Guest Author - Lorel Shea
In 1999, former software entrepreneurs and devoted philanthropists, Bob and Jan Davidson, founded the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a non-profit operating foundation whose mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people. The Fellows Program awards money to a select group of scholars each year. As Bob Davidson says, "The 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."
Individuals named Davidson Fellow Laureates each receive a $50,000 scholarship, and those named as Davidson Fellows receive either a $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship. Each Davidson Fellow is a student under the age of 18 who has completed an original piece of work which is recognized by experts in the field as significant and also has the potential to make a positive contribution to society.
Application categories are Mathematics, Science, Literature, Music, Technology, Philosophy and Outside the Box.
Such work may be:
an exceptionally creative application of existing knowledge
a new idea with high impact
an innovative solution with broad-range implications
an important advancement that can be replicated and built upon
an interdisciplinary discovery
a prodigious performance
another demonstration of extraordinary accomplishment
The accomplishments of the 2009 Davidson Fellows, who range in age from 13 to 17, are a testament to effective teaching and mentoring, supportive families and individual determination. They have accomplished important work in a variety of subjects, such as:
Designing computer simulations to determine how various patterns affect an epidemic’s spread across a social network;
Researching a molecular mechanism showed to influence breast cancer cell proliferation and migration;
Celebrating mankind’s best achievements through music;
Creating a literary portfolio exploring different facets of distance in writing; and
Seeking to make learning a side effect of fun by developing the interactive Elementeo Chemistry Card Game.
Here are some examples of this year's winning Fellows:
Eric Sherman, a 15-year-old young man from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, developed a technique that allows scientists to identify potential bone marrow donors in one percent of the time and for six percent of the cost of traditional techniques. This technique can potentially be used to identify donors for other transplantable organs, such as the kidney, liver and lung, creating the opportunity to save hundreds of lives and millions of dollars each year. His work is currently in use in a clinical setting.
Nicole Rhodes, a 17-year-old young woman from Vancouver, Washington, is the third Davidson Fellow Laureate in Literature since the program began in 2001. She created a portfolio, “The Dictionary of Distance”, to explore different facets of distance in writing. She considers the space between the author and the work, the distance between a piece’s narrator and characters, and the space separating characters and other elements to determine how distance alters memory.
Melody Lindsay, a 17-year-old young woman from Honolulu, Hawaii, is one of two Davidson Fellows from Hawaii this year, the first time the program has been represented by winners from the state. She is also the first harpist to receive a Fellows scholarship. In her portfolio, "Harping Around the World: Cultural Leadership for the 21st Century," she draws on her experience as a harpist to connect with audiences.
View the 2009 Davidson Fellows page to learn more about their works and to view portfolios of all 19 Fellows. To learn more the Davidson Fellows Scholarships, visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.