Rising Scientist Awards

Each year, college scholarships are awarded to five high school students who show exceptional promise in research in the fields of mental health, neuroscience or biomedical engineering. Read the guidelines below for eligibility.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s program is currently on hold and postponed until further notice.

The Rising Scientist Awards, presented in partnership with Hunter College, are given annually to outstanding high school students in the New York Tri-State Area who show exceptional promise in research in the fields of mental health, neuroscience or biomedical engineering. The Child Mind Institute invites high schools to nominate 11th-grade candidates for this honor. Awards are presented in the fall, as winners enter their senior year, at our annual On the Shoulders of Giants scientific symposium.

To be selected for the Rising Scientist Awards a student must demonstrate:

  • Outstanding achievement and interest in mental health research, neuroscience or biomedical engineering, as evidenced by strong academic performance in science courses, participation in related extracurricular activities, and scientific research studies or independent research.

Each Rising Scientist will receive:

  • A $2,000 scholarship for college expenses
  • An invitation for student winners, their parents and their faculty sponsors to be honored at the Child Mind Institute’s On the Shoulders of Giants, an annual scientific symposium attended by world-class researchers, children’s mental health care experts and people interested in revolutionizing our understanding of brain science. Winners will be invited to share their research at a poster session at the symposium.
  • Winners will also be celebrated at an awards ceremony following the symposium, which is attended by VIP guests, including the Child Mind Institute’s Sarah Gund Distinguished Scientist. Past Distinguished Scientists include Nora Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Thomas Insel, MD, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • Winners will be invited to shadow a scientist for a day and to a special “lunch and learn” brain science session at the Child Mind Institute
  • Winners will be recognized in press releases distributed to national media outlets, on childmind.org and in social media promotion.

The nomination period for the 2020 program runs April 1 through June 26, 2020. For more information about the program or nomination guidelines, see the Frequently Asked Questions page or email risingscientists@childmind.org.

Past Winners of Rising Scientist Awards, 2012-2019


2019 Winners

Jacqueline Chan, Livingston High School
David Frank, Bellmore John F Kennedy High School
Gillian Gold, Ardsley High School
Abhinav Kumar, Rye Country Day School
Elizabeth Yaboni, Smithtown High School West

2018 Winners

Ellen Amico, Byram Hills High School
Julia Morneau, Wilton High School
James Rogers, Smithtown High School West
Arsam Shaikh, High School for Youth and Community Development
John Sukumar, Ossining High School

2017 Winners

Sarah Adamo, Smithtown High School West
Zara Malik, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
Hawthorne Ripley, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Amy Shteyman, John L. Miller Great Neck North High School
Kylie Zarro, Ossining High School

2016 Winners

Max Bazil, John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore
Cosette Davis, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
Rachel Goldman, Ardsley Union Free School District
Claire Kelly, John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore
Lauren Singer, Scarsdale High School
Caitlin Unkenholz, Smithtown High School West

2015 Winners

Remi Golden, George W. Hewlet High School
Rachel Mashal, John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore
Morgan Robins, Hewitt School
Emily Ryeome, The Chapin School
Anna Vaynrub, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School

2014 Winners

Tynan Couture-Rashid, St. Ann’s School
Matthew Guido, River Dell Regional High School
Alexandra Hohmann, The Chapin School
Skye Malik, The Hewitt School
William Merrill, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Brinda Ramesh, Ossining High School
Isabella Salas-Allende, Marymount School of New York
Morgan Savige, Riverdale Country School
Faith Shaeffer, Hastings High School
Yinge Zhao, The Dalton School

2013 Winners

Leighton Braunstein, The Dalton School
Matthew Cavallaro, Bay Ridge Preparatory School
Sarah Crawford, Notre Dame Academy
Emily Garner, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
Cristina Lai, Great Neck South High School
Dante Natarelli, Robert Louis Stevenson School
Sara Ragi, Dwight-Englewood School
Jill Shah, Riverdale Country School
Alexandra Brown-Weissman, The Hewitt School
Hopewell Rogers, Marymount School of New York

2012 Winners

Jake Drobner, Dwight-Englewood School
Sophia Edelstein, The Dalton School
Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
Daniel Fischer, The Abraham Joshua Heschel School
Jane Jeffery, The Chapin School
Ian Kaplan, The Bronx High School of Science
Jillian Katz, Rye Country Day School
Henry Magun, Riverdale Country School
Maxine McGredy, Hunter College High School
Anna Mendelson, The Hewitt School