Two Clarksburg High School students, one from Germantown and one from Clarksburg, have been named 2016 The Davidson Institute of Talent Development Fellows and each had received a scholarship.
Anurudh Ganesan, of Clarksburg, won a $25,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his project, VAXXWAGON: An Innovative Eco-Friendly "No Ice, No Electric" Active Refrigeration System for Last-Leg Vaccine Transportation. He is one of only 20 students from across the country to receive this honor.
While Christopher Huh, 17, of Germantown won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his portfolio, History's Lessons. Again, he is one of only 20 students from across the country to receive this honor.
The 16-year-old Ganesan, calls his system VAXXWAGON, a refrigeration system that keeps vaccines cool at 2-8° Celsius without electricity. Instead, it uses mechanical energy that can maintain the proper temperature while being towed behind someone on foot, on bike, or horseback.
“It is a culmination of countless hours of hard work and self-discipline with my project that allowed me to be considered, and ultimately accepted as a Davidson Fellow,” said Anurudh Ganesan. “This honor will continue to motivate me to work on VAXXWAGON to one day soon, save lives.” Since life-saving vaccines often do not last long enough to reach remote clinics and villages, Ganesan was inspired to design a last-leg transport system for vaccines.
Ganesan has a vested personal interest in his project as well. When he was an infant, his grandparents carried him 10 miles to a remote clinic in Southern India in order to get him vaccinated. When they arrived, the vaccines were useless due to the lack of safe refrigeration and high temperatures.
Fifteen years later, Ganesan discovered this is still a serious problem and decided to take matters into his own hands to find a solution. In addition to his love of physics and mechanics, Ganesan enjoys playing tennis and hanging out with friends. He plays the piano and volunteers for TeamSaij.org, a nonprofit that raises money and awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Ganesan is a rising senior at Clarksburg High School.
Anurudh’s ultimate goal is to see VAXXWAGON in the field actively saving lives. VAXXWAGON can do much more than safely store and transport vaccines. It can reduce the burden on many remote villages that need the scarce resources often used for last-leg vaccine transportation such as water and electricity. VAXXWAGON is a social equalizer. No matter what age, race, or gender, viable vaccines can save lives. It can help lead to peace by reducing the burden on national healthcare systems and save lives. For Anurudh, VAXXWAGON is a success when it saves one life.
He plans to major in business and finance after high school and continue his focus in mechanical engineering and computer science. His ultimate goal is to see VAXXWAGON in the field actively saving lives.
Christopher Huh, a 17-year-old who will also be starting his senior year as a Coyote, has been recognized for his work as a graphic novelist. “I am honored to be the first graphic novelist to receive the Davidson Fellows Scholarship,” said Huh. “I plan to continue my ongoing research on world history to produce more projects that can bring people together.”
Huh’s portfolio includes a full-length historical fiction graphic novel titled Keeping My Hope. In it, a grandfather recounts his tragically captivating story of living through the Holocaust and World War II to his granddaughter. Huh’s inspiration for the story came in the seventh grade when a Holocaust expert spoke to his class. Fascinated as Huh was, he noticed others in his class were bored, and felt compelled to engage students with the important piece of history in a way that captured their attention. His graphic novel, published on February 18, 2013, was researched and written while Christopher was in middle school.
"History is a major part of what makes us human,” said Huh. “Without it, we as a species would not be able to look into the past. More importantly we would not be able to learn from our mistakes. I have high hopes that someday books can provide valuable lessons for people to learn and STILL be entertaining pieces of literature.”
In addition to his love of history and writing, he also enjoys playing the viola and the piano, as well as composing his own music. Keeping My Hope was nominated for the Sophie Brody Award and translated into Korean as well as published in South Korea. Huh hopes to continue his studies in historical analysis.
“We are thrilled to recognize the 2016 Davidson Fellows not only for their incredible projects but also for the journey they forged to reach this point,” said Bob Davidson, founder of the Davidson Institute. “Every year I am amazed by the depth of the Fellows’ accomplishments. Through encouragement and recognition, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development anticipates that gifted students like these will be among the pioneers who will solve the world’s most vexing problems.”
Both students will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on September 21. 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.
Top: Anurudh Ganesan and Christopher Huh are both rising seniors at Clarksburg High School who have been named 2016 Davidson Fellows.
Next: Ganesan invented the VAXXWAGON, a refrigeration system that keeps vaccines cool at 2-8° Celsius using mechanical energy while being towed behind someone on foot, on bike, or horseback.
Next: Ganesan’s VAXXWAGON can reduce the burden on many remote villages that need the scarce resources often used for last-leg vaccine transportation such as water and electricity, while maintaining the vaccine at the proper temperature.
Next: Christopher Huh’s graphic novel Keeping My Hope has been published in English and Korean is available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Next: Huh hopes that by using the medium of the graphic novel he can make history entertaining while still teaching valuable lessons to the reader.
Photos courtesy Davidson Institute.