Davidson Institute - 2010 Annual Report

This is a report of the progress made in 2010 toward achieving the Davidson Institute's mission to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.

In pursuit of this mission, the Institute delivered the following programs, services, and publications:

Davidson Young Scholars
Davidson Fellows Awards
THINK Summer Institute
Educators Guild
Davidson Gifted Database

Davidson Young Scholars
An individualized program aimed at nurturing intelligent young people.

Number of Young Scholars Selected in 2010
308 Davidson Young Scholars were selected and enrolled in the program. 84 Davidson Young Scholars turned 18 in 2010 and became Young Scholar Alumni, bringing the total number of Alumni to 253.

Total Number of Young Scholars Enrolled as of December 31, 2010
1,817 Davidson Young Scholars from 50 states, as well as Canada and Armed Forces Europe and Pacific. The total number of YS represents a variety of economic, racial and ethnic groups.

Types of Services Provided
The services provided to the Davidson Young Scholar family included:

  • Consulting services with each Young Scholar family
  • Assistance with locating appropriate educational settings and materials, advocates, counselors, and mentors
  • Access to professionals in areas such as parenting, schooling, talent development, assessment, twice exceptional issues, etc.
  • Connections with peers for Davidson Young Scholars and their parents
  • Connections with adults who have developed their talents to make a positive contribution to society
  • Group and topic specific list serves for Davidson Young Scholars and their parents
  • Financial Assistance (based upon need) to help meet the unique educational and talent development needs of each Davidson Young Scholar
  • Online seminar topics for Davidson Young Scholars:
    • Michael Clay Thompson - An Exploration of Poetics
    • Steve Witherspoon - Crossing the Lines: H two, Oh!
    • Pamela Gay - Particle Physics
    • Marc Aronson - In The Beginning: What makes for a great start to a piece of writing?
    • Tonya Witherspoon - iPhone/iTouch Apps - The power of the touch screen in your pocket
    • Laura White - Black holes and Dark Matter: How do we know they are out there if we can't see them?
    • Diane Stanitski & Chris Fairall - Weather and Climate Exploration Across our Vast Ocean
    • Sam Lim - Creating Your Own Legacy
    • Marc Aronson - If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge
    • Steve Witherspoon - Çaveat Emptor! From Morbid Meat to Calamitous Cars: How do we know our products are safe?
    • Scott Pittman - Permaculture
    • Thomas Phillips - Using Python to solve non-linear problems
    • Pamela Gay - There and Back Again: Men on the Moon
    • Marc Aronson - Is This The End?
    • Pamela Gay - Debate: How do we statistically debate if aliens exist (or not)?
    • Sam Lim - Following Your Heart and Passions
    • Bruce Betts - The Spectrum of Light in our Everyday Lives and in Science
    • Steve Witherspoon - How to set meaningful goals: Be SMART!
    • T.J. Walker - GO SOCIAL, GO GLOBAL: Using Social Media to Increase Your Presence on the Internet
    • Spencer Glesmann - Sensing your Environment
    • Laura Whyte - Returning to the Moon
    • Teresa Bondora - Check Yourself! Are you ready for college science labs?
    • Marc Aronson - Leaving Flatland -- Tracing the Connections Between US History and World History
    • Harold Reiter - Combinatorial Games
    • Bruce Betts - Extremophiles: Life Thriving in Harsh Environments
    • Ashley Ahlin - Building and understanding polyhedra, from Plato to soccer balls
    • August Thomas - Robin Hood and Maid Marian
    • Adrienne Mayor - Geomythology: Legends about Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and More
    • Diane Stanitski - Our Connection to the Oceans
    • Carol Reynolds - Disrupting Music
    • Ronen Har-Zvi - Raising a chess player - from the first steps, to a top young player
    • Deborah Claymon - Get Real: Understanding the purpose and process for writing authentic (and successful) college essays
    • Lisa Rivero - Getting Started in Homeschooling
    • Sam Lim - Secrets to Becoming a Scholarship Junkie: Learn About College Funding Resources...And How To Win Them
    • Fred Frankel - Friendship Issues of the Gifted and Talented Elementary School Child
    • Stephen Balzac - "That Should Only Take 10 Minutes!"
    • Thomas Greenspon - Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism
    • Robin Schader - Keeping the Light in Their Eyes
  • Online seminar topics for parents:
    • Ann Shoplik - Advocacy: Working with Your Child's School
    • Lisa Rivero - Creative Homeschooling Solutions
    • Richard Rusczyk - Developing Mathematical Talent: Strategies for Parents
    • Jim Delisle - Gifted and Teenage, Too: A Survival Guide for Parents of Exceptionally Able Adolescents
    • Sam Lim - Secrets to Becoming a Scholarship Junkie: Learn About College Funding Resources...And How To Win Them
    • Tonya Witherspoon - Teens & Technology: Parenting in Today's Social Networked World
    • Jane Nelsen - Positive Discipline for Challenging Behaviors
    • Edward Amend - Worry and the Gifted: How much is too much?
    • Melanie Crawford - Psychological Testing - Q&A
    • Aimee Yermish - Mendel, Escher, Bach: Giftedness and Family Dynamics
    • Michael Clay Thompson - The Art of Academic Writing
    • Stephen Balzac - Developing Leadership Skills for Gifted Kids
    • Jon Reider - College Admissions for the Unconventional Student: Looking at Both Brand-Name Colleges and Beyond
    • Mary Ann Swiatek - Social Experiences of Gifted Adolescents
    • Deborah Mersino - Tapping the Power of Web-based Social Networking: How Parents Can Learn, Collaborate and Advocate Powerfully Online
    • Nadia Webb - Social and Emotional Development in Gifted Children
    • Teresa Bondora - How To Ensure Our Children Excel In The Sciences
    • Michelle Muratori - Self-esteem of the Gifted
    • Ann Lupkowski Shoplik - Outside of School: Educational Opportunities for Gifted Students
    • Judy Galbraith - Growing Up Gifted
    • Aimee Yermish - Cleared for Launch: Transition Planning for Twice-Exceptional Kids
    • Steve Witherspoon - Shrinking the Globe with Google Earth
  • During the two and a half day Young Scholar Summit, Davidson Young Scholars had access to multiple presentations in numerous academic disciplines. Parents of Young Scholars gained access to some of our countries leading experts in gifted education. This event was complete with exhibitor booths, meet and greets, BBQ lunches, a simultaneous chess game and an engaging keynote presentation.

Areas or Service
The following information was gathered from our Family Consultants and indicates the area of support requested by Young Scholar families for assistance:

  • Educational Advocacy
  • Social/Emotional Support
  • Talent Development & Academic Enrichment
  • Homeschooling Support
  • Assessment Consultation & Assistance
  • Early College Assistance/College Planning
  • Parenting
  • Mentoring

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Davidson Fellows Awards
Recognizes the outstanding achievements of highly gifted young people and awards scholarships annually to students up to age 18.

Any young person, under the age of 18, may apply who has created a significant piece of work in the areas of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Music, Literature, Philosophy or Outside the Box.

Judges, with high levels of expertise in the domain areas of the works submitted, carefully reviewed the qualified applications and selected 20 recipients: 3 Davidson Fellow Laureates each receiving a $50,000 scholarship, and 17 Davidson Fellows each receiving either a $25,000 scholarship or $10,000 scholarship.

The following young people were named as Davidson Fellow Laureates and each received a $50,000 scholarship:

  • Kyle Loh, a 16-year-old from Piscataway, New Jersey whose Science submission was titled, “Chemical Reprogramming of Murine and Human Cells Into Pluripotent Stem Cells.”
  • Yeeren Low, a 13-year-old from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania whose Music submission was titled, “Art of Sound.”
  • Jonathan Rajaseelan, a 17-year-old from Millersville, Pennsylvania whose Science submission was titled, “Novel Rhodium N-heterocyclic Carbene Complexes: Catalysts for Green Chemistry.”

The following young people were named as Davidson Fellows and each received a $25,000 scholarship:

  • Eric Brooks, a 16-year-old from Hewlett, New York whose Science submission was titled, “Transition from Indolent to Metastatic Prostate Cancer Characterized through the Health Disparity between African American and Caucasian American Men.”
  • John Michael Colón, a 17-year-old from Wayside, New Jersey whose Literature submission was titled, “Art as Empathy: A Study of the Syncretic Potential of Literature.”
  • Tian-Yi (Damien) Jiang, a 17-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina whose Mathematics submission was titled, “On the Period Lengths of the Parallel Chip-Firing Game.”
  • Meredith Lehmann, a 14-year-old from La Jolla, California whose Science submission was titled, “Transportation Networks and the Propagation of Novel H1N1 Swine Flu-Like Epidemics.”
  • Laurie Rumker, a 17-year-old from Portland, Oregon whose Science submission was titled, “Biodegradation of Organoclay Surfactants by Straight-Chain Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Isolates and Potential Implications for Treatment of Contaminated Sediments.”
  • Anna Kornfeld Simpson, a 17-year-old from San Diego, California whose Technology submission was titled, “A Mobile Autonomous Chemical Detecting Robot.”
  • Benjamin Song, a 16-year-old from Audubon, Pennsylvania whose Science submission was titled, “Epigenetic Biomarker Assay for Urine DNA Based Screening for Colon Cancer.”
  • Merry Sun, a 16-year-old from Chappaqua, New York whose Science submission was titled, “Fighting Cancer with Sound: Activation of an Immune Response Against Tumor Cells Using Therapeutic Ultrasound.”
  • James Ting, a 17-year-old from Holmdel, New Jersey whose Science submission was titled, “Imaging and Electronic Characterization of Bismuth Nanowires.”
The following young people were named as Davidson Fellows and each received a $10,000 scholarship:

  • Scott Boisvert, a 17-year-old from Chandler, Arizona whose Science submission was titled, “Growth of Amphibian Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Response to the Chemical Properties of Aquatic Environments.”
  • Alexander Gilbert, a 16-year-old from McLean, Virginia whose Technology submission was titled, “A Quantitative T2 MRI Mapping at 1.5 Tesla.”
  • Janie Gu, a 16-year-old from Morganville, New Jersey whose Science submission was titled, “Toward Improving the Precision of an Atomic Magnetometer.”
  • Kevin Hu, a 16-year-old from Naperville, Illinois whose Music submission was titled, “Sociomusicology: Exploring and Sharing the Worlds of Music.”
  • Rebecca Jolitz, a 15-year-old from Los Gatos, California whose Science submission was titled, “Rock with a High Albedo Scattering Experiment: A Determination of Likelihood for Martian Hypolithic Bacteria.”
  • Sahil Khetpal, a 17-year-old from Plano, Texas whose Science submission was titled, “Carbon Nanotubes as a Cancer Drug Delivery System.”
  • Jonathan Li, a 17-year-old from Laguna Niguel, California whose Mathematics submission was titled, “Effects of Motility Contact Inhibition on Tumor Viability: A Discrete Simulation.”
  • Gavin Ovsak, a 16-year-old from Hopkins, Minnesota whose Technology submission was titled, “The Invention of a Highly Efficient and Cost Effective Alternative Computer Interface Using Embedded Circuitry.”


The Davidson Fellows were recognized at a special awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on September 30, 2010. The ceremony, held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, was co-sponsored by Senator Harry Reid from Nevada and Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa.

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THINK Summer Institute
Three-week residential summer program on the campus of University of Nevada, Reno, where students can earn six transferable college credits.

Applicants must demonstrate both exceptional ability and the potential to benefit from the course offerings, as well as the social and emotional maturity to thrive in this three-week residential environment.

To be eligible for the THINK Summer Institute, applicants must be 13-16 years old and be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident living in the United States. Applicants must also submit a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT.

59 students (“THINKers”) attended in 2010 and had the choice of taking Computer Science 105, Community Health Sciences 200 (Public Health Biology), or Human Development and Family Studies 400 (Mind, Brain, Learning) in the morning, and Statistics 152, Philosophy 101, or Materials Science and Engineering 175 (Nano and Micro Technology) in the afternoon.

Feedback from 2010 "THINKers"

  • 100% of students formed a friendship with at least one fellow THINKer
  • 98% of students enjoyed living on campus
  • 98% of students felt the THINK experience helped them develop a clearer understanding of what to expect in college
  • 91% of students felt the THINK experience helped them feel more confident as a student
  • 87% of students enjoyed the extracurricular events at THINK
  • 98% of students felt the overall experience with the THINK Summer Institute was a positive one
  • 98% of students would recommend THINK
  • 93% of students would like to return to the THINK Summer Institute next year


Educators Guild
The Davidson Institute’s Educators Guild is comprised of educators and other professionals who are interested in connecting with colleagues to locate resources and discuss strategies for identifying and serving highly gifted students. Members of the Educators Guild have access to an electronic mailing list and to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development’s team of consultants, who are available to assist with resource location, planning, individualizing curriculum, differentiation strategies, staff development and more. Members receive quarterly newsletters, with a wealth of information about meeting the needs of gifted learners.

At the close of 2010, 1,364 teachers, school counselors and administrators were subscribed to the Educators Guild broadcast eList and 646 were on the Educators Guild discussion eList. In 2010, the Educators Guild provided email consultations to 45 educators throughout the country and gave 21 presentations locally to 560 undergraduate and graduate students in education courses.

In 2011, the team plans to build regional connections by traveling to schools, that are willing to pay Ed Guild staff travel costs, to give presentations to parents and teachers.

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Davidson Gifted Database
Your gateway to gifted resources in a free online, searchable database providing the latest information for and about profoundly intelligent young people - www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB/.

Results Achieved
At the conclusion of 2010, the database contained:

  • 4,136 resources covering support and assessment organizations, schools, summer programs, printed material, web and media tools (253 more than the conclusion of 2009).
  • 662 full-text research and informational articles on or about identification, gifted education, development and parenting (57 more than the conclusion of 2009).

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In 2010, the Davidson Institute Young Scholars, Fellows and staff wrote the following articles in the Davidson Gifted Database (www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB/):

  • Ambassador Program: Sky's Project
  • Ambassador Program: Kimani's Project
  • Ambassador Program: Sachin's Project
  • A Social Story: An essay written by a Davidson Institute Young Scholar
  • Book Review - Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  • Book Review - Alternative Assessments With Gifted and Talented Students
  • Book Review - Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years
  • Book Review - The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College
  • Book Review - Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children
  • Book Review - Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
  • Davidson Fellows Scholarship Recipients - 10th Anniversary Success Stories
  • Davidson Fellow Profile: Kevin Hu
  • Davidson Fellow Profile: Kyle Loh
  • Davidson Fellow Profile: Jonathan (Johnny) Li
  • Davidson Fellow Profile: Scott Boisvert
  • Davidson Fellow Marc Yu - October 2010 Reception Speech
  • Davidson Fellow Profile: Laurie Rumker
  • Mentoring: An Interview with a Davidson Fellow’s Mentor – Dr. Woodbury and 2010 Davidson Fellow Laureate Kyle Loh
  • Mentoring: Interview with 2004 Davidson Fellow Harish Khandrika about how he worked with his Mentor, Astrophysicist Dr. Richard Rothschild
  • Online Math Program Comparison
  • Whole grade acceleration success stories

In 2010, the Davidson Institute published these Tips for Parents in the Davidson Gifted Database (www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB/):

  • Tips for Parents: Worry and the Gifted: How Much is Too Much? by Edward Amend
  • Tips for Parents: Leadership Skills for Gifted Kids by Stephen Balzac
  • Tips for Parents: That Should Only Take Ten Minutes by Stephen Balzac
  • Tips for Parents: How To Ensure Our Children Excel In Science by Teresa Bondora
  • Tips for Parents: The Gifted Brain & Learning: At Home and at School by Barbara Clark
  • Tips for Parents: College Essay Writing - Support Tips for Parents by Deborah Claymon
  • Tips for Parents: Neuropsychological Testing Q&A by Melanie Crawford
  • Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too by Jim Delisle
  • Tips for Parents: Self-Esteem of the Gifted - Tips for Parents by Judy Galbraith
  • Tips for Parents: Perfectionism by Tom Greenspon
  • Tips for Parents: Secrets to Becoming a Scholarship Junkie: Learn About College Funding Resources... And How To Win Them by Sam Lim
  • Tips for Parents: Tapping Web-based Social Media to Learn, Collaborate and Advocate by Deborah Mersino
  • Tips for Parents: Self-Esteem of the Gifted by Michelle Muratori
  • Tips for Parents: Positive Discipline for Gifted Children by Jane Nelson
  • Tips for Parents: College Admissions for the Unconventional Student - Looking at both Brand-Name Colleges and Beyond by Jon Reider
  • Tips for Parents: Getting Started in Homeschooling by Lisa Rivero
  • Tips for Parents: Outside of School Educational Opportunities by Ann Lupkowski Shoplik
  • Tips for Parents: Social Experiences of Gifted Adolescents by Mary Ann Swiatek
  • Tips for Parents: The Art of Academic Writing by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Tips for Parents: Social and Emotional Development in Gifted Children by Nadia Webb
  • Tips for Parents: Cleared For Launch - Transition Planning for Twice-Exceptional Kids by Aimee Yermish
  • Tips for Parents: Mendel, Escher Bach - Giftedness and Family Dynamics by Aimee Yermish

The Davidson Institute team also published this free guidebook, Giving Back: A Guidebook for Volunteerism and Community Service (PDF), in 2010.


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In 2010, the Davidson Institute published the following newsletters:

  • February 2010 eNews-Update
  • 2010 Educators Guild Spring Newsletter
  • April 2010 eNews-Update
  • June 2010 eNews-Update
  • August 2010 eNews-Update
  • October 2010 eNews-Update
  • September 2010 Educators Guild Newsletter

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As of the end of December 2010, the Davidson Institute is providing direct support to an estimated 1,900 profoundly gifted young people and 1,364 educators, as well as indirect support to 13,347 eNews-Update subscribers, 845,883 visits to the Institute’s websites and 3,730 subscribers to our public discussion forum, Gifted Issues.


123 students enrolled in The Davidson Academy of Nevada in the 2010-2011 school year and 2,232 people are subscribed to the Explore The Davidson Academy eNewsletter. For more information about The Davidson Academy, please visit www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu.

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