August 2008

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


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

(Washington, D.C.) – Recent research by The Thomas B. Fordham Institute concludes that many high-achieving students do not receive the support to reach their full potential. However, 20 young people named as 2008 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be achieved by students who are given opportunities to excel.

From a plan to create alternative energy from wastewater, to a promising treatment for HIV, the accomplishments of the Davidson Fellows, who range in age from 12 to 17, are a testament to effective teaching and mentoring, supportive families and individual determination. Based on their achievements in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, music, literature, philosophy and “outside the box,” these 20 students 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 supports profoundly gifted youth.

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2008 Davidson Fellows not only for their incredible projects, but also for the journey they forged to reach this point,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “Each year the breadth and depth of Fellows’ accomplishments overwhelm us. With nurturing, gifted students will be among those who will solve the world’s most vexing problems, now and in the future.”

The 2008 Davidson Fellows have accomplished important work in a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Invented a new type of solar panel;
  • Designed a computer model to aid physicians in patient diagnosis;
  • Bridged the relevance of classical music to younger generations;
  • Improved the mathematics of digital signal representations used in cell phones and music players; and
  • Discovered a technology to more effectively treat breast cancer.

Each 2008 Davidson Fellow has worked tirelessly to obtain the resources that enable them to make advances in their fields. Unfortunately, not all gifted students get the support they need according to the Fordham Institute’s study, “High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB” released in June. The findings show that top pupils have “languished” academically. In addition, a national teacher survey found that while most teachers believe all students deserve equal attention, advanced pupils are a lower priority in their schools, receiving dramatically less attention than low-achievers. View the full report at

“Our goal is to not have any student left behind,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “We applaud the tenacity of these and other profoundly gifted children, who often take it upon themselves to gather the resources they need to succeed.”

In addition to creating the Davidson Institute 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, or to learn more about the 2008 Davidson Fellows, please visit


2008 Davidson Fellow Laureates

$50,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Akhil Mathew, 16, Madison, N.J.; Translation – Invariant Binary Representations
  • Mr. Sikandar Porter-Gill, 17, Gaithersburg, Md.; The Production of Methane in a Two-Chambered Bio-Catalyzed Microbial Fuel Cell Utilizing Methanosarcina  barkeri
  • Miss Christine Shrock, 17, Setauket, N.Y.; Investigating an Allosteric Binding Site for a New Class of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors
  • Mr. Philip Streich, 17, Platteville, Wis.; Determining Carbon Nanotube Thermodynamic Solubility: The Missing Link to a Practical Supermaterial
  • Mr. Conrad Tao, 14, New York, N.Y.; Bringing Classical Music from the Past to the Future as Pianist and Composer 

2008 Davidson Fellows

$25,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Michael Cherkassky, 16, Minneapolis, Minn.; Application of Machine Learning Methods to Medical Diagnosis 
  • Miss August Siena Thomas, 17, Montague, Mass.; Rewriting History
  • Miss Hilda Huang, 12, Palo Alto, Calif.; I Love Bach
  • Miss Jasmine Miller, 17, Nashville, Tenn.; The Digital Identity of Contradiction
  • Miss Saraswathi Shukla, 17, Princeton, N.J.; Mesmerizing Music: Sound, Imagination, and Communication in the Mesmeric Séance
  • Mr. Vijay Venkatesh, 17, Laguna Niguel, Calif.; Magic through Music
  • Mr. William Yuan, 12, Portland, Ore.; High Efficient 3-Dimenstional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light
  • Mr. Charles Zhang, 17, Rochester, Mich.; Development of a Vibration Energy Harvesting Device Based on an Asymmetric Air-spaced Cantilever

$10,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Nathan Georgette, 17, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Novel Herd Immunity Threshold Analysis Incorporating Population Dynamics and Gradual Immunization
  • Miss Molly Hensley-Clancy, 16, Minneapolis, Minn.; Seized as Beauty
  • Mr. Kyle Hutzler, 16, Huntingtown, Md.; Kansas: American Education
  • Mr. Michael Leap, 17, Okemos, Mich.; The Ontology of Science: A Critical Perspective
  • Miss Divya Nag, 17, El Dorado Hills, Calif.; Thermal Analysis and Thermogravimetry Techniques to Quantify and Prevent Forest Fires
  • Miss Avanthi Raghavan, 17, Orlando, Fla.; Characterization of Novel Protein Trafficking Pathways in Plasmodium falciparum
  • Miss Sarah Waliany, 16, Arcadia, Calif.; Role of t-Darpp in P13K/AKt/Bcl-2 Pathway in Causing Resistance in Herceptin-Sensitive Breast Tumors


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