The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. The following group represents the 2022 class of Young Scholar Ambassadors. Please take a moment to learn about their service projects, in their own words.
I love Math (especially competitive math), reading, cooking, writing, LEGOs, watching movies or playing games with my family, and swimming.
I love to keep up with current affairs and play competitive academic quiz bowl and history bowl. I also love to swim, take leisurely walks and hikes, and go scouting with my friends!
Project Summary:My project, Teens for Vaccines http://teensforvaccines.org, educates adolescents and their parents about life-saving vaccines, schedules, and community responsibility. When we get vaccinated, we protect the lives of those around us, especially the immunocompromised, seniors, and newborns who rely on us to keep them safe from deadly diseases. As my project expands, I envision a global network of teen vaccine advocates working alongside science educators, school nurses, and health practitioners.
Inspired by Ethan Lindenberger, an Ohio teenager, who got vaccinated despite being raised with anti-vax beliefs, I spent my sixth-grade summer researching vaccine hesitancy in New York, close to Rockland County, the site of a measles outbreak and tremendous dissonance on mandatory vaccination laws. The summer had a lasting impact on me. Back home, I convinced my mother to sign the petition for SB276, a bill to ban fraudulent medical exemptions in California, which ultimately became law. Soon, I started blogging and helping teens and young adults on Reddit find trusted vaccine sources. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I connected with vaccine advocates and organizations worldwide, notably in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Africa, and Australia. In June 2020, the UN Secretary-General's Youth Envoy recognized my advocacy. With guidance from the Davidson Ambassador Program, my project aims to reach out to schools and after-school clubs for vaccine educational workshops, starting in California counties with dangerously low teen vaccination rates. I hope to partner with science educators, school nurses, and immunization coalitions in the counties. By educating the younger generation on how life-saving vaccines work and how outbreaks can happen when vaccination rates drop to a dangerous level in our communities, I truly believe we can overcome vaccine hesitancy and eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases, making our world a safer place.
Reading, writing, playing the flute, crocheting, learning languages (Korean, French, and Mandarin right now!), co-hosting the Ad Aster podcast, playing soccer
I enjoy writing, sketching, photography, biking, and yo-yoing. Friends and family also know me as a person that is willing to argue about anything.
In a politically charged world, it’s getting harder to find calm, thought-provoking discussions. However, when I experienced a debate over philosophy, I found the ideal discussion that had seemed impossible to find. As a result, my project is catered towards helping students learn how to critically think about and discuss modern ideas in a productive way using philosophical topics. I am creating a series of philosophical discussions, captured in video, where two people will debate deep questions, modelling not only how to approach philosophy, but how to add to any conversation.
I enjoy playing piano as well as painting and drawing. I also love acting onstage, reading, running, and enjoying nature.
Project Summary:This project was born of my many years studying piano. When
I was three years old, my grandmother died and told my mother that I must take
piano lessons. She left the money for the first five years, and I have
continued with the instrument ever since. I consider myself very fortunate to
have had this musical opportunity, which has given me a passion for music, a
channel of self-expression and a craft I can hone my entire life.
However, not everybody has this opportunity: the chance to
start learning an instrument early in life, opening many doors in the future.
This is why I am starting an organization, MILES, to give free musical
instrument lessons to students whose families couldn't otherwise afford them. I
will recruit several musically talented volunteers in a variety of instruments
to help me teach local students. MILES will also give these students free
access to instruments so they can practice without the burden of cost. The
ultimate goal is for this organization to expand to other communities around
the state of Wisconsin, toppling the barriers to high-quality music instruction
and spreading the gift of music.
What do you like to do in your free time?:Tennis, badminton, volleyball, golf, ping pong, writing poetry and novels, hanging out with friends, gaming, reading!
The purpose of my community project is to promote reading for pleasure amongst teenagers in Hong Kong through a community platform for book club discussions. One of my personal joys in life is to read often and with choice, and I think if more kids did this, they would love it too. There are organizations in Hong Kong that help parents to read together with primary school children, but none that I can find to promote reading for pleasure amongst teenagers. Hong Kong’s current local education system emphasizes academic performance over reading for pleasure, and these academic pressures in Hong Kong significantly increase as the student gets older. I believe there is a need to encourage reading for pleasure in teenagers in Hong Kong to promote wellbeing and critical thinking. I also think it would be fun to create a community where I can meet other teenagers like me to discuss books that we have the power to choose ourselves.
I enjoy discussing and researching topics in history (especially Colonial India) and philosophy.
Project Summary:Through the program Sanitatem Mentis, I will design a curriculum for mental health to be taught in local middle schools. The curriculum will incorporate activities, discussions, worksheets, and videos. It will focus on topics like mental health disorders, their portrayal in mass media, and how to eliminate the social stigma that envelops mental illness. For example, there is a video that explains, using intense imagery, how depression weighs down on one’s soul and eventually controls them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc). The program will also teach students best methods of maintaining emotional well-being and a healthy mind. Our purpose is to make mental health a topic that is more mainstream while also setting students up for success by teaching them best practices for dealing with stressors.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Piano, Oboe, Oil Painting, Competition Math, Classic Literature, Volleyball
I am an avid Star Wars fan, and I especially like The Mandelorian. I also enjoy reading and hiking in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
My project, the Smoky Mountain Computer Science Girls, aims to teach computer science to middle school girls in Appalachian Sevier County, TN. Most schools in rural Sevier County lack computer science classes. I learned how to code by traveling over an hour to programming workshops in Oak Ridge, something most families cannot do. Smoky Mountain Computer Science Girls will meet this need for computer science classes in rural Sevier County. It will offer regular introductory workshops about various areas of computer science, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and app development.
During my free time, I love to play the violin, reading, spending time with friends and family, and listening to music. I also enjoy exploring new topics and meeting new people.
My project is called Students Connect, dedicated to bringing students together within their community. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we felt isolated from our friends, classmates, and teachers. A big issue for students and teachers was education. Our interaction had been significantly limited, leaving many students wishing for something more, academically and socially. With sudden transitions and changes to our schedules, we started to feel alone. Inspired to combat this, I began to host daily study hall meetings online and met up with four other classmates. We were able to keep in touch, stay updated on our school’s events, and focus more on our schoolwork. We found that we also strengthened our friendship bonds, even during the pandemic, and relieved much stress. Since we were all rising freshmen with many questions about high school, I hosted an online high school discussion forum and invited a junior to come and answer our questions. These meetings have become the basis for Students Connect.Students Connect is a student-run program; it aims to cultivate and strengthen students’ relationships, facilitate learning transition, and encourage positive peer interaction. It serves as a supportive peer organization by focusing on study groups, student tutoring, and giving back to the community, both during and after the pandemic crisis. I have implemented Students Connect as an official club at my school and hope to impact more students positively. Students have mentioned that they enjoy staying updated with school announcements, hearing others’ opinions on matters, and staying connected with their peers. Through this program, I have also learned more and gained experience in leadership, confidence, and hard work. It has brought me closer to people I may not have met otherwise. We work to change and improve by listening to students’ feedback actively. I hope that Students Connect will reach and connect more people both during and beyond the pandemic. You can learn more about Students Connect and our previous events on our website, https://studentsconnectwv.com.
What do you like to do in your free time?:In addition to solving coding challenges, I enjoy playing flute as well as classical and jazz piano. I also love writing science fiction and fantasy stories, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and singing along to Broadway musicals.
Name: Mark L.
Lives in: Mahwah, NJ
Project Title: The Lighthouse Initiative
In my free time, I enjoy filmmaking, illustrating books, web development, inventing, participating in competitions, photography, and playing with my pet rabbit Beanie.
Each of us is unique and different, but many young people still struggle to find their individual voices in our crowded world. Because of this, they may become depressed, anxious, or addicted due to the frequent inability to find their purpose in life. Many of us may superficially perceive filmmaking as something reserved for the rich and well-established. However, my personal experience has exemplified that this is grossly untrue. With my project “The Lighthouse Initiative,” I hope to inspire other young students to express themselves through filmmaking and experience the joy and the power of being heard. Youth of all ages and backgrounds will be able to benefit from my project. Young students will benefit from my program by creating films to express themselves so that they can find their unique voice. I will help students develop their projects and connect them with various film festivals where they can submit their projects at no charge.
My First Film: https://bit.ly/TheLighthouseFilm
My Second Film: https://bit.ly/TeiMovie
My Recent Film: https://bit.ly/WeTC
Book 1 I Illustrated (Why Rabbits Wear Masks During COVID-19): https://amzn.to/3136rYE
Book 2 I Illustrated (Beanie the Rabbit Teaches Children About Money): https://bit.ly/Book-01
Name: Nathan Y.
Lives in: North Potomac, MD
Project Title: coronacentral.life as a Teen Info Center for COVID-19 Vaccine-related Questions
In this time of uncertainty, many people, especially teens, are confused by often-biased and scattered information about COVID-19 vaccines. I have started with a Biotech Club to inform members about vaccine development and vaccination options. I envision my project as a reliable, bias-free platform to answer teens’ vaccine-related questions. It would update teens on vaccine news and educate them on the fundamentals of vaccine development, helping them make informed vaccination choices.
Name: Sravanth M.
Lives in: Haverstraw, NY
Project Title: Essence of Education
In my free time, I enjoy reading books and playing the alto & tenor saxophone. I also have fun playing tennis and running track and am on the varsity teams for both sports. I also love watching the NFL and NBA and enjoy playing video games. I also love listening to music, especially when running. Writing blogs, recording videos, and publishing books about language also keeps me busy.
Childhood poverty is a huge problem that many children face today. It has many drastic effects, including physical disabilities and mental illness. What is truly tragic is the extreme difficulty of leaving the cycle of poverty, which traps people in the downward spiral of low mental health and low income. A lack of good education is a huge source of poverty, as there are very few jobs that will accept them without a high school diploma. Since poverty-stricken families don’t feel motivated to send kids to school, our vision is to educate these impoverished children and their families to attain an excellent education, experience the benefits of education, impact their communities, and raise them to be disciples and leaders. For the project itself, we felt that education would be the biggest need to address when it came to these students. So, we came up with Essence of Education. We also plan to host Mother’s Club and Father’s Club to empower and teach families about everything from nutrition, health, and wellness to self-esteem, and spirituality. To make this possible, this project team will work with local volunteers, community leaders, students, and area youth with critically important after-school reinforcement programs that help these children to be competitive. My inspiration for this project was the North South Foundation’s scholarship program for poor students. I noticed that they targeted a wide range of students entering professional education - my vision is to target kids to complete high school by providing a supplemental education or sponsoring them for education. After the project is put into practice in one local area (Kamsallipallem village in India), we will be expanding to other parts of the world in hopes of doing our part to help the universal problem of poverty. Our purpose is to essentially help students get through high school, whether that be through tutoring them or sponsoring their education.
Name: Timothy L.
Lives in: Saratoga, CA
Project Title: Money Matters
In my free time, I enjoy playing Minecraft, participating in Speech and Debate, performing in musicals, writing short stories, and creating short films.
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.