Arts & Entertainment

Watchung Hills Graduate Michael Parsons Named Davidson Fellow

2014 Watchung Hills graduate named a Davidson Fellow Credits:
RENO, NV - Twenty bright young people named as 2014 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be accomplished by U.S. students who are given opportunities to excel.  Class of 2014 Watchung Hills graduate Michael Parsons has been named one of the twenty.
Parsons is a young composer who is frequently confronted with the question of his role as a creator of classical music in the 21st century. He received a $10,000 scholarship for his music composition, “Composition as Architecture,” which explores the process of creating organic and internally logical music through five compositions in different styles and genres. Through this, Parsons hopes to show the importance of development and inevitability in music, and to ultimately use these tools to find his own artistic voice.  Through a combination of carefully thought-out writing and following his instincts, he hopes to inspire and engage audiences with his music.  
Parsons is a 2014 graduate of Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, NJ and began his undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School this fall where he is majoring in music composition.
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, engineering, mathematics, literature, philosophy, music and outside the box.  The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided more than $5.8 million in scholarship funds to 246 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 this group of resourceful and distinguished young people for their fascinating projects – projects that have the potential to benefit society.”
The 2014 Davidson Fellows were honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on September 26.
Producing highly-qualified professionals, including scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs is critical to economic development in the United States. Public discourse on our nation’s competitiveness tends to focus on the needs of low-performing students. As important to our country’s future success are the most capable of students, such as the 2014 Davidson Fellows, who are reaching high levels of academic and innovative excellence, and are strong examples of what students can achieve with the proper support.
About the Davidson Institute
Founded by Bob and Jan Davidson in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development recognizes, nurtures and supports profoundly intelligent young people, and provides opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference. The Institute offers support through a number of programs and services, including the Davidson Fellows and The Davidson Academy of Nevada. For more information about the 2014 Davidson Fellows, please visit
2014 Davidson Fellow Laureates
$50,000 Scholarships
• Mr. Ravi Jagadeesan, 18, Naperville, Ill.; A New Galois Invariant of Dessins d’Enfants
• Miss Sara Kornfeld Simpson, 17, San Diego; Neuronal Nonlinear Dynamics: From an Optical Illusion to Parkinson’s Disease
• Mr. Ray Ushikubo, 13, Riverside, Calif.; Circle of Life in Music
• Miss Alice Zhai, 16, La Canada, Calif.; Dependency of U.S. Hurricane Loss on Maximum Wind Speed and Storm Size
2014 Davidson Fellows
$25,000 Scholarships
• Mr. Eric Chen, 18, San Diego; Computer-Aided Discovery of Novel Anti-Flu Drug Candidates to Fight Pandemics
• Mr. Neil Davey, 18, Gaithersburg, Md.; Early Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Through the Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Drop-Based Microfluidics
• Miss Valerie Ding, 17, Portland, Ore.; Novel Next-Generation Multijunction Quantum Dot Solar Panel Designs Using Monte Carlo Based Modeling
• Miss Alexandra LaGrassa, 17, Douglastown, N.Y.; Using Ligands to Control the Growth of Cadmium Selenide Clusters
• Mr. Ritesh Ragavender, 17, Kendall Park, N.J.; Odd Dunkl Operators and nilHecke Algebras
• Mr. Kenneth Shinozuka, 15, New York; Wearable Sensors: A Novel Healthcare Solution for the Aging Society
• Miss Elana Simon, 18, New York; New Diagnostics and Therapeutics for a Pediatric Liver Cancer: Transcriptome and Whole Genome Sequencing Reveals Oncogenes and Novel Chimeric Protein Kinase in Ten out of Ten Patients
• Miss Emily Wang, 18, Palo Alto, Calif.; Illuminating Disease Pathways: Developing Bright Fluorescent Proteins to Improve FRET Biosensing 
$10,000 Scholarships
• Miss Sofia Bramante, 17, Fairfield, Conn.; Fabrication of a Flexible, Tunable Color Changing Skin Using Magnetically Responsive Fe304 Photonic Crystal Structures
• Miss Isabel DeBre, 17, Los Angeles; The Problem of Representation: Refugee Trauma in Postcolonial African Fiction
• Miss Smriti Kanangat, 17, Hinsdale, Ill.; Detection of Soluble Human Histocompatibility Antigens (HLA) in Circulation-Potential Biomarkers for Early Detection of Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC)
• Miss Tuong-Phi Le, 18, Houston; Shadow and Song: Revitalizing the Expatriate Vietnamese Identity Through Mythological Media
• Mr. Kevin Lee, 17, Irvine, Calif.; Strongly Coupled Electromechanical Modeling of the Heart in Moving Domains Using the Phase-Field Method
• Mr. Michael Parsons, 18, Long Hill, N.J.; Composition as Architecture
• Mr. Josh Wolf, 18, Elk River, Minn.; Shocking Lipid Production: Oil Extraction by Novel Electrical Stimulation of Botryococcus braunii
• Miss Romi Yount, 16, San Francisco; Music without Borders: Transcending Cultural and Temporal Boundaries Through Guzheng Performance

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