August 20

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20 Students Named 2010 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. However, 20 young people named as 2010 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be achieved by U.S. students who are given opportunities to excel. 

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, has provided just over $4 million in scholarship funds to 166 Fellows since its inception.

“For me, being a Davidson Fellow is more than just being a scholarship recipient. It is a privilege and also a responsibility,” said Graham Van Schaik, a 2007 Davidson Fellow in science. “Knowing that you were selected to be part of a distinguished group of young people who show promise in an area of study is a powerful idea. Each and every Davidson Fellow has the potential to make the world a better place. Being a Davidson Fellow brings with it the expectation that I, too, will use my gifts and skills for meaningful work beyond myself - a concept that has, throughout time, been the driving force behind success.”

From studying the genetic factors affecting metastatic progression of prostate cancer, to researching the spread of epidemics, to developing a computer algorithm which improves contrast in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the accomplishments of the 2010 Davidson Fellows, who range in age from 13 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 and literature 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 celebrate the program’s tenth anniversary and recognize the 2010 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 2010 Davidson Fellows have accomplished important work in a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Identifying compounds that can help convert human and mouse skin cells into pluripotent stem cells;

  • Creating new musical expressions and listening experiences through classical music; 

  • Contributing to greener methods of making medicines, pharmaceuticals and other chemical products;

  • Developing a chemical-detecting robot; and

  • Studying therapeutic ultrasound’s potential in treating recurrent and metastatic cancers.

Each 2010 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 2008 study, “High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB.” 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. 

“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 young people, who often take it upon themselves to gather the resources they need to succeed.”

In addition to starting 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 2010 Davidson Fellows, please visit

2010 Davidson Fellow Laureates

$50,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Kyle Loh, 16, Piscataway, N.J.; Chemical Reprogramming of Murine and Human Cells Into Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Mr. Yeeren Low, 13, East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Art of Sound
  • Mr. Jonathan Rajaseelan, 17, Millersville, Pa.; Novel Rhodium N-heterocyclic Carbene Complexes: Catalysts for Green Chemistry

2010 Davidson Fellows

$25,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Eric Brooks, 16, Hewlett, N.Y.; Transition from Indolent to Metastatic Prostate Cancer Characterized through the Health Disparity between African American and Caucasian American Men
  • Mr. John Michael Colón, 17, Wayside, N.J.; Art as Empathy: A Study of the Syncretic Potential of Literature
  • Mr. Damien Jiang, 17, Raleigh, N.C.; On the Period Lengths of the Parallel Chip-Firing Game
  • Miss Meredith Lehmann, 14, La Jolla, Calif.; Transportation Networks and the Propagation of Novel H1N1 Swine Flu-Like Epidemics
  • Miss Laurie Rumker, 17, Portland, Ore.; Biodegradtion of Organoclay Surfactants by Straight-Chain Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Isolates and Potential Implications for Treatment of Contaminated Sediments
  • Miss Anna Kornfeld Simpson, 17, San Diego, Calif.; A Mobile Autonomous Chemical Detecting Robot
  • Mr. Benjamin Song, 16, Audubon, Pa.; Epigenetic Biomarker Assay for Urine DNA Based Screening for Colon Cancer
  • Miss Merry Sun, 16, Chappaqua, N.Y.; Fighting Cancer with Sound: Activation of an Immune Response Against Tumor Cells Using Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Mr. James Ting, 17, Holmdel, N.J.; Imaging and Electronic Characterization of Bismuth Nanowires

$10,000 Scholarships

  • Mr. Scott Boisvert, 17, Chandler, Ariz.; Growth of Amphibian Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Response to the Chemical Properties of Aquatic Environments
  • Mr. Alexander Gilbert, 16, McLean, Va.; A Quantitative T2 MRI Mapping at 1.5 Tesla
  • Miss Janie Gu, 16, Morganville, N.J.; Toward Improving the Precision of an Atomic Magnetometer
  • Mr. Kevin Hu, 16, Naperville, Ill.; Sociomusicology: Exploring and Sharing the Worlds of Music
  • Miss Rebecca Jolitz, 15, Los Gatos, Calif.; Rock with a High Albedo Scattering Experiment: A Determination of Likelihood for Martian Hypolithic Bacteria
  • Mr. Sahil Kheptal, 17, Plano, Texas; Carbon Nanotubes as a Cancer Drug Delivery System
  • Mr. Jonathan Li, 17, Laguna Niguel, Calif.; Effects of Motility Contact Inhibition on Tumor Viability: A Discrete Simulation
  • Mr. Gavin Ovsak, 16, Hopkins, Minn.; The Invention of a Highly Efficient and Cost Effective Alternative Computer Interface Using Embedded Circuitry


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