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Twelve of the 22 young people recognized at an October 4th reception honoring the 2012 Davidson Fellows Scholarship recipients were alumni of Society for Science & the Public educational programs.
The Davidson Fellows Scholarships provide awards in the amounts of $10,000; $25,000, or $50,000 to young people 18 and under in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields as well as literature, music, and philosophy. Since the scholarship fund’s creation in 2001, almost $5 million has been provided to 206 Fellows. Bob Davidson, who co-founded the Davidson Institute for Talent Development with his wife Jan, presented the awards to each student and said of the group as a whole, “Individuals with extraordinary talent, when supported and encouraged, can do great things.”
Each honoree had the option to give a short speech and several Society alumni took this opportunity. Saumil Bandyopadhyay ($10,000) described his physics project and his plans to use the scholarship to pursue a degree in electrical engineering next year when he attends college. Stan Chen ($10,000), now at Harvard, won the award for his project on grid graphs and spoke about his love of the “sleek minimalistic beauty of mathematics.”
Vaishnavi Rao ($10,000), now a senior in high school, talked about how her interest in the brain had begun in the 7th grade and continues to this day, while Naomi Shah ($25,000) discussed her plans to use the scholarship to continue her focus on environmental health research. Naomi, a high school senior, has conducted research on indoor air quality and asthmatics. She hopes to be able to “solve problems from the root, rather than treat symptoms alone.” Sara Volz ($50,000) joked about being “colloquially known as Algae Girl” for her research on using algae as biofuel. Her goal is to become a biochemistry researcher and professor, and in her quest to do so has “turned my room into a quasi-lab and adjusted my sleep cycles to the algae light/dark growth cycle.”
The full list of Society alumni honored includes:
Congratulations to all of the 2012 Davidson Fellows!
Alaina Gassler is a ninth grader from West Grove, Pennsylvania, and the recipient of this year’s $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award at the Broadcom MASTERS.
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Alexis MacAvoy is a high school freshman from Hillsborough, California, and the recipient of the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS $10,000 Robert Wood