2 science and music students win awards


POSTED: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two 17-year-old Hawaii students are among 19 gifted youths named as 2009 Davidson Fellows in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in music and science.

Harp virtuoso Melody Rose Lindsay of Honolulu received a $50,000 scholarship—one of three awarded—for a portfolio, “;Harping Around the World: Cultural Leadership for the 21st Century.”;

Nolan Kamitaki of Hilo received a $25,000 scholarship for a science project, “;Programming a Network Approach to Contain the Spread of Epidemic.”;

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a national nonprofit organization based in Reno, Nev., that supports “;profoundly gifted youth.”;

The 19 Fellows, all under age 18, “;exemplify the extraordinary work that can be achieved by students who are given opportunities to excel in the United States,”; the institute said in announcing the awards.

Lindsay just graduated from Iolani School and is going to Princeton University in the fall. She plans to major in chemical engineering.

“;I'm also interested in music, economics and astronomy,”; she said in an interview, “;so anything can happen.”;

She performs in churches, nursing homes and schools, “;basically all over, wherever anyone will hear me play.”; She said she would like to inspire children of all backgrounds “;to experience the harp and classical music in a personal way.”;

Lindsay made a world radio debut on Public Radio International's show “;From the Top,”; and is cultural ambassador for the program. She won international accolades as America's representative to World Harp Congresses in Dublin, Ireland, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Lindsay received many awards, prizes and scholarships and was the youngest student accepted into the preparatory harp program at Indiana University's School of Music.

Kamitaki, a Waiakea High School senior, recently returned from a six-week internship for a select group of science and engineering high school students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Research Science Institute program.

In a project for the Davidson Institute, he designed a computer simulation to determine how viral characteristics and medical supply distribution patterns affect an epidemic's spread across a social network.

Fascinated with natural phenomena and mathematics, Kamitaki began engaging in science- and math- based classes and hobbies in the seventh grade. He has won many district, state and international science fair awards, as well as mathematics competitions and Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability awards.

In 2006 he was the Discovery Channel's Young Scientist of the Year and won a $20,000 scholarship.

He was a U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad state qualifier the past two years and a Biology Olympiad semifinalist last year. He also was a 2009 National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium Medicine and Health Run-off Qualifier.

He is captain of his school's math league team and was previously captain of his school's Hawaii State Math Bowl team. He has been a member of the science bowl team for three years and captain for two.

He participated in Japan's International Micro Robot Maze Contest and a national Botball competition combining robotics with science, technology and math.

But he isn't all about science: He also has played the piano for 12 years and the clarinet in the school band for six years.

He plans to pursue a medical or science degree for a career combining biological processes and computer sciences.

An award reception will be held for the students Sept. 30 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.


Melody Rose Lindsay will present a free concert Aug. 23 titled “;Harping Through the Ages, from Ancient Themes to Alternative Rock”; in appreciation of the public support of her music.

She will perform a variety of solo harp pieces from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Kaimuki Christian Church, 1117 Koko Head Ave. Special guests will be Aileen Kawakami, flute, and Christopher Lindsay, narrator and flute.