Work by Gavin Behind The Scenes of a Rising Innovator

Cheering on the Darpa Robotics Challenge!

Science Fiction is full of super helpful humanoid robots from C3PO to the Bicentennial Man and I have been pretty excited to travel to the Darpa Robotics Competition this summer with three other Google interns and see how far we’ve come in making this dream a reality! I was just an observer, but I wasn’t alone in the stadium stands watching four awesome robots at a time race to autonomously perform tasks in a row like driving a golf-cart, getting out, entering a building, turning a knob, drilling a hole in a wall, climbing over rubble, and up stairs without falling. We laughed and gripped our seat along with all the families in attendance as most robots did an amazing job, but often fell over on some of the harder tasks. I was super impressed with the top two teams Team Kaist and IHMC Robotics which blew the other robots away by completing all the tasks in half the required time. Looking forward to watching the next competition remotely some day! More about the Darpa Robotics Challenge

2015 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist Interview

What a whirlwind, I just got back from Chicago where I had a pretty intense interview for the Rhodes Scholarship as a Rhodes Finalist from Minnesota! I really enjoyed meeting the twelve other finalists and I’ve learned over the years that we most likely will see each other again. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be among the two finalists picked for the scholarship, but I’m proud of the responses I gave and preparing for this interview has only reinforced my drive to make my impact on the world in the future! A few of us went out to a genuine Chicago pizza place afterwards and I enjoyed the deepest dish pizza I’ve ever had. Thanks again to all of my professors and mentors who supported me along the way here to get to this point!

Research Lab at Google I/O

As a student at Duke University studying Computer Science as well as Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Medicine, I enjoy doing my own research into potential applications and developments in cutting edge software fields like virtual reality, computer vision, and human interface design. I was delighted when Google offered to fly me out to San Fransisco for their Google Research event and pay for my ticket to the Google I/O developer conference this year in San Fransisco. It was a wonderful forum and I got to meet many lead researchers at Google and at universities around the world. I also got to present a project of mine titled vOS which you can read more about here.

My favorite moment was when I sat down to chat with the famous Jeff Dean and learn more about his background and latest work indexing and processing huge genomic data sets. I also was very pleased when the vice president of Google Research, Alfred Spector (founder of Google Health) told me that he thought my plan to become a doctor with a technical background would prepare me very well for the future!

More about my vOS project

More about the Research Lab Forum

Job Shadowing Orthopedic Surgeons

To get a better feel for the career I am pursuing and to learn more about the life of a doctor, I have shadowed four orthopedic surgeons this year in Minnesota at both Twin Cities Orthopedics and the Gillette Children's Hospital. It has been fascinating to observe the different communication styles the doctors used to connect with patients young and old, as well as, their families. I also loved seeing the teamwork in the operating room, and the friendly camaraderie among the doctors and assistants. I was able to learn a lot just by watching the surgeries, and especially liked when surgeons took time to point out the unique challenges of the operations. Every patient that I saw had their own unique story, and I was inspired to learn how to best help them.

Learn about Twin Cities Orthopedics

Learn about Gillette Children's Hospital

"Hour of Code" Volunteering

Around the world, people have been organizing "Hour of Code" events in order to introduce kids to the world of computer programming. I had a great time volunteering at one of these events at Elon University, and sharing in the delight of many kids who were able to successfully program a character in a game to achieve a goal and in doing so learn if/else statements and for loops. Programming has become a great tool for improving my education in all areas, and I love sharing this knowledge with young kids.

Read more about the event!

Duke 3D Printing Challenge Submission: Print a Role Model

For the Duke 3D Printing Challenge, I recognized that a strength of 3D printing is in personalising objects for their owner. I wanted to make personalized dolls for my younger sister to show her what she could look like in powerful roles like an Astronaut or CEO. I hope that by making a personal connection with doll with her face, she could see all of the possibilities open to her. Unfortunately I didn't win, but I learned a lot in the process of making the models!

Learn about the Challenge!

Google Student Ambassador Orientation 2013

All the time, I find myself introducing my friends and family to new technologies on the web which can make their lives so much easier. Over and over again, most of these amazing services happen to come from Google, and I was so excited this past summer to get to go to the 2013 USA Google Student Ambassador Orientation in Mountainview, CA in order to become an even better spreader of new technology. Becoming a GSA, will give me the authority and resources to host events at Duke which can reach a much larger audience and share my knowledge of the power of the web. At the orientation, I got to meet hundreds of amazing students from around the country and bond over a Google campus-wide scavenger hunt and a brainstorming competition to work on our event design skills. I also got to meet people from the Google Events team who have put on such amazing events as the Google Science Fair, Google Zeitgeist, and recently the Youtube Music Awards! As an organizer of TEDxDuke, I can tell how challenging these events must have been to put on.

Watch The GSA Orientation Event Video

London Olympics 2012

The highlight of my travels this summer has to be the Olympic Game that I went to with 7 of my fellow AB Scholars! I cheered on the USA women's indoor volleyball team to a win over the South Korean team and I was blown away by the talent and atmosphere. It was an incredible experience!

Check Out My Pictures

Summer Travel 2012

This summer, I toured Turkey, Venice, England, and Sweden to stay with many different friends and have exciting adventures!

Check Out My Pictures

5th Annual Quidditch World Cup

I'm the Keeper for the Duke University Quidditch Team and we just got back from an amazing competition at the 5th Annual IQA World Cup on Randall's Island New York! It was not only my first time at the World Cup but also my first time in New York. We toured on friday and competed on saturday and sunday. Here were the results of our matches:

1st Game: lost 130-140 (other team caught snitch = 30pts)
2nd Game: won 130-90 (other team caught snitch)
3rd Game: won 180-60 (we caught snitch)
4th Game: lost 130-70 (they caught snitch)

It was a blast and I bonded a lot with my team!

Check Out My Pictures

The Quidditch World Cup Website

White House Science Fair

Having only been notified a week in advance, I was in disbelief to find myself at the White House this past week in the company of the President and many other distinguished guests and students!

Google Science Fair

I had an unbelievably fantastic time at the Googleplex this past week and a bunch of news outlets are coming out with photos from the public viewing period! Here's me with a founder of the internet: Vint Cerf!

Go to Mashable Article

I Am Going To The Google Science Fair

I can't believe it! I've wanted the chance to visit the Google Headquarters in Mountainview, CA for years and now, as one of the first ever Google Global Science Fair Finalists , they are paying for me to fly out there!

I found out about the science fair the day it was announced to the world as I checked my RSS feeds on Google Reader one morning. Google had sponsored the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair heavily in 2010 when it was located in San Jose, CA and I was really disappointed when the tour of Google was full as I tried to sign up (considering that there were 1600 students there it wasn't surprising). Now, Google just announced a new kind of science fair for the internet generation! The premise was that judges will judge you based on an online presentation and board/website made with Google Sites. My eyes lit up when I saw that we were highly encouraged to incorporate other Google Apps into the project. I spent almost as much time on rewriting my board text as I did playing with various embeds! I ended up incorporating Google Sites, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Google Docs, Picasa, Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google Moderator, Google Streetview, Youtube, Google Seach, and even Google Translate.

As I submitted my project, I realized that even though my birthday was coming up (March 19) I would be 16 as I submitted, which put me in the 15-16 yr old category. Also, I found out that because my first model of my turbine was made fully out of LEGOs, I could check the box saying that I used LEGOs in my project (LEGO is a sponsor). Later, at ISEF 2011 I got the word that I was selected as being one of 60 semifinalists! apparently around 10,000 people had applied and I was shocked. I was suddenly eligible for the People's Choice Award which could be won by getting the most votes online. I was able to spread the word and saw that I got over 2000 votes, however someone else ended up winnning it. After filling out some paperwork and interviewing over the phone with people in the UK, I heard back that I had been selected to be a finalist! I'll be at the Googleplex from July 9-12th where a panel of celebrity judges (including Dean Kamen who I admire and have a picture of me with!) will select winners in each age group to win prizes such as a 10 day trip to the galapagos islands with National Geographic or a trip to CERN. Going to Google is so much of a prize to me, I don't know what I'd do with any more prizes. I just read the book "In the Plex" by Steven Levy (a writer for Wired.com) which covered the history of Google. Now I'm planning what I'll say if I meet Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Oh, and of course I read the book on my Google Books app on my Galaxy S Android phone =D.

Coming up, I'm getting my wisdom teeth pulled out the day before I have to give a speech to the school! I also start working at Medtronic on June 6!

Read More About My Google Science Fair Project

The Google Science Fair Website

College Admission Status

Here's a listing of all of the colleges I've applied to (and the status of my application with them).
  • Admitted - University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Admitted - Stanford
  • Admitted - Yale
  • Admitted - Duke
  • Admitted - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Admitted - Johns Hopkins University
  • Admitted - University of Pennsylvania
  • Admitted - Princeton
I'm overjoyed by the responses so far. I won't be making a decision until a few more tours!

International Science And Engineering Fair 2011

I had an incredible adventure at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this year and I made a lot of amazing friends. I met a couple Nobel Laureates, danced at Club Nokia in L.A. Live, went to Disneyland and Paramount, saw Bill Nye and the Cast of Glee, and partied in a hot tub on the roof of a hotel with a bunch of geniuses from around the world!

Pretty incredible, and I am very proud to have received a Fourth Place Grand Award in Energy and Transportation along with a $1000 award from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

Also, a big congratulations to the Minnesota Team that won a First Place Grand Award and to David Campeau from Minnesota who won a trip to CERN! Great Job.

National Gallery of Young Inventors

I thrilled to be selected to be one of five students to be recognized for their inventions by induction into the National Gallery of Young Inventors. I had a great time going to Akron, Ohio to meet the other inductees and it was really fun to talk to all of the students who came about the CHAD device and about why I'm interested in science and technology. Also, I received one of the coolest prizes ever, a comic strip of my life (so far) which you can see in its entirety here!

Read about all the winners here

Learn about the CHAD

Davidson Scholars Recognition Weekend

I was honored to be chosen as one of the 2011 Davidson Fellows for my work on the CHAD. I also had a great time meeting my class of Fellows and my state senator, Al Franken during the recognition weekend in DC.

Coca Cola Scholar Weekend

I had a phenomenal time in Atlanta, GA for the 2011 Coke Scholars Weekend where I met my 250 coke brothers and sisters at the coke headquarters! We were busy and heres an excerpt of things we did:
  • Met all the sponsors of the Coke Scholarship at a giant banquet
  • Went to the World of Coke and tried coke drinks from around the world
  • Refurbished old syrup containers to be reused as rain barrels
  • Met the living relatives of Martin Luther King at the Marting Luther King Center
  • Competed in a "Game Show"
  • Danced and partied in the Coca-Cola Headquarters
I had a phenomenal time getting to know everyone and I managed to get everyone's signature in my handbook to prove I met all 250! The Coca-cola Scholars 2011 Facebook page is also extremely active, and I love hearing about everyone's endeavors.

Watch the Scholarship Video

TEDxYouth Day Speech

In 2011, I was chosen to speak at the Minnesota Science Museum for TEDxYouth Day along with my good friend Brandon Hill. TEDxYouth Day was a special kind of TEDx conference which featured students with "Ideas Worth Spreading". My talk was about how changing the world and being a real life super hero to someone or some people was not as daunting of a task as most people might think. It just starts with identifying a need and then being motivated enough to fill the need. It was a nerve wracking experience and I should have prepared many more times beforehand, but I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting and engaging people at this event.

Read about the TEDxYouth event

Regional Science Fair Results

On Friday and Saturday (Feb 25 - 26) I competed in the exciting Twin Cities Regional Science Fair! While I had to stand by my booth for 5 hours on Friday, I got to meet some nice fellow students and talk to a lot of judges (I’m guessing 14 adults total). On Saturday I was overjoyed by the award results which are listed here:
  • ISEF Top Finalist (awarded an opportunity to attend Intel’s international competition in May 2011)
  • 3M Renewable Energy Award
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota Honor Award
  • Medtronic Foundation Corporate Sponsor Award
  • United States Army – Award for Exemplary Research
  • United States Navy – Office of Naval Research Medal
  • Top ribbon signifying qualification to the Minnesota State Science Fair Competition in March
  • Research Paper Competition Finalist signifying qualification to the North Central Tri-State Junior Science & Humanities Symposium in March
  • Advancement to the Tri-State Science Fair (Optional because I already got into ISEF)
  • Advancement to the JSHS State Competition (If I win this, I get to go to JSHS!)
I’m really looking forward to going back to ISEF!

Learn More About My Water Turbine Project

My Coca Cola Ad Parody

So, I was pretty surprised to see an advertisement about the Coca-Cola Scholars during the Oscars the other night! I thought it would be pretty funny to show what happened when I got my scholarship bottle.

See The Original Advertisement

Me and Dean Kamen

At the Minnesota Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) event, I got the chance to meet the founder of FIRST Robotics, super inventor Dean L. Kamen! I have been involved with FIRST Lego League and now FIRST Robotics since I was in 3rd grade and now as a high school senior, this is my last year taking part in this wonderful program to make engineering a hands-on experience for kids. I highly recommend it for any kid!

What is FIRST Robotics?

1 vs 100 Game Show Contestant

In 2007, I was chosen to be a contestant in the Game Show, 1 vs 100 on NBC hosted by Bob Saget. I was one of 100 "whiz kids" competing in a trivia contest and while I got a couple questions right, I ultimately goofed on a question about time zones. It was a really interesting experience to see the actual set of 1 vs 100 as well as the set of Deal or No Deal and see the raw footage that gets edited down to make the actual show. About 4 hours of footage were brought down into 30 minutes and the sets were designed to look a lot larger on TV than they actually are!