Grafton Student awarded $25,000 scholarship for scientific achievement


Katherine Hudek
Katherine Hudek

Grafton – The Davidson Institute of Talent Development has announced the 2016 Davidson Fellows. Among the honorees is 17-year-old Katherine Hudek of Grafton. Hudek won a $25,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her project, “Quacee: A New Quantum Programming Language for Specifying Quantum Computations.” She is one of only 20 students from across the country to receive this honor.

“I am extremely grateful to be recognized and selected as a 2016 Davidson Fellow for my project in the field of quantum computing,” said Hudek.

Hudek created a programming language specifically designed to utilize the effects of quantum mechanics for quantum computers. She calls her language “Quacee” (Quantum Computing Elucidation Extension). Quantum computing is an emerging field. New types of hardware and methods of computation are being developed that use the effects of quantum mechanics, providing a need for a general means of specifying and controlling quantum computers and their computations. Hudek designed Quacee to support a quantum circuit model and then tested Quacee by using it to calculate known quantum algorithms.

In addition to her love of science, Hudek is also a writer and artist, having written two plays and a musical, as well as releasing a full-length album, “Early Dawn.” She has her own YouTube channel, “KatieScienceAndArts,” where she posts videos discussing her many projects at length, and sharing her love for the arts and sciences.

Hudek has received a number of awards and honors, including taking first place in the Southern New England Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, the National Golden Keys Piano Composition and Performance in Vienna, and the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She was also a semifinalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, and holds a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She plans to pursue a doctorate after high school.

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2016 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.”

The 2016 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 21.

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 $6.7 million in scholarship funds to 286 students since its inception in 2001. It is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev., that supports profoundly gifted youth.

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