[Congressional Record Volume 156, Number 126 (Monday, September 20, 2010)]
[Pages S7200-S7202]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, today, I have the distinct pleasure of 
recognizing before the Senate some of the most talented and brightest 
young people in the United States. The 2010 Davidson Fellows Award is 
being given to 20 young students who are under the age of 18 and have 
already demonstrated superior ability and achievement in the areas 
science, music, literature, mathematics, and technology. I would like 
to take this time to recognize each of these extraordinary young 
individuals and their projects.
  In the area of science, we have 12 young students with remarkable 
projects that have contributed to scientific progress. This includes 
Kyle Loh, a 16-year-old young man from Piscataway, NJ, who conducted 
screening of chemical libraries and identified compounds that can help 
convert human and mouse skin cells into pluripotent stem cells. 
Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into many 
different cell types. The chemical compounds he identified obviate the 
need to destroy embryos. Kyle's studies advance regenerative medicine 
and provide insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie the 
conversion of skin cells into pluripotent stem cells.
  Jonathan Rajaseelan, a 17-year-old young man from Millersville, PA, 
synthesized six new chemical carbene complexes of the metal Rhodium. 
Rhodium complexes act as catalysts in multiple organic synthesis 
reactions, including the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and 
industrial chemicals. The catalytic effects of his complexes make these 
processes safer, inexpensive, and less

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environmentally hazardous by eliminating the need for large quantities 
of hydrogen gas, a dangerous explosive. Jonathan's work has the 
potential to contribute to greener methods of making medicines, 
pharmaceuticals, and other chemical products.
  Eric Brooks, a 16-year-old young man from Hewlett, NY, studied the 
genetic factors affecting metastatic progression of prostate cancer. 
Approximately 30 percent of men with prostate cancer will die from it, 
but it is difficult to predict who will get the metastatic diagnosis. 
Eric developed models based on evolutionary selection to identify genes 
that may affect metastatic potential either positively or negatively. 
His observations may be used to design better clinical predictors to 
indicate who must undergo painful treatment and for whom the treatment 
is unnecessary.
  Meredith Lehmann, a 14-year-old young woman from La Jolla, CA, 
researched the spread of epidemics. Using trip data from all 3,076 
counties in the continental United States, she found long distance auto 
travel, which accounts for five times as many passenger-miles as air 
travel, governs simulated epidemic evolution. Large hub airports near 
population centers are not disproportionately more important in 
contrast to existing research. Meredith's findings suggest epidemic 
models should incorporate automobile and air travel data, but 
transportation network restrictions are unlikely to be effective.
  Laurie Rumker, a 17-year-old young woman from Portland, OR, 
investigated the susceptibility of organoclay to biodegradation by 
microorganisms within river sediments. Organoclay is a chemically 
modified clay material used to prevent hydrophobic pollutants from 
rising into the water ecosystem. Through spectrophotometric analyses 
and oxygen uptake tests, Laurie found biodegradation of the chemical 
structures within organoclay which could impair the ability of the 
organoclay to adsorb and retain pollutants. Laurie's work has important 
implications for the treatment of contaminated sediments.
  Benjamin Song, a 16-year-old young man from Audubon, PA, researched 
colon cancer biomarkers in urine. Colon cancer is the second leading 
cause of cancer death in the United States, even with the sensitive but 
invasive colonoscopy. Benjamin designed and tested polymerase chain 
reaction assays targeting a known colon cancer epigenetic marker. His 
work shows potential for a urine test for colon cancer that is 
noninvasive, fast, affordable, and sensitive. In addition, his method 
could be adapted to virtually any cancers with known DNA alterations.
  Merry Sun, a 16-year-old young woman from Chappaqua, NY, studied 
therapeutic ultrasound's potential in treating recurrent and metastatic 
cancers. Traditional therapies like radiation, chemotherapy, and 
surgical resection are ineffective in immune responses against tumor 
cells. Merry found that therapeutic ultrasound causes stress and light 
damage to tumor cells, which alerts the immune system to respond and 
target the tumor. Her results demonstrate the possibility of a novel, 
non-invasive, non-toxic cancer therapy that treats solid tumors as well 
as systemic metastases.
  James Ting, a 17-year-old young man from Holmdel, NJ, synthesized 
bismuth nanowires which demonstrate quantum confinement, the reduction 
of electrons to a one-dimensional axis. By using physical vapor 
deposition, he created lawns of bismuth nanowires as well as isolating 
single nanowires to add to silicon chips. James' research focuses on 
the creation of single electron transistors, which are useful in the 
new field of spintronics. The spins of these electrons could then be 
harnessed and used for information storage and act as the building 
blocks for quantum computers.
  Scott Boisvert, a 16-year-old young man from Chandler, AZ, 
demonstrated a link between amphibian aquatic environments and the 
growth of pathogenic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has 
contributed to the loss of over 32 percent of amphibian species 
worldwide. Using ion chromatography and ion-coupled plasma 
spectrometry, Scott studied how the water chemistry of a habitat 
affects the growth of the microorganism. Scott's project has broad 
implications for understanding the pathogen's propensity to infect an 
amphibian host and controlling the spread of infection, benefiting 
conservation efforts.
  Janie Gu, a 16-year-old young woman from Morganville, NJ, researched 
noise reduction of atomic magnetometer systems, advanced devices that 
measure magnetic fields with extreme precision. To increase the signal-
to-noise ratio, she tested the loss factors, such as measurements of 
magnetic noise produced, of various ferromagnetic materials for use in 
the magnetic shield around the system, improving the precision by more 
than 44 percent. Janie's work has applications in the military, 
medicine, information storage, mineral and oil detection, space 
exploration and fundamental physics experiments.
  Rebecca Jolitz, a 15-year-old young woman from Los Gatos, CA, 
examined whether hypolithic cyanobacteria, a photosynthetic organism 
found under rocks in climatically extreme environments, could 
theoretically have enough sunlight to survive on Mars. Using an 
original computer program that simulated a million individual beams of 
sunlight hitting a Martian rock, Rebecca found that there was enough 
light for cyanobacteria to survive on Mars, indicating that Mars may 
not be a dead world. Rebecca's research could help to discover the 
means through which life on Mars may exist.
  Sahil Khetpal, a 17-year-old young man from Plano, TX, developed a 
carbon nanotube-based drug-delivery system for tumor targeted 
chemotherapy and photo-therapy of cancer, a dual therapy. This 
versatile platform attacks tumors on two fronts and mitigates the 
severe side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy. He also 
investigated a gadonanotube for the development of a new drug delivery 
system. Sahil's system has the potential to both diagnose cancer at an 
earlier stage and provide the dual therapy mechanism to efficiently 
combat it.
  In the area of music, there are two talented young musicians that 
have produced significant contributions to the art of music. Yeeren 
Low, a 13-year-old young man from East Stroudsburg, PA, explored and 
experimented with sound in various aspects of music through five 
compositions. In his portfolio, Art of Sound, his goal is to enrich the 
body of the contemporary classical music genre, and create new musical 
expressions and listening experiences. Yeeren is particularly 
interested in promoting greater awareness and exposure to the richness 
of the classical music genre, thus contributing to its wider 
recognition, appreciation and overall advancement.
  Kevin Hu, a 16-year-old young man from Naperville, IL, traverses the 
globe and explores cross-sections of humanity in his violin portfolio, 
Sociomusicology: Exploring and Sharing the Worlds of Music. His 
portfolio includes selections of music that, at times, were repressed 
by political regimes, or conversely, celebrated for their heartbreaking 
beauty, all while representing an array of raw humanity. Kevin's goal 
is to present music as a tangible and dynamic tool in human healing, 
self-discovery, and dignity.
  In the area of literature, we have one creative and inspired student, 
John Michael Colon, a 17-year-old young man from Wayside, NJ. John's 
portfolio, Art as Empathy: A Study of the Syncretic Potential of 
Literature, demonstrates the utility of literature and art in society. 
He writes that although human beings want to communicate their 
fundamental experience, this worldview is too ineffable to express 
directly; art and literature articulate this on a visceral level. John 
Michael proposes through art and literature, the expression of ideas 
can help tame the tendency to dehumanize others by helping us see their 
ideas the same way we see ours, inspiring empathy.
  We have two bright young individuals whose projects have advanced the 
field of mathematics. Damien Jiang, a 17-year-old young man from 
Raleigh, NC, studied the parallel chip-firing game, PCFG. Though not a 
game, the PCFG is played on a graph, or network of nodes and edges, and 
is closely related to a variety of mathematical models for complex 
phenomena such as earthquakes, avalanches, and forest fires. By running 
computer simulations of randomized PCFGs, Damien studied their tendency 
to reach a cycle of repeating configurations, and mathematically proved 
a theorem about its

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behavior on a graph. Damien's work has broad applications in disaster 
  Jonathan Li, a 17-year-old young man from Laguna Niguel, CA, 
developed a mathematical model and computer simulation to analyze tumor 
growth and is the first to study motility and contact inhibition, a 
mechanism that limits cell growth when pressured by neighboring cells. 
His research also revealed an inherent flaw of the Cellular Potts 
Model, used to simulate cellular structure behavior. Jonathan's work 
provides a method to predict the effects of motility on tumor 
development and can be used to identify cancer phenotypes that 
chemotherapy drugs can target, potentially improving treatment.
  Finally, in the area of technology, we honor three innovative young 
minds. Anna Kornfeld Simpson, a 17-year-old young woman from San Diego, 
CA, developed a chemical-detecting robot. She used porous silicon, a 
material that changes color in the presence of chemicals like alcohols 
or nerve gas, and simple, low-cost circuit elements to detect color 
change. The robotic microcomputer then ``sees'' the chemical instead of 
``smelling'' it. Prototypes had a 100 percent response rate. Anna's 
work has applications in security and counterterrorism, monitoring 
industrial settings for toxins, and exploring locations too hazardous 
for humans.
  Alexander Gilbert, a 16-year-old young man from McLean, VA, developed 
a computer algorithm which improves contrast in magnetic resonance 
imaging, MRI. His program has been successfully applied to brain MRI 
images, enabling more accurate image definition of tissues, such as 
areas of demyelination, or plaques, which are often present in patients 
with multiple sclerosis. Alexander's work is pertinent to MRIs of the 
spine and other areas, and offers the potential for better diagnosis 
and monitoring of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases 
including Alzheimer's disease.
  Gavin Ovsak, a 16-year-old young man from Hopkins, MN, designed a 
device to allow disabled individuals more effective access to 
computers. His project, known as CHAD, circuit head accessibility 
device, is a circuit board integrated onto a baseball hat to replace 
the functions of a computer mouse through head movements and a bite 
sensor. Gavin's work is less expensive, more efficient, and uses fewer 
complex software interfaces than are currently available in the 
assistive technology market, equalizing access to the social, 
occupational, and global significance of the Internet.
  I often say that America's gifted and talented students possess 
remarkable potential. These 20 young individuals have demonstrated more 
than potential. They have already made significant contributions to our 
society in their short lives and one can scarcely begin to imagine how 
much they will contribute to society throughout their lives, thanks in 
no small part to the encouragement of the Davidson Institute as well as 
their parents and mentors. They are an inspiration and a reminder that 
if we fully support our most talented young people, we can look forward 
to a bright future.