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BRIGHT FUTURE FORECAST COLD CASHWEATHER HOBBY NETS SCHOLARSHIP
Stafford High School student Richard Alt earns $10,000 scholarship and the 'mark of genius'

 Richard Alt won a $10,000 scholarship for a weather-forecasting system.
FILE/MIKE MORONES/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 8/9/2007

By CATHY DYSON

Richard Alt has come up with a forecasting method that can be used anywhere in the world.

The 17-year-old also is getting some cold cash to go along with his studies of cold weather.

The rising senior at Stafford High School earned a $10,000 scholarship and was named a 2007 Davidson Fellow for his research on snowfall patterns.

He and 16 other students from across America will be honored during weeklong festivities in Washington next month.

The pinnacle, in Alt's mind, will be giving a presentation before legislators and scientists at the Library of Congress.

"It is pretty thrilling," he said.

Alt was featured in a February story in The Free Lance-Star after he got a perfect score on his SATs.

He hasn't started his senior year of high school, but already has three scholarships. He earned $2,500 as a state winner in the Discover Card Tribute Award and $1,000 as a finalist in the American Legion Boys State of Virginia competition.

As a Davidson Fellow, he's among a select group of students to earn the "mark of genius," according to information from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Since 1991, the organization has given scholarships to young people who may help solve "some of society's most vexing problems," according to the institute.

Alt took three seasonal snowfall forecasting methods and combined them into one. Anyone who has sufficient historical weather records could replicate his method, anywhere on earth.

"That would be my dream," Alt said, "and it's very possible."

Alt has been fascinated with weather since he was 6. He installed monitors atop an old swing set in his backyard and has been offering forecasts on his weather Web site for three years.

He's interested in a career in medicine or biomedical engineering, but hasn't decided which college will receive the scholarships he's accumulating.

Alt is the only child of Richard and Donna Alt of Falmouth. This year, he'll be a mentor to freshmen at Stafford High.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com


ABOUT THE AWARDS GIVEN BY: The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. GIVEN TO: 17 gifted students who have completed significant work that may benefit society AGES OF RECIPIENTS: 14 to 17 AMOUNT AWARDED: $430,000; five students won $50,000; six won $25,000; and six won $10,000