Twenty-two bright young people named as 2012 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be accomplished by U.S. students who are given opportunities to excel. One of these gifted students is Canyon Crest Academy student Vaishnavi Rao, 17, who won a $10,000 scholarship.
Vaishnavi’s science project, “Activity-dependent Regulation of Nitric Oxide Expression: Novel Form of Neurotransmitter Plasticity,” examines the role of nitric oxide in physiological functions including sleep, feeding, memory, vision, olfactory regulation and sensorimotor integration. Imbalances in levels of nitric oxide are implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurological disorders including stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Vaishnavi’s findings suggest that nitric oxide levels can be regulated through alterations in electrical activity, ultimately restoring homeostasis.
Her work could aid in the restoration of normal functioning people with neurological disorders. Vaishnavi is a senior at Canyon Crest Academy and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have created significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided nearly $5 million in scholarship funds to 206 Fellows since its inception in 2001, and has been named one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships by U.S. News & World Report. It is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth.
“The Davidson Institute is built on the belief that individuals, who have extraordinary intelligence and talents, when encouraged and supported, can improve the quality of life for us all,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “We are delighted to recognize a group of resourceful and distinguished young people for their fascinating projects – projects that have the potential to benefit society.”
The 2012 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3.
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