Bennett sophomore wins $10,000 scholarship

Using the Chesapeake Bay as a study site, Marvin Li of James M. Bennett High School used advanced machine learning tools to develop a new algorithm for satellite remote sensing of coastal waters. Satellite remote sensing can also be used to detect and monitor harmful algal blooms in estuaries and coastal waters and can monitor water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay using satellite remote sensing.

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has announced the 2018 Davidson Fellows. Among the honorees is 15-year-old Marvin Li of Salisbury.

Li won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his project, “A Support Vector Machine for Satellite Remote Sending of Optically Complex Coastal Waters.”

He is one of only 20 students across the country to receive this honor.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be named a Davidson Fellow, said Li. “This fellowship encourages me to continue to pursue the challenging problems we’re facing in environmental science.”

Humans are concentrated in the coastal zone; three-quarters of the global population lives within 50 km of the sea and 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of the sea. Sound management of the coastal zone requires comprehensive and constant monitoring of the water quality and ecosystem productivity in coastal waters.

Using the Chesapeake Bay as a study site, Li used advanced machine learning tools to develop a new algorithm for satellite remote sensing of coastal waters. Satellite remote sensing can also be used to detect and monitor harmful algal blooms in estuaries and coastal waters and can monitor water clarity in the Chesapeake Bay using satellite remote sensing.

With further testing and validation, the algorithm can be applied to coastal waters worldwide.

Li, a rising sophomore at James M. Bennett High School, hopes to major in computer science and minor in environmental science. Aside from his passion for all things related to science, Li is an avid fencer and pianist.

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2018 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,” he said.

The 2018 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 28.

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.

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.

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