Young scientist awarded $10,000 scholarship

By: Amanda Drew
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One of El Dorado Hills’ own will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national non-profit organization stationed in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth. Divya Nag, 17, of El Dorado Hills, will be honored as a 2008 Davidson Fellow for developing a universal method for determining organic matter loss during and after a wildfire. “It feels absolutely amazing,” Nag said of her scholarship. “When we got the letter in the mail, it took 30 minutes for us to believe it.” Throughout her research project, Nag spent a total of 40 hours a week during summer and 20 hours a week during the school year in the thermochemistry laboratory at University of California Davis. “The development I was able to make was the creation of technology to analyze soil samples and also the creation of a ratio, which tells you how much organic material is left in the soil,” said Nag, of her more than 20-page science report. A total of 20 students across the United States under the age of 18 are being awarded $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 scholarships for a wide variety of advanced scientific research. Some of their projects include the invention of a new type of solar panel, an HIV treatment, and technology to more effectively treat breast cancer. “Each year the breadth and depth of Fellows’ accomplishments overwhelm us,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “With nurturing, gifted students will be among those who will solve the world’s most vexing problems, now and in the future.” Nag, who lives at her El Dorado Hills home with her parents and two younger brothers, has big plans for her future. “I hope to get into an Ivy League college to continue my research,” she said. “I plan to become a doctor or a scientist.” And college is something the 17-year-old is used to. In eighth grade, Nag was the youngest student to ever be admitted to Folsom Lake Community College, where she took advanced math classes. Nag has since taken summer geosciences courses at Stanford University and earth science courses at Sacramento State University. This fall, Nag will be a senior in Mira Loma High School’s International Baccalaureate program. “She’s been a pleasure to work with and her project is really interesting,” said Tacie Moessner, Davidson Fellow program manager. “She has a great personality and sense of humor and seems to be very humble about all of it.”