Davidson Fellows - 2007

On September 26, 2007, Bob Davidson honored five Davidson Fellow Laureates and 12 Davidson Fellows for their prodigious works in Mathematics, Science, Technology, Literature and Music.

2007 Davidson Fellow Laureates

Alexandra Courtis Alexandra Courtis, 17
Davis, California
Category: Science
Project Title: “Bright Luminescent Silicon Nanoparticles for Biological Applications”
Scholarship: $50,000

A 17-year-old young woman from Davis, California, Alexandra Courtis developed a new method of creating luminescent silicon nanorods and quantum dots, used in biomedical imaging and cancer treatments to track biological processes. While traditional production methods of quantum dots are very costly, Alexandra used sodium silicide and ammonium bromide to produce highly luminescent particles making the synthesis of silicon nanoparticles commercially viable on a large-scale. Her research is considered a major advancement in the imaging of cancerous tumors at the cellular level and directed tumor targeting.

Yale Fan Yale Fan, 15
Beaverton, Oregon
Category: Technology
Project Title: “Applications of Multi-Valued Quantum Algorithms”
Scholarship: $50,000
A 15-year-old young man from Beaverton, Oregon, Yale Fan extended the binary quantum computational Deutsch-Jozsa and Grover algorithms to multi-valued logic problems. The Deutsch-Jozsa and Grover algorithms are among the first quantum algorithms designed for execution on a quantum computer. Yale discovered novel applications of these multi-valued algorithms and their computational advantages over the binary cases. The expanded versions of these algorithms are relevant to computer vision systems, search problems in economics, and space complexity issues in transportation, scheduling and manufacturing.

Madhavi Gavini Madhavi Gavini, 17
Starkville, Mississippi
Category: Science
Project Title: “Engineering a Novel Inhibitor of Biofilm-Encapsulated Pathogens”
Scholarship: $50,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Starkville, Mississippi, Madhavi Gavini engineered a method to inhibit the growth of biofilm-forming pathogens. Pseudomonas, an opportunistic, multi-drug resistant pathogen, produces biofilms that protect it from antibiotics and is a leading cause of death among patients with compromised immune systems. Through the combination of traditional Indian medicine and molecular biology, Madhavi identified a compound capable of penetrating and inhibiting the growth of the biofilm. This compound will be used in inhalers and antiseptic sprays and treat millions of people suffering from chronic Pseudomonas bacterial infections.

Todd Kramer Todd Kramer, 17
Port Jefferson, New York
Category: Music
Project Title: “Finding My Voice Through Music”
Scholarship: $50,000
A 17-year-old young man from Port Jefferson, New York, Todd Kramer’s portfolio, "Finding My Voice Through Music" traces his development as a composer from age 12. Todd believes every period in history needs new composers and performers to develop artistic traditions that evolve with the times. Todd just graduated from The Juilliard Pre-College Division and is a student at The Perlman Music Program. In addition to being a composer, Todd is also a cellist and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and has appeared on NPR’s "From the Top."

Katherine Orazem Katherine Orazem, 17
Ames, Iowa
Category: Literature
Project Title: “After-Elegies”
Scholarship: $50,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Ames, Iowa, Katherine Orazem’s creative writing portfolio, "After-Elegies," consists of sonnets, short stories, and personal essays exploring the human response to death and those who have gone through loss. She examines this theme through several viewpoints, including that of a widow learning to live without her lifelong companion, that of a husband who refuses to acknowledge his wife’s death, and that of an apostate grieving the loss of her faith. The work deepens our understanding of varying human responses to grief and the ability to survive loss.

2007 Davidson Fellows

Nate Bottman Nate Bottman, 16
Seattle, Washington
Category: Mathematics
Project Title: Analytically Determining the Spectra of Solutions of the NLS”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 16-year-old young man from Seattle, Washington, Nate Bottman determined the spectra of solutions for the Nonlinear Schrödinger Equation (NLS) that describes wave propagation in fluids and plasmas. He developed a general method for determining whether solutions of integrable equations are stable or unstable and proved that all stationary solutions of the defocusing NLS are spectrally stable. Nate’s work has applications in predicting rogue waves, nonlinear optics, plasma physics, and the study of Bose-Einstein condensates.

Michael Harwick Michael Harwick, 17
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Category: Literature
Project Title: “Highways: The Road as Existence”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 17-year-old young man from Bridgewater, New Jersey, Michael Harwick uses poetry, prose, and dialogue to illustrate relationships that tread the border between isolation and connection in his portfolio, "Highways: The Road as Existence." Michael constantly surprises and entertains the reader with a strong and original narrative voice rich in symbolic and linguistic meaning. Through quick, sparse dialogue juxtaposed against lavish, illustrated, and unsettling descriptions of a highly visual world, Michael shows how little is actually said in a world full of noise.

Danielle Lent Danielle Lent, 17
Cedarhurst, New York
Category: Science
Project Title: “Optimizing Recycled Polymer Blends Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Cedarhurst, New York, Danielle Lent developed a method of recycling plastics that is cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. By exposing polymers to supercritical carbon dioxide, a phase of carbon dioxide that exhibits unique properties as a solvent, Danielle created a process of recycling that produces plastics that have equal or superior properties of the original material allowing for their continued use. Danielle’s process does not release toxins and may create a net loss of carbon dioxide.

Celeste Lipkes Celeste Lipkes, 17
Wesley Chapel, Florida
Category: Literature
Project Title: “Room to Pace”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Wesley Chapel, Florida, Celeste Lipkes explores the themes of disease, discovery and faith in her portfolio, “Room to Pace,” predominantly composed of poetry which is witty, intense, lyrical, evocative and fun. Her personal essays focus on the concept of physical loss and the quirks of family life, while her in-depth critical essays systematically analyze the work of other poets. Through her writing, Celeste seeks to inspire readers to observe the details in everyday life.

Yuqing Meng Damon Meng, 16
Madison, New Jersey
Category: Music
Project Title: “Reviving Classical Music Through Individualism”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 16-year-old young man from Madison, New Jersey, Damon Meng believes it is his duty and privilege to contribute to the art of classical music. Through his piano portfolio, “Reviving Classical Music Through Individualism,” Damon hopes to introduce classical music to younger generations. At the age of 7, Damon was one of the youngest candidates ever accepted to Juilliard Pre-College Division, where he has gone on to win the Junior and Senior Concerto Competitions. A native of China, Damon was recognized as a 2007 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist and has performed on NPR’s “From the Top.”

Janet Song Janet Song, 15
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Category: Science
Project Title: “Development of a Urine Test for the Early Detection of Cancer”
Scholarship: $25,000
A 15-year-old young woman from Norristown, Pennsylvania, Janet Song used carboxylated magnetic beads to develop a urine test for the early detection of cancer. Urine has been shown to contain short-length, circulatory DNA from possible tumor sites. Janet developed a method to isolate the short-length DNA from urine and demonstrated that the use of the isolated DNA greatly increased the sensitivity in detecting a cancer-associated mutation. The use of a urine test for cancer screening would be less invasive, less unpleasant, and less expensive than current cancer screening methods, increasing compliance rates and allowing for the early detection of cancer.

Richard Alt Richard Alt, II, 17
Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania
Category: Science
Project Title: “A Comparison of Three Seasonal Snowfall Forecasting Methods for Winter 2004-05”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 17-year-old young man from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Richard Alt compared three weather forecasting methods for accuracy in predicting snowfall with historical climate data for his hometown and synthesized this information to create a new forecasting mechanism. Through analysis and interpretation of large-scale, upper-air and surface climatological circulation patterns, dynamics, and physics, Richard created a universal forecasting method that can be used anywhere on earth with sufficient, historical weather records. Richard’s research can help meteorologists compile more accurate forecasts and help public officials prepare seasonal response plans.

Christina Beasley Christina Beasley, 17
Vienna, Virginia
Category: Literature
Project Title: “An Experiment in Free Speech”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 17-year-old from Vienna, Virginia, Christina Beasley explores the relationship between human perception and the experience of beauty in her portfolio, “An Experiment in Free Speech.” Comparing the perception of emotion through critical analysis of established literary works to her own creative writing experiences, Christina’s compilation reveals the hidden beauty in everyday occurrences. Christina delves into the complexities of the human psyche and argues that one must connect emotion with rationality to understand how the human mind functions as a whole.

Billy Dorminy Billy Dorminy, 15
McDonough, Georgia
Category: Technology
Project Title: “Improper Fractional Base Encryption”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 15-year-old young man from McDonough, Georgia, Billy Dorminy invented a secure method of encrypting messages using reduced redundancy representations of improper fractional bases (IFBs), a number base using improper fractions. Billy created a new method of encryption using these representations, which takes up less computer memory and uses both confusion and diffusion to hide a message. As the first secure method of encryption using IFBs, this system allows a second encrypted message to be undetectable within the body of the main message and opens a new area for encryption exploration.

Shannon Lee Shannon Lee, 14
Plano, Texas
Category: Music
Project Title: “Creating a Musical Bond”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 14-year-old young woman from Plano, Texas, Shannon Lee views music as an invaluable form of communication which she demonstrates in her violin portfolio, "Creating a Musical Bond." Through her performances, Shannon keeps musical traditions alive by sharing the music of many distinguished composers to inspire and uplift audiences. A silver medalist in the Stulberg International String Competition and recipient of the Young Master Scholarship from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Shannon has performed as a soloist with the Dallas Symphony and played on NPR's "From the Top."

Graham Van Schaik Graham Van Schaik, 16
Columbia, South Carolina
Category: Science
Project Title: “Pyrethroid Pesticides and Their Potential to Promote Breast Cancer and Neurodegeneration”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 16-year-old young man from Columbia, South Carolina, Graham Van Schaik researched pyrethroids, chemicals found in common household and agricultural pesticides. More than 30 commercial crops are treated with pyrethroids and they have been found in meats, seeds and baby food. Graham determined the residual amounts of pyrethroids found in tomatoes and possible inhalation when used in a home environment. By extrapolating human consumption and inhalation, he found pyrethroids were retained in both cases and promoted statistically significant cellular proliferation in human breast cells, a sign of cancer, and significant neurite retraction in neurons, a sign of neurodegenerative diseases.

Nora Xu Nora Xu, 17
Naperville, Illinois
Category: Science
Project Title: “Modeling of X-Ray Scattering for Nanocrystal Superlattice Multilayer Thin Films”
Scholarship: $10,000
A 17-year-old young woman from Naperville, Illinois, Nora Xu developed a unique method of determining the crystal structure of nanocrystalline superlattice (NCS) thin films. Nora proposed treating the NCS multilayer thin films as a set of two-dimensional lattice points with each basis in three-dimensional space. Using this model, Nora confirmed x-ray scattering pattern intensities which can be applied to molecules and atoms. Nora’s research has potential in optical and electron microscopes, as a delivery system for biomolecules, and as a vector for drug delivery to cancerous tumors.
2007 Davidson Fellows Press Kit Materials

Davidson Fellows Reception at the Library of Congress in September 2007
Video - 2007 Davidson Fellows Reception (YouTube)
National News Release
Davidson Fellows' Positive Contributions to Society

National Statistics: Why our Nation Needs to Educate our Gifted and Talented Youth

News Articles

2007 Honorable Mentions

Miss Carrie Anderson
Cimarron, New Mexico
A Process to Remove Silica from Inland Brackish Water

Mr. Vijay Jain
Roslyn, New York
An Integrated Smart Chip: The Early Diagnosis of Cancer and Rapid Identification of Bioterrorism


Mr. Christopher Lee
West Covina, California
Deformation of Cesium Hydrogen Sulfate for Fuel Cell Application


Miss Shravani Mikkilineni
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Dendrimer-Based Nanodevices for Drug Delivery Across the Blood Brain Barrier


Mr. Vinayak Ramesh
El Dorado Hills, California
MEMS Bi-Morph Actuator and Piezoresistive Sensor Integrated Cantilevers for Enhanced AFM Imaging


Mr. Franz Sauer
Manalapan, New Jersey
Towards Making the Smallest Tool Machine for Nanotechnology


Miss Alexandra Schultz
Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Discrete Localization of Modern vs. Classical Languages in Bilingual Aphasia Case Studies


Mr. Eric Sherman
Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Photoenzymatic Repair: The Effect of UV-A and UV-B Radiation on Ciliates


Mr. Arkajit Dey
Palo Alto, California 
Tree-Realizability of a Distance Matrix

Outside the Box
Mr. Michael Cherkassky
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Statistical Analysis of the Random Nature of Financial Markets

Mr. Nicholas Brady
Baltimore, Maryland
Thugz Theory

Mr. Alexander Malanych
Meriden, Connecticut
Hope and Other Supposed Misemotions: Modern Gay Male Identity

Mr. Joshia Tan
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The Apprentice Bistro: Selective Original and Literary Works of Joshia Tan

Miss Eloise Kim
Portland, Oregon
A Momentous Beginning Through Music

Mr. Thomas Reeves
New York, New York
Piano Concerto No. 1

Miss Alize Rozsnyai
San Diego, California
A Woman's Voice; A Woman's Music

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