Davidson Institute - 2011 Annual Report

This is a report of the progress made in 2011 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. (www.DavidsonGifted.org/YoungScholars/)

Number of Young Scholars Selected in 2011
387 Davidson Young Scholars were selected and enrolled in the program. 94 Davidson Young Scholars turned 18 in 2011 and became Young Scholar Alumni, bringing the total number of Alumni to 289.

Total Number of Young Scholars Enrolled as of December 31, 2011
2,157 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 families 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 eLists 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
  • 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 country’s leading experts in gifted education. This event included exhibitor booths, meet and greets, BBQ lunches, a simultaneous chess game and an engaging keynote presentation.

Areas of 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
2011 online seminar topics for Davidson Young Scholars:
  • Richard Rusczyk - Some of My Best Friends are Problems
  • Sam Lim - Turning Entrepreneurial Instincts into Business Ventures
  • August Thomas - Five Incredible Adventurers You’ve Never Heard Of
  • Ronen Har-Zvi - Chess - From Beginner to Expert
  • Ashley Ahlin - Math and Music
  • Joel Kabakov - Teaching to the Musical Gift
  • Spencer Glesmann - Introduction to C Programming
  • Dr. Bruce Betts - Rocket Science: Getting from Here to There in the Solar System
  • Adrienne Mayor - Native American Legends about Dinosaur Fossils
  • Steve Witherspoon - DBQ Essays: Earning respect through primary documents
  • Bryan Bates - American Naturalist
  • Diane Stanitski - Applying Weather and Climate to our Lives
  • Bryan Bates - Archaeoastronomy
  • Michael Clay Thompson - The Poetry in the Willows
  • Dr. Bruce Betts - The Science of Avatar
  • Marc Aronson - The Mysterious Crusades
  • Brooke Danielle Lillehaugen - Words and their Meanings
  • Spencer Glesmann - Physics and the World
  • Susan Baker - Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night: Two Shakespearean Comedies
  • John Kroeker - An Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation
  • Ashley Ahlin - Codes and Ciphers
  • Dr. Harold Reiter - KenKen and some of its Variations, with Strategies and Tactics
  • August Thomas - Ottomania!
  • August Thomas - Kids in the Ancient World
  • Rosanne Daryl Thomas - What's so funny? Novels, stories and poems by P.G. Wodehouse, E.F. Benson, Ogden Nash and James Thurber
  • Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik - Self-Advocacy
  • Susan Baker - The Iliad: History, Myth, History
  • Steve Witherspoon - Current Events as History/the Future
  • Adrienne Mayor - Sea Monsters in Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Jane Davidson - Paleontology Illustration
  • Alexis Miller - Special Interest Groups and Lobbyists – Your Unelected Representatives and What They Can Do for You!
  • Jeremy Smith - Mapping our world: Exploring online maps and geographic information systems (GIS)
2011 online seminar topics for Parents:
  • Cal Newport - The Zen Valedictorian: A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Child Stand Out Without Burning Out
  • Rosanne Daryl Thomas - Keep the Joy In and the Pressure Out
  • Marybeth Hicks - A Question of Character — Raising children who are as good as they are smart
  • Dr. Kimberly Young - Parenting in the Digital Age
  • Joel Kabakov - A Muse In The Practice Room
  • John Kroeker - Balancing Mind with Heart: An Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation
  • Melissa Burnham - Sleep and Learning
  • Jim Delisle - Risk-Taking and Risk-Making
  • Christine Fonseca - Helping GT Kids Understand Their Emotions Through Effective Emotional Coaching
  • Holly Bull - Navigating a Gap Year
  • Jay Mathews - Advanced Placement vs. International Baccalaureate: Which, if either, is best for my kid?
  • Tom Greenspon - How Students See Their Giftedness and Why It Matters: A Different View of "Mindset"
  • Dr. Tracy Cross - Intensity, Anxiety, Depression: The Dark Side of Giftedness
  • Tom Letson - How to Effectively Deal with Bullying at School: Skills Training for Students and Parents
  • Jim Delisle - Performing poorly on purpose: Underachievement and the quest for dignity
  • Dr. Susan Daniels - Living With Intensity – Overexcitabilities in Profoundly Gifted Children
  • Joel Kabakov - Natural Bridges On The Musical Landscape
  • Richard Rusczyk - Developing Mathematical Talent: Strategies for Parents
  • Maya Frost - Gifted and Global: Multiplying Possibilities through Intercultural Fluency
  • Dr. Nancy Robinson - Forging Partnerships with Teachers, and Why They Often Don’t Work!
  • Rosanne Daryl Thomas - Making Early College A Happy Experience for Everyone
  • Joyce Vantassel-Baska - Focus on the Future: Career Planning for Gifted Learners
  • Dr. Michelle Muratori - The Gifted Child in the Family Context
  • Aimee Yermish - Teaching Cheetahs to Hunt: Practical Advice for Teaching Executive Functioning and Academic Skills for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Kids
  • Judy Galbraith - Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Kids
  • Nadia Webb - Helping your YS with Social or Performance Anxiety

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    Davidson Fellows Awards
    Recognizes the outstanding achievements of highly gifted young people and awards scholarships annually to students 18 and younger. (www.DavidsonGifted.org/Fellows/)

    Any young person, 18 or younger, 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 18 recipients: 1 Davidson Fellow Laureate who received a $50,000 scholarship, and 17 Davidson Fellows each receiving either a $25,000 scholarship or $10,000 scholarship.

    The following young woman was named as Davidson Fellow Laureate and received a $50,000 scholarship:

    • Simone Porter, a 14-year-old from Seattle, Washington whose Music submission was titled, “Performance as Soundtrack of Process and Identity.”
    The following young people were named as Davidson Fellows and each received a $25,000 scholarship:

    • Arjun Aggarwal, a 17-year-old from Lexington, North Carolina whose Technology submission was titled, “GNUT III an A.I.R.V.I.S. (Anthropometric Interactive Robot With Vision, Intelligence and Speech).”
    • Matthew Bauerle, a 17-year-old from Fenton, Michigan whose Mathematics submission was titled, “Reformulating the Newton Direction Computation as a Linear Least Squares Problem for Smoothed Overdetermined l1 Functions.”
    • Marian Bechtel, a 16-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose Science submission was titled, “A Stand-Off Seismo-Acoustic Method for Humanitarian Demining.”
    • Benjamin Clark, a 16-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose Science submission was titled, “The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra.”
    • Siddhartha Jena, a 17-year-old from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan whose Science submission was titled, “Erythrocyte Dysfunction and Amelioration in Hypercholesterolemic Conditions.”
    • Arianna Körting, a 17-year-old from Gates Mills, Ohio whose Music submission was titled, “Celebration of Life Through the Piano.”
    • Caleb Kumar, a 15-year-old from Blaine, Minnesota whose Science submission was titled, “Designing a Java Program to Diagnose Bladder Cancer.”
    • Sunil Pai, a 17-year-old from Houston, Texas whose Science submission was titled, “A Novel, Inexpensive, Nanotechnology-Based Approach to Determine Quantum Energies of Superoxide.”
    • Lucy Wang, a 17-year-old from Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania whose Science submission was titled, “Predicting Adolescent Depression: A Secondary Analysis of Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey.”

    The following young people were named as Davidson Fellows and each received a $10,000 scholarship:

    • Cheenar Banerjee, a 16-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota whose Technology submission was titled, “Artificial Emotion: A Novel Way of Emotion Recognition for Affective Computing.”
    • Rebecca Chen, a 17-year-old from Carmel, Indiana whose Mathematics submission was titled, “Generalized Yang-Baxter Equations and Braiding Quantum Gates.”
    • Jayanth Krishnan, a 17-year-old from Mahopac, New York whose Science submission was titled, “Regulatory Signatures of Cancer Cell Lines Inferred from Expression Data.”
    • Bonnie Nortz, a 17-year-old from Fairport, New York whose Literature submission was titled, “Run and Run and Run.”
    • Anirudh Prabhu, a 17-year-old from West Lafayette, Indiana whose Mathematics submission was titled, “Lower Bounds for Odd Perfect Numbers.”
    • Shalini Ramanan, a 17-year-old from Richland, Washington whose Science submission was titled, “Inhibition of Vascular Cell Migration by Bisdemethoxycurcumin: A Bioinformatics Based Approach to Identify Target Genes.”
    • Raja Selvakumar, a 16-year-old from Alpharetta, Georgia whose Science submission was titled, “The Implementation of a Gastro Microbial Fuel Cell in Capsular Nanorobotics.”
    • Reylon Yount, a 16-year-old from San Francisco, California whose Music submission was titled, “The Second Silk Road: Bridging East and West Through Chinese Music.”

    The Davidson Fellows were recognized at a special awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on October 5, 2011. 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 up to six transferable college credits. (www.DavidsonGifted.org/THINK/)

    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.

    58 students (“THINKers”) attended in 2011 and had the choice of taking Computer Science 103, Business 101, or Anthropology 101 in the morning, and Mathematics 176 (Introductory Calculus for Business and Social Sciences), Philosophy 224 (Introduction to the Philosophy of Science), or Communication 113 in the afternoon.

    Feedback from 2011 "THINKers"

    • 100% of students formed a friendship with at least one fellow THINKer
    • 97% of students enjoyed living on campus
    • 81% of students felt the THINK experience helped them develop a clearer understanding of what to expect in college
    • 88% of students felt the THINK experience helped them feel more confident as a student
    • 95% of students enjoyed the extracurricular events at THINK
    • 98% of students felt the overall experience with the THINK Summer Institute was a positive one
    • 95% of students would recommend THINK
    • 95% of students would like to return to the THINK Summer Institute next year

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    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 bi-annual newsletters, with information about meeting the needs of gifted learners (www.DavidsonGifted.org/EdGuild/).  

    At the close of 2011, 1,531 teachers, school counselors and administrators were subscribed to the Educators Guild broadcast eList and 802 were on the Educators Guild discussion eList. The members signed up for the broadcast list received three newsletters with features from various professionals, including Dr. Felicia Dixon and Dr. Jim Delisle.

    In 2011, the Educators Guild provided email consultations to 20 educators throughout the country and gave 18 presentations locally to 382 undergraduate and graduate students in education courses. In addition to the college of education presentations, the Educators Guild offered two local presentations to educators - one in January 2011 and the other in November 2011. As a new offering, the Ed Guild team traveled to three national presentations: the first was in March in Sacramento at West Lake Charter School; the second in April in San Diego at The Rhoades School; and the third in July in Las Vegas at SAGE. In addition to continuing all of the above, the Educators Guild team is planning to explore a few new areas of service in 2012. The first will be to partner with the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Education to develop a class with emphasis on the needs of gifted learners. The second is to offer online seminars to educators subscribed to the Educators Guild.

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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 2011, the database contained:

    • 4,250 resources covering support and assessment organizations, schools, summer programs, printed material, web and media tools.
    • 709 full-text research and informational articles on or about identification, gifted education, development and parenting.

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    In 2011, the Davidson Institute Young Scholars and staff wrote the following articles in the Davidson Gifted Database (www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB/):

    • Ambassador Program: Ethan's Project
    • Book Review: Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings
    • Book Review: Highly Capable Program in the State of Washington - Q & A on Legislation and Advocacy
    • Book Review: The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything (Revised & Updated 4th Edition)
    • College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities
    • Book Review: Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
    • Interview with Jim Delisle on Gifted Students and Peer Relations

    In 2011, the Davidson Institute published these Tips for Parents in the Davidson Gifted Database (www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB/):

    • Tips for Parents: AP vs. IB - Which is best for my kid? by Jay Mathews
    • Tips for Parents: Balancing Mind with Heart: An Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation by John Kroeker
    • Tips for Parents: Cleared For Launch - Transition Planning for Twice-Exceptional Kids by Aimee Yermish
    • Tips for Parents: College Essay Writing - Support Tips for Parents by Deborah Claymon
    • Tips for Parents: Friendship Issues of the Gifted and Talented Elementary School Child by Fred Frankel
    • Tips for Parents: Getting Started in Homeschooling by Lisa Rivero
    • Tips for Parents: Helping GT Kids Understand Their Emotions through Effective Emotional Coaching by Christine Fonseca
    • Tips for Parents: How Students See Their Giftedness and Why It Matters: A Different View of “Mindset.” by Thomas Greenspon
    • Tips for Parents: How To Ensure Our Children Excel In Science by Teresa Bondora
    • Tips for Parents: Intensity, Anxiety & Depression - The Dark Side of Giftedness by Tracy Cross
    • Tips for Parents: Keeping the Light in Their Eyes by Robin Schader
    • Tips for Parents: Leadership Skills for Gifted Kids by Stephen R. Balzac
    • Tips for Parents: Mendel, Escher Bach - Giftedness and Family Dynamics by Aimee Yermish
    • Tips for Parents: Navigating a Gap Year by Holly Bull
    • Tips for Parents: Neuropsychological Testing Q&A by Melanie Crawford
    • Tips for Parents: Outside of School Educational Opportunities by Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik
    • Tips for Parents: Raising a Chess Player - From The First Steps, To a Top Young Player by Ronen Har-Zvi
    • Tips for Parents: Raising Children Who Are as Good as They Are Smart by Marybeth Hicks
    • Tips for Parents: Self-Esteem of the Gifted by Michelle Muratori
    • Tips for Parents: Sleep and Learning by Melissa Burnham
    • Tips for Parents: Tapping Web-based Social Media to Learn, Collaborate and Advocate by Deborah Mersino
    • Tips for Parents: That Should Only Take Ten Minutes by Stephen R. Balzac
    • Tips for Parents: The Art of Academic Writing by Michael Clay Thompson

    The Davidson Institute team also published this free guidebook, Considering Your Options: A Guidebook for Investigating Gap Year Opportunities (PDF), in 2011.


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    In 2011, the Davidson Institute published the following newsletters:

    • January 2011 eNews-Update
    • January 2011 Educators Guild Newsletter
    • March 2011 eNews-Update
    • May 2011 eNews-Update
    • May 2011 Educators Guild Newsletter
    • July 2011 eNews-Update
    • September 2011 eNews-Update
    • October 2011 Educators Guild Newsletter
    • November 2011 eNews-Update


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    As of the end of December 2011, the Davidson Institute is providing direct support to an estimated 2,175 profoundly gifted young people and 1,543 educators, as well as indirect support to 13,340 eNews-Update subscribers, 1,288,526 visitors to the Institute’s websites and 4,950 subscribers to our public discussion forum, Gifted Issues.

    140 students enrolled in The Davidson Academy of Nevada in the 2011-2012 school year and 2,980 people are subscribed to the The Davidson Academy eNewsletter. For more information about The Davidson Academy, please visit www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu.

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