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Press Releases

Child Mind Institute Hosts 2020 Virtual on the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium and Announces Rising Scientist Scholarships

October 5, 2020

New York, NY – The Child Mind Institute will virtually host its 10th annual On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium with a powerful roundtable discussion on Tuesday, October 6 from 5 – 8p.m. EST. In addition, five high school students from across the U.S. will be recognized for demonstrating exceptional promise in science during the 9th Annual Rising Scientist Awards.

On the Shoulders of Giants will include a presentation from the 2020 Child Mind Institute Sarah Gund Prize recipient W. Thomas Boyce, MD, whose work focuses on the impact of socioeconomic factors and early life experiences on child physical and mental health. Following the presentation, a roundtable, moderated by NIDA Director Nora Volkow, will explore the impact issues of racism and inequality on children’s mental health, as well as on the future of training in the field. Previous Distinguished Scientist honorees will make up the panel, including:

● Felton “Tony” Earls, Professor of Social Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School

● Tom Insel, Co-founder and President of Mindstrong Health

● Kenneth A. Dodge, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University

● Xavier Castellanos M.D., Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at the NYU Langone Medical Center

● Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Director of the Mount Sinai Addiction Institute

● Jerome Kagan, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Harvard University

● John Weisz, PhD., Psychology Professor at Harvard University

“It is more important than ever to bring awareness to the racial injustice and health disparities when treating adolescent mental health,” said Child Mind Institute President Harold S. Koplewicz, MD. “By hosting our On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium and honoring this impressive and accomplished group of Rising Scientists, we hope to inspire the next generation of changemakers who will advance our understanding of mental health and learning disorders and develop new solutions to help the 1 in 5 children who are struggling every day.”

The 2020 Rising Scientists join 56 prior award winners who have gone on to study at some of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions. Each recipient will receive a $2,000 college scholarship. This year’s winners are:

● Reed Lessing, The Chapin School, New York, NY

● Huong Nguyen, Leesville Road High, Raleigh, NC

● Ethan Ocasio, The New School of Northern Virginia, Fairfax, VA

● Nikita Rohila, Stuttgart High School, Stuttgart, AR

● Julia Savino, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, NY

The annual Rising Scientist Awards were designed to encourage young researchers’ academic pursuits and introduce them to the scientific community. Each spring, the Child Mind Institute – in partnership with Hunter College – invites high schools across the nation to nominate one exemplary 11th grade science student candidate for this honor. The nomination is based on outstanding achievement and interest in mental health, neuroscience research, or biomedical engineering and a commitment to understanding and addressing difficult scientific questions, as evidenced by special projects, presentations and/or publications.

For more information and to register, please visit:

About the Child Mind Institute

The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain, and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most. Together with our supporters, we’re helping children reach their full potential in school and in life. We share all of our resources freely and do not accept any funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more at