Gifted Teens Receive National Scholarships For Groundbreaking MedTech Research

  • Natasha Maniar to be awarded $50,000 as a 2019 Davidson Fellow Scholarship Winner,
  • Neeyanth Kopparapu, Isha Puri to each be awarded $25,000 as 2019 Davidson Fellow Scholarship Winners, and
  • Hiba Hussain, Anna Quinlan to each be awarded $10,000 as 2019 Davidson Fellow Scholarship Winners

Reno, Nev. – The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has announced the 2019 Davidson Fellows Scholarship winners. Among the honorees are Natasha Maniar, 17, of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Neeyanth Kopparapu,17, of Herndon, Va.; Isha Puri, 18, of Chappaqua, N.Y.; Hiba Hussain, 16, of Old Greenwich, Conn.; and Anna Quinlan, 18, of Ossining, Calif. Only 20 students across the country are recognized as scholarship winners each year.

“As an avid computer science enthusiast, I’m passionate about the applications of computer science to healthcare,” said Maniar. “I’m extremely grateful and honored to be named a Davidson Fellow. I’ve always looked up to previous Davidson scholars, and it’s immensely gratifying to be recognized for my work. I’m excited to join the Davidson Fellows community among many inspiring people.”

Maniar developed a computational approach to identify sources of atrial fibrillation (AF). Despite affecting more than 33 million people worldwide, diagnostic imaging of electrical conduction through the heart remains relatively subjective and continues to rely heavily on visual interpretation by experts. Her code identified the AF sources inside the heart with greater accuracy than trained experts.

Kopparapu’s project presents the first automatic diagnosis system for early-stage Parkinson's disease from an MRI scan with a 96.6 percent accuracy. Kopparapu was driven to tackle this problem after his grandfather was given a late diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease and is now unable to use common medication to treat the disease.

Puri’s project developed a novel combination of different machine learning algorithms to produce a highly accurate eye tracking method. Using a computer’s standard webcam, Puri’s application can predict if a child has a higher risk of dyslexia with a 90.18 percent accuracy. Dyslexia is the world’s most common neurological learning disability, affecting one in every 10 people worldwide, so an early diagnosis can significantly reduce learning difficulties later in life.

Hussain’s system detects Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) breath biomarkers using Near Field Communication technology (that is most notably used in Apple Pay) in conjunction with a smartphone application. The application is able to provide results in a matter of minutes, costs less than $2 and utilizes existing technologies to find a better solution for COPD disease detection. Her work could help diagnose COPD rapidly and effectively, before the condition transforms into a more severe illness like lung cancer. Her application also has potential uses in developing or underdeveloped countries where sophisticated medical equipment is unavailable or extremely expensive.

Quinlan’s project, “A Closed Loop Insulin Pump for the Better Management of Types 1 and 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” is built with low-cost 3D-printed components, allowing for lower production costs and greater accessibility for the more than 415 million people who live with diabetes worldwide.

“We are proud to announce the 2019 Davidson Fellows Scholarship recipients and applaud them for their hard work and achievement in their fields of study,” said Bob Davidson, founder of the Davidson Institute. “By being awarded this recognition, these students have shown immense skill and work ethic, and they should be commended as they continue their educational and research journeys while continuing to work to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems.”

The 2019 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 27, 2019.

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have completed significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature and music. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided more than $7.5 million in scholarship funds to more than 300 students 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.

About the Davidson Institute
Founded by Bob 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 Scholarship and the Davidson Academy of Nevada. For more information about the 2019 Davidson Fellows, please visit

Back to news