Young Entrepreneurs … Gifted and Giving

Imagine conducting research with major medical implications at age 17.

That’s not so unusual among the ranks of Center for Talent Development (CTD) students. We’re constantly impressed by the ingenuity and insight our program participants demonstrate.  In addition to blazing new trails and contributing to a better tomorrow for everyone, young entrepreneurs are building the groundwork for future careers filled with promise, challenge and reward.

How does one earn a grant for science research or successfully market a new eco-friendly invention before graduating high school?  At the CTD Opportunities for the Future family conference, Saturday June 23, at Northwestern University, several young innovators will address those questions.  A panel comprised of CTD participants all under age 18 will describe their impressive projects and the path that led them to early success.

Meet Siddhartha Jena, a high school senior from Michigan named a 2012 Davidson Institute Fellow and awarded a $25,000 scholarship. He spent three years studying the effect of lipid disorder: excess cholesterol on red blood cells impairing their ability to transport water, oxygen and carbon dioxide.

“My results suggest that in the future scientists could find preventive therapies to cholesterol-associated cardiovascular disease based on this newfound knowledge,” says Siddhartha. “I even found two novel possible candidates for cardiovascular drugs based on my studies.”

To read Siddartha’s description of his research visit

Adam Kalinich, a Finalist in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search researched two-player mathematical games involving a partially ordered set called a poset.

“I love the thinking part the most, where you’re puzzling about ‘How does this fit in what I know? How can I make this work?” Adam told the Chicago Tribune.

Adam’s paper “Flipping the Winner of a Poset Game,” written with counsel from Lance Fortnow, a professor in Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, was published in the journal Information Processing Letters.

Jonny Cohen invented GreenShields, a project to make school buses more aerodynamic and won a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant. His sister Daniella co-manages a project called G.I.V.E. (Go Innovate Volunteer & Educate), which connects students in the United States with orphans at a school in Bangalore, India through letters and online video chats—and she’s in grade 8.

It’s never too young to start thinking and achieving big!

Entrepreneurs: Kids Inventing Fabulous Stuff,” is just one of many stimulating sessions for gifted students grades 4 – 12, parents and educators to be offered at CTD’s 2012 Opportunities for the Future Conference.  For complete information about this unique family event visit

Do you know a young person who has achieved inspiring success?  What factors contributed to their accomplishment?

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