • Miss Shannon Lee, 15, Plano, Texas; Creating a Musical Bond

  • Mr. Graham Van Schaik, 16, Columbia, S.C.; Pyrethroid Pesticides and Their Potential to Promote Breast Cancer and Neurodegeneration

  • Miss Nora Xu, 17, Naperville, Ill.; Modeling of X-ray Scattering for Nanocrystal Superlattice Multilayer Thin Films


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