I enjoy drawing, reading, baking, building things, and spending time with my family and friends.
I remember that when I was in elementary school, art classes were
some of the most widely anticipated and exciting events of every year. My
classmates and I would count down the days until every session, excited to take
a break from normal class work and express our creativity. However, art class
only came around about once every three months since the only times we would
receive lessons were when particularly brave parent volunteers decided to
sacrifice their time (and sanity) to lead a group of over-enthusiastic
nine-year-olds through a premade art project. Because of Nevada’s lack of
funding for the arts, professionally taught art classes are practically
nonexistent in almost all of the state’s public elementary and middle schools.
However, given the massive body of data explaining how drawing can have
profound effects on children’s mental health, creativity, cognitive
development, and motor skills, art classes should be a staple of every child’s
In order to ensure that
someday they are, my project aims to create a system where high school student
volunteers teach elementary and middle school students a cohesive art
curriculum instead. By establishing this system of high school volunteers,
younger students can learn about the importance of art and can reap all the
benefits of practicing art regularly, while the older student volunteers can
develop their public speaking skills and gain teaching experience. I am
developing my own curriculum as a series of hour long presentations and accompanying
art projects which aim to explain art’s importance to world history, culture,
and the individual. Over the past couple years, I have been giving my
presentations in public elementary school classes and to students at my local
Boys and Girls Club. I am currently working to recruit more high school
student volunteers and to adapt each of my presentations to a digital platform.
You can learn more about my project and lesson plan on my website
birding, read, play my trumpet.
Ever since I was a young child, I have always been
interested in wildlife and biology, especially in birds. I love being outdoors
and in the field. Every weekend, I would go on birding walks with my parents,
keeping track of every new species I observed and eagerly anticipating what new
species I would see.
Over the years, observing birds has given me a keen
appreciation of how important habitat is for the health of avian populations.
Living on the Pacific Flyway, one of the major bird migration routes of North
America has also impressed on me the importance of habitat for not just
resident bird populations, but for those that are migrating through.
Sadly, nationwide and worldwide, wildlife habitats are in
peril. Landmark treaties like the Endangered Species Act help to mitigate
habitat loss on a large scale, but on a local level, especially in cities,
urban sprawl and the proliferation of the concrete jungle means that urban
wildlife populations are under threat. Also, there is a lack of knowledge among
the public, thwarting their ability to help even if they are willing to do so.
Plants and trees in cities are often non-native decorative plants that offer
little by way of food or shelter to native fauna.
My goal is to “think big” and develop a grassroots program
to educate, enable and empower the public to reverse the trend of habitat loss
in cities. Backyard by backyard, we can fight back by “going native.” My
community service venture of working with individuals, nurseries and garden
centers, schools, and local government to encourage and enable the use of
native plants in streets, backyards and gardens will allow me to not only give
back to the community but to all the living things that have given me so much
joy over the years.
Some of the things I enjoy doing in my
free time are reading, riding my bike, table tennis, playing chess, programming
and learning the guitar.
I love observing the natural world, whether I am on
adventurous hikes, or simply birdwatching in my backyard. I enjoy cross
country, track, painting, taekwondo, pool and spending time with my friends.
Most people spend about 75% of
their time indoors. Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of
their time indoors. Pollutant concentration in the indoor air s 3-5 times and sometimes
even 100 times higher than outdoor air. Every year 4.3 million people die due
to poor indoor air quality (IAQ), this is around 11,780 people every day or 490
people every hour. Yet, IAQ is one of the most ignored problems in the world.
The goal of my project is to not only create awareness but also to provide
simple do it yourself solutions based on research. Implementation of these
solutions will make a material difference to the health and productivity of
Everyone will benefit from this project
but especially those who are the most vulnerable to the impact of indoor air
quality: pregnant women, infants and young babies, lower income segment and
senior citizens. This target segment is
impacted the most by poor IAQ and if they are aware of the problems and simple
solutions we can prevent a lot of health and productivity related issues and
help those dealing with these issues lead a better quality of life.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my spare time, I love playing the violin, competing in Speech
competitions, and participating in Model United Nations conferences. When I’m
not dressed up in a suit either speaking or performing, you can most likely
find me cooking my favorite recipes or playing with Coco, our family’s bichon
After watching the documentary,
“Motel Kids of Orange County”, my eyes were opened to the hardships that
homeless children and their families experienced. Many children were forced to
live in small motel rooms, where they played in motel parking lots and were
forced to search for food from dumpsters. This film inspired me to make an
impact in my community, and due to my extensive interest in government and
civics, I wrote a book for young children titled “Your Rights” to explain the
ten amendments of the Bill of Rights. I then worked with Orange County Peace
Camp and the Thomas House Family Shelter to teach civics education to shelter
children aged from 5 to 18 and assessed the outcome. The results were promising
and offered some insight into the status of the children’s civics knowledge.
These results made me realize how little civics education exposure shelter
children received, and drove me to pursue an initiative to teach a civics
education curriculum to underprivileged communities.
Since moving to North
California and joining the Ambassador program, I have translated my Bill of
Rights book to four different languages and added child-friendly images to make
the material engaging and age-appropriate. Following my translation process, I
created a curriculum geared toward youth, focused on building a foundational
understanding of the various facets of civics and government for these
children. Shortly after, I
with directors from LifeMoves, a local organization hosting family shelters
throughout the Bay Area, to set up a series of workshops for me to teach my
civics curriculum to these children. With the recent developments surrounding
the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, I have unfortunately been forced to put my
efforts on pause, given that the shelters are not allowing volunteers for
safety reasons. I plan to stay in touch with LifeMoves to further my initative
and reach as many children as I can, and in the meantime, work on refining my
curriculum so that I will be best prepared to lead my workshops when I can do
so once again. I am extremely grateful for all of the support and guidance that
the Davidson Young Scholar Ambassador program has offered me throughout this
process, and although my training now draws to an end, I look forward to
continuing to further my project to make a change in my community!
What do you like to do in your free time?:During my free time,
you can find me watching various horror films, enjoying sci-fi shows, showing
off my skills in Mariokart, and laughing it up with my friends and family.
project is Aphelion, a student-founded non-profit organization. Aphelion was
created back in 2016 when a group of students wanted to find a way to use their
artistic talents to make a difference.
individual deserves access to education and the opportunity to achieve great
things. Unfortunately, education may only be a dream for many. Aphelion works
to grant the opportunity to pursue education to kids all over the world.
Currently, Aphelion is supporting the education of two girls in Kenya named
Regina and Beatrice with help from an organization entitled the Maasai Girls
Education Fund (MGEF). Without our help, these girls may be married off at a
young age, expected to care for the home rather than pursue their passion for
education. By giving these girls the chance to learn and grow, they can bring
back knowledge in nursing, agriculture, or even engineering to help their
tribe. There is a quote from Brigham Young that states, “… You educate a woman;
you educate a generation.” These girls will be able to pass their teachings on
to their children, fueling them with the same passion for learning.
goal is to take Aphelion to the next level, working more within our community
to create change and expanding our reach. Creating awareness and educating
others on the importance of education is as important as raising funds. You can
learn more about the organization and our previous events on
I like to read, play
piano, and watch anime as well as Youtube. I also really enjoy indoor rock climbing.
Everybody has something they feel
passionate about. Often, people want to help spread awareness about or do
something to help that topic. But one question people, myself included, keep
stumbling upon is: How?
How can I truly make a difference? How do
That is why I started my project, Activism & Leadership for Youths. My project aims to help
elementary and middle-school students create and accomplish activism projects.
By breaking down the process of activism into smaller steps and guiding
students through those steps, I will help many students accomplish their goals
and truly make a difference.
What do you like to do in your free time?
ski, play squash (racquet sport), read, debate, and play Catan.
spend most of my time with my school work and debating (public forum,
parliamentary, and model congress). I also coach and run multiple middle school
debate teams at different schools and organizations. In my free time I like to
hang out with my friends and family, read, exercise (soccer and running),
and listen to/play music (piano and guitar).
My project, Initiate
Debate, is intended to help teach and mentor middle school students through
debate. I believe this title encompasses the essence of what my program would
accomplish. On a basic level the program aims to start new debate programs. On
a deeper level it is so much more than that, aiming to initiate civil discussion
between people by broadening the debate community to include people from all
different backgrounds. It is important for young people to be taught to
solve conflicts respectfully and to effectively advocate for themselves and
their beliefs, while engaging in the world around them. Debate has allowed me
to do all of these things, and I want to help pass those skills on to other
young people who are not as fortunate as I am.
Debate has so many
valuable lessons that I have learned personally. It helps build confidence and
verbal agility while working on communication skills one on one, in group
settings and with public speaking. My work coaching debate was very formative
for me and had a great impact on my students. Initiate Debate would be
about taking the incredible opportunity I had coaching and offer it to more
high school students so that even more middle schools will have the benefit of
debate programs. Then, Initiate Debate helps to connect these school debate
programs with the tournament circuit. We want to help raise a generation
that values productive discussion over silence and steps up to take leadership
roles when they can help initiate change.
In my free time, I like to play basketball and read science and
historical fiction books. I also enjoy watching sports, especially football and
basketball and rooting for my Bay Area teams!
I am extremely fascinated with the study of neurosciences, especially
the brain anatomy and neurological disorders and have been involved in research
in some of these areas.
When my biology teacher
introduced me to a neuroscience club, I discovered the seemingly simple looking
organ - the brain - which controls our ability to see, hear, feel, learn, move,
and so much more. I held a small sheep brain in my hands and it was hard to
fathom that this tiny piece of grey and white matter is responsible for it all.
I continued to learn more about the brain and neurosciences in general by listening
to specialists and reading up on the research.
this journey, I have learnt many fascinating yet surprising facts about
the teenage brain. Brain development in these formative years makes teens
self-conscious and subject to peer influences. Under peer-influence teens may
take risks and may like to try out alcohol or drugs. But what is the impact of
these drugs on our brains?
project is very specifically, on the teenage brain. Adolescence is a time of
significant growth and development inside the teenage brain. Because the
prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers rely on amygdala (center for
emotions) to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. While the
prefrontal cortex (area for planning, decision making and moderating social
behavior) is still not fully developed, teenagers undergo major changes in
their limbic system (the area of the brain that controls emotions). Doctors now
believe that this difference in timing of development of the prefrontal cortex
causes the risk-taking and impulsive behaviors which are rather common among
teenagers. Teenagers tend to make decisions based on their emotions rather than
extremely important to understand how brain development and growth impacts the
way teens behave and act. It will help us teenagers to be self-aware and
understanding which can help us navigate society with positive interactions.
Understanding our brains is important for all adolescents and I want to use
this opportunity and share the research about Our developing Teen Brains.
Currently through my organization, I have
been able to reach out to thousands of teenagers and caretakers all over the
nation giving presentations at schools and various youth organizations.
Additionally, we are engaging with professionals in this field to design
a curriculum that can be used as a basis for educating high schoolers all
throughout the country to help empower themselves with the understanding of our
Please visit our website ourteenbrains.org,
social media on Instagram and Facebook, our YouTube channel). We offer presentations on
various topics like neuroanatomy, effects of bullying on our brain, depression
and stress, impact of loneliness or mindfulness on our brains. We are excited
that we have received tremendous response to these sessions and we have
professionals from all over the world supporting our organization. There are
school counselors along the nation who are interested in this information. Our
resources have also been added to American Counseling website.
Additionally, we are also coming up with an app and a
book which provides this information easily to teens and their caretakers. I
also run a weekly podcast called ‘
Teen Brains with Shivek’
where we interview professionals neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, school
counselors, pediatricians who interact with teens in daily practice.
What do you like to do in your free time?:
I like to play competitive tennis and
train in my Black Belt class. I also enjoy singing, play chess with my dad,
read books and news articles.
I have always
loved helping people. When I went to visit some rural villages of India over
the years, I have seen the thirst for good education in the eyes of the
underprivileged kids, and observed the scarcity for learning resources in these
(“CAUSE”) intends to create awareness among kids in the local schools and
communities here to address these educational challenges and the scarcity of
learning resources. “CAUSE” aims to collect donations in the form of learning
resources such as new or used books, new or used gadgets like iPads and
calculators and other learning material like magazines; and participate in a
uniquely designed “Pen Pal” program connecting each underprivileged kid with a
pen pal from a middle or high school in our local community to correspond with,
ask questions, seek guidance from, and more importantly see a friend in them.
Please visit us at
The following disclosure is provided pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 598.1305:The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a Nevada non-profit corporation which is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt private operating foundation. We are dedicated to supporting the intellectual and social development of profoundly gifted students age 18 and under through a variety of programs. Contributions are tax deductible.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.