Davidson Fellows - 2005

Seventeen 2005 Davidson Fellows were recognized for their achievements at a special awards reception sponsored by U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Grassley in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2005.

2005 Davidson Fellow Laureates

Karsten Gimre, 11
Banks, OR
Category:  Music Classical Instrumentalist
Project Title: Conversation Without Words
Award: $50,000

An 11-year-old young man from Banks, Oregon, Karsten Gimre creates a musical conversation during his piano performances, conveying a deeper meaning of universal themes common to all human beings. At the age of 6, Karsten earned first place in the International Young Artists Concert at the Kennedy Center and at 7 won the Russian-American Young Virtuosos Competition at Carnegie Hall. With mastery of a voluminous repertoire, Karsten has performed with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Symphony and at the Miami International Piano Festival.

Heidi Kaloustian, 17
Canton, MI
Category:  Literature
Project Title: The Roots of All Things
Award: $50,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Canton, Michigan, Heidi Kaloustian wrote a portfolio entitled, “The Roots of All Things,” which explores the intertwining themes of universal, social and individual perspectives. By seamlessly blending the roots of these thematic levels in every piece, Heidi links the tree-trunk of personal identity to family, heritage, culture and humanity in a way that illustrates the complex interconnections and undercurrents beneath the surface of our lives. Her distinctive prose enables the reader to connect with and relate to her characters in a deeply emotional way.

Tiffany Ko, 16
Terre Haute, IN
Category:  Technology Engineering
Project Title: Designing a Capacitance-Based Security System Employing the MC33794 E-Field Sensor Chip
Award: $50,000
A 16-year-old young woman from Terre Haute, Indiana, Tiffany Ko designed a computerized security system based on electric field sensing, an emerging area of semiconductor technology. Tiffany built a prototype circuit board and programmed a novel capacitance-based computer system that is user-friendly and able to store collected data while providing an essentially foolproof security program superior to those customarily used today. Her technology may be used in numerous settings, including home and business security systems, high security safes, and to monitor the whereabouts of people within a building without expensive surveillance equipment.

Milana Zaurova, 17
Fresh Meadows, NY
Category:  Science
Project Title: Gene Therapy Meets Chemotherapy: Exposure of Malignant Glioma Cells to Transgenic Embryonic Stem Cells and Temozolomide
Award: $50,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Fresh Meadows, New York, Milana Zaurova researched the deadliest form of brain cancer, malignant glioma, which is the most invasive and recurrent type of adult brain tumor with no viable treatment options. With a creative, multi-disciplinary approach blending chemotherapy and gene therapy, two areas of neuro-oncology, Milana studied transgenic mouse embryonic stem cells in combination with a chemotherapy drug as an effective method to fight brain cancer. Her method shows promise as a new treatment that can help save lives.

2005 Davidson Fellows


Maia Cabeza, 12
Chapel Hill, NC
Category:  Music Classical Instrumentalist
Project Title: Sharing Music With People Around The World
Award: $25,000
A 12-year-old young woman from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Maia Cabeza was born in Japan to Argentinean parents and started violin lessons in Toronto when she was 4. Studying with faculty members at the Manhattan School of Music and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Maia has performed in the United States and abroad receiving accolades for her technical proficiency and musicality, as well as first-place awards in the Chapel Hill Philharmonia and Triangle Youth Philharmonic competitions. Through her music, Maia hopes to promote communication across all cultural and language barriers.

Brett Harrison, 16
Dix Hills, NY
Category:  Mathematics
Project Title: A Proof of Seymour's Conjecture for All Oriented Graphs
Award: $25,000
A 16-year-old young man from Dix Hills, New York, Brett Harrison proved a long-standing problem in the field of graph theory called Seymour’s conjecture, which was formulated in 1993 by a Princeton mathematics professor about the square of an oriented graph. Using a combinatorial method, Brett developed a proof that is more precise than the conjecture itself, proving the existence and location of certain objects in a graph. Brett’s findings have broad implications in the fields of communications, computer networking and structural design.

Tudor Dominik Maican, 16
Bethesda, MD
Category:  Music Composer
Project Title: Symphonietta for String Orchestra, D'un Monde a l'autre, Reflections on James Joyce
Award: $25,000
A 16-year-old young man from Bethesda, Maryland, Tudor Dominik Maican composed a portfolio containing orchestral, chamber and solo pieces, demonstrating a strong creative inner voice, mature handling of emotion, decisiveness and the formation of an imaginative musical personality. The recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) 2003, 2004 and 2005 Morton Gould Young Composers Award and a student at Juilliard, Dominik was commissioned by the Dumbarton Musical Society to compose a large piano solo, D'un Monde a l'autre, for which he researched folkloric music while exploring his French and Romanian heritage.

Justin Solomon, 17
Oakton, VA
Category:  Technology Computer Programming
Project Title: Identification of Differential Surface Properties on a Triangle Mesh for Facial & Object Recognition
Award: $25,000
A 17-year-old young man from Oakton, Virginia, Justin Solomon developed a new method for computerized object and facial recognition based on differential geometry concepts. Justin designed an algorithm to facilitate identification of objects and faces capitalizing on their unique three-dimensional features - such as concavity, ridges and curvature - whereas commonly-used recognition programs only extract two-dimensional features. Using three dimensional scans of a subject increases the likelihood of accurate identification and has potential applications in security and personalization systems as well as in shape analysis, robotics and artificial intelligence.

John Zhou, 16
Northville, MI
Category:  Science Biology
Project Title: A Study of Possible Interactions Among Rev1, Rev3 and Rev7 Proteins from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
Award: $25,000
A 16-year-old young man from Northville, Michigan, John Zhou used yeast cells to study the role of proteins in DNA with results that suggest a new molecular model for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) of translesion DNA replication. The same molecules that have the ability to let the DNA replication process occur may also be a source of mutations. John’s results will help scientists learn to enhance or suppress the function of these molecules, which is important in a wide variety of cancer treatments. 

Kadir Annamalai, 17
Saratoga, CA
Category:  Science
Project Title: Growth of Germanium Nanowires Through the Vapor Liquid Solid Mechanism
Award: $10,000
A 17-year-old young man from Saratoga, California, Kadir Annamalai created straight and aligned growth of wires from the metal Germanium at the nanoscale, approximately the width of two molecules. Since these wires are so small, they must be grown chemically by vaporizing the metal and letting it cool down molecule by molecule on a piece of silicon. Kadir optimized this growth process so that these wires could then be used in future thermoelectric devices such as power generators and circuit boards.

Stephanie Hon, 17
Fort Myers, FL
Category:  Science
Project Title: The Effects of Intracerebroventricular Passive Immunization on the Deposition of Beta-Amyloid
Award: $10,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Fort Myers, Florida, Stephanie Hon researched Alzheimer’s disease based on the extracellular deposition of beta-amyloid in the cortex and hippocampal regions of the brain that result in neuritic amyloid plaques. Stephanie investigated a different way to deliver antibodies into the lateral ventricle, which is a cavity in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid. Her findings suggest that it may be possible to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s by reducing the beta-amyloid deposits through intracerebroventricular passage immunization followed by an intraperitoneal treatment.

Benedict Shan Yuan Huang, 17
Coram, NY
Category:  Science
Project Title: Changed Particle Production in High Energy Nuclear Collisions
Award: $10,000
A 17-year-old young man from Coram, New York, Benedict Shan Yuan Huang developed a technique of determining charged particle multiplicity during high energy nuclear collisions by studying Quark Gluon Plasma, a form of matter that only existed naturally during the first few nanoseconds after the Big Bang. Simplifying the handling of data in this area of particle physics, Benedict’s technique reduces intrinsic errors and promises to supplant previous techniques to analyze Quark Gluon Plasma, leading to faster and more accurate results in the investigation of the fundamental structure of matter.

Lucas Moller, 16
Moscow, ID
Category:  Science
Project Title: Static and Dynamic Analysis of Mars Dust:  Application to Mars Exploration
Award: $10,000
A 16-year-old young man from Moscow, Idaho, Lucas Moller studied the physics of dust particles to provide data in the design of exploration and support systems for Martian spaceflight missions. The accumulation of wind-blown dust can significantly reduce the lifetime, durability, and performance of support systems, including solar panels and other mechanical devices. Lucas examined the static and dynamic properties of mineral dust in a simulated Martian environment. His experiment has been incorporated in two Mars lander missions, by NASA in 2001 and the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2003.

Nimish Ramanlal, 16
Winter Springs, FL
Category:  Technology
Project Title: Programmable Quantum Computing: A New Framework with von Neumann Type Architecture
Award: $10,000
A 16-year-old young man from Winter Springs, Florida, Nimish Ramanlal studied quantum computing, a computer that performs multiple computations simultaneously and exponentially faster than a conventional computer. Currently quantum computer limitations include both the lack of standardized programming and a generalized methodology for arbitrary search algorithms. Nimish overcame these limitations by developing a von Neumann-type architecture for writing algorithms. His findings could lead to the advancement of quantum computing, which could aid scientists in a number of fields such as advanced physics, medical research and nanotechnology.

Tony Wu, 16
Irvine, CA
Category:  Technology
Project Title: A Category Oriented Web Search Engine Based on Round Robin Learning and Ranking Algorithm
Award: $10,000
A 16-year-old young man from Irvine, California, Tony Wu designed a new and more efficient way to search the Internet, rank relevant Web sites and gather information. Utilizing a complex Round Robin learning and ranking algorithm, Tony indexed more than 40,000 web pages as training and testing data, and used this information to calculate the optimal decision boundary and Euclidean distance for categorizing web pages. Tony’s new Internet search method has tremendous implications in an information-based society, including potential uses in tracking terrorist activity on the Internet and academic research.

Fan Yang, 17
Davis, CA
Category:  Science
Project Title: Identification of Bacterial Adhesion Antagonists for Contact Lenses & Intraocular Lenses
Award: $10,000

A 17-year-old young woman from Davis, California, Fan Yang discovered a way to reduce the risk of eye infections to contact lens wearers and cataract patients who have intraocular lenses. By identifying three compounds that possess antibacterial adhesion properties, Fan demonstrated the feasibility of  compound-grafted lenses to prevent bacteria and biofilm formation. In the future, anti-adhesion contact lenses and intraocular lenses could be developed to fight lens-related infections. Moreover, the use of anti-adhesion therapy could be applied to eye diseases and other health care problems.

Marc Yu, 6
Monterey Park, CA
Category:  Music: Classical Instrumentalist
Project Title: Performance Selections for Piano
Award: $10,000

A 6-year-old young man from Monterey Park, California, Marc Yu has been studying piano and cello since the age of 3. He currently attends the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. At the age of 5, Marc passed the California Certificate of Merit piano and cello exams and was the winner at the National Piano Guild Audition two years in a row. At the 2004 Southwest Youth Music Festival, he won first place in cello and second place in piano. In 2005, he was the youngest participant in the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition master classes. 

2005 Davidson Fellows Press Kit Materials

Davidson Fellows Reception at the Library of Congress in September 2005
Video - 2005 Davidson Fellows Reception (YouTube)
National Press Release
Davidson Fellows' Positive Contributions to Society
News Articles

2005 Davidson Fellow Honorable Mentions

Mr. Robert Glissmann
Boulder, CO
Utilizing Audio Feedback Technology in the Teaching of Body Kinesis

Mr. Frank Anderson
Antioch, TN
Ergonomics: Optimizing the Fun and Function of Handheld Video Games While Preventing Injuries

Miss Victoria Chu
Hockessin, DE
Security in Numbers: Liquid Crystal Polymer Layers in Security, Storage and Graphic Devices

Mr. Blake Clifft
Camden, TN
Deviations in Various Testing Parameters That Determine Optimum Skateboard Quality and Performance

Mr. Jayanth Krishnamurthi
Iselin, NJ
A Numerical Design Simulation of a Novel Notched Airfoil

Mr. Vedant Misra
Harriman, NY
Quantum Tunneling of Electron Bubbles Generated by Neutrino Scattering in LHe

Mr. Neil Nayak
Hockessin, DE
Synthesis of a Novel Heparin-based Micellar System for Effective Drug Delivery

Mr. Vlad Papa
Olathe, KS
Cloning the Histamine H4 and Chemokine ccR5 Receptors into Baculouirus Expression Vector

Mr. Josh Silverman
Glen Head, NY
Engineering and Development of Small Hairpin RNAi Libraries

Miss Ivy Tam
New York, NY
Stable Uptake, Replication and Chromatin Assembly of Malaria Parasite Plasomodium Falciparum

Mr. Sheel Tyle
Pittsford, NY
The Effect of Muller Cells on the Survival of Photoreceptor Cells

Mr. Sujay Tyle
Pittsford, NY
Strides Towards More Efficient Ethanol Production

Mr. Hasan Altaf
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
These Precious Things

Miss Caitlyn Moe
Lake Oswego, OR
Xandaerin's Story: A Study of Consciousness

Miss Anna Stalker
Birmingham, AL
Literature: The Gravity of Dogs

Miss Neena Deb-Sen
New York, NY
Musings of the Soul, An Interpretive Gesture Through the Voice of the Cello

Miss Claire Huangci
Lansdale, PA
Music Making for Inspiration

Miss Michelle Naughton
Madison, WI
Spreading the Musical Word

Mr. Evren Ozan
Laguna Beach, CA
Native American Flute Music

Miss Michelle Ross
Scarsdale, NY
Beauty is Truth and Truth is Beauty

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