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Training Future Leaders

Rising Scientist Awards

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

2023 Award Winners

Take a look at the 2023 Rising Scientist Awards winners.

About the Awards

The crisis in children’s mental health takes many forms. Stigma. Barriers to care. Slow progress on the science we need to develop new treatments. 

Investing in the scientific leaders of tomorrow will accelerate discovery and transform children’s lives. 

The Rising Scientist Awards are given annually to outstanding high school students who show exceptional promise in research areas related to mental health. The 2023 awards were presented at our annual On the Shoulders of Giants scientific symposium on October 12, 2023.

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

  • Outstanding interest and achievement in psychology, neuroscience or biomedical engineering research
  • Strong academic performance in science courses
  • Participation in related extracurricular activities
  • Scientific research studies or independent research in one of the three areas of focus

Each Rising Scientist will receive:

  • A $2,000 scholarship for college expenses
  • An opportunity to share his or her research at the Child Mind Institute’s annual On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium, attended by world-class scientists
  • Recognition at an awards ceremony following the symposium, which is attended by VIP guests, including the Child Mind Institute’s Sarah Gund Distinguished Scientist. The 2023 Distinguished Scientist Awardee is Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, PhD, Professor, Child Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA; Director of the Global Center for Children and Families at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
  • Invitations to attend a special educational event with representatives from the Child Mind Institute’s research programs and to shadow a Child Mind Institute researcher for a day
  • Recognition in press releases distributed to national media outlets, on and in social media promotion


We encourage nominations for high school students from groups that have faced historical barriers. We are committed to advancing science that represents all by recognizing and supporting the achievements of those from diverse backgrounds.

The nomination period for the 2023 program is now closed. For more information about the program or nominations, see the Frequently Asked Questions page or email

Past Award Winners

2023 Winners

  • Manas Kandath, Eldorado High School, Albuquerque, NM
  • Maya Krishnan, La Jolla Country Day School, San Diego, CA
  • Natasha Kulviwat, Jericho High School, Jericho, NY
  • Ryan Lee, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, Plainview, NY
  • Denise Rojas, Western High School, Anaheim, CA
2022 Winners

  • Hannah Cho, North Hollywood High School, Los Angeles, California
  • Noemie Durand, BASIS DC, Washington, District of Columbia
  • Ty Gelman, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, New York
  • Lina Iyer, Novi High School, Novi, Michigan
  • Amith Vasantha, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, San Jose, California
2021 Winners
  • Natalie Calman, Ossining High School, Ossining, New York
  • Jason Cui, Fairview High School, Boulder, Colorado
  • Jeremy Kotlyar, Great Neck South High School, Lake Success, New York
  • Zoe Pyne, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn, New York
  • Vivek Sreejithkumar, A.D. Henderson/ Florida Atlantic University High School, Boca Raton, Florida
2020 Winners
  • Huong Nguyen, Leesville Road High School
  • Reed Lessing, Chapin School
  • Ethan Ocasio, New School
  • Nikita Rohila, Stuttgart High School
  • Julia Savino, Smithtown West High School
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