Kevin Davoud, 18, is the son of Mohammad and Mahtab Davoud of Statesboro. His father is the founding dean of the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing at Georgia Southern University, and his mother is a local real estate agent.
His father moved to Statesboro in 1988, to became an assistant professor at GA Southern. He originally immigrated to the United States in 1976, worked as a welder, and later obtained bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and the University of South Carolina.
Born in 2003, Kevin is the youngest of the Davoud’s two sons. His older brother, Sherwin, was valedictorian of Statesboro High’s Class of 2013. Statesboro has always been his home, and he attended Sallie Zetterower Elementary and Langston Chapel Middle School.
Kevin draws inspiration from his brother’s successes. Sherwin was Statesboro High’s 2013 valedictorian. He later obtained a degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), went on to graduate from the Medical College of Georgia, and is now an anesthesia resident at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, the second largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
After witnessing his brother’s high school valedictory speech, Kevin remembers that he then made it his number-one goal to achieve the same success.
“I wanted to try my best,” he said. “My parents are overjoyed and over the moon that their two sons have achieved high academically. My mom is at a loss for words.”
Kevin has been accepted to Emory, GA Tech, Augusta University, and Columbia University. He’s chosen to attend GA Tech, where he plans to major in biology, and possibly pursue a career in oncology.
“As you go on with life, it leads you where you’re meant to be,” Kevin said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting people with my same interests, who are passionate about their fields of interest.”
Kevin values time with his family. In fact, for the past two years he’s enjoyed hitching rides to Savannah with his dad, when he traveled to GA Southern’s Armstrong campus. Kevin applied and was accepted into Memorial Medical Center’s volunteering program for teens. He gained valuable experience working 24 hours per week shadowing physicians, conducting patient surveys, and providing basic patient services.
His family also influenced his interest in medicine. When he was in ninth-grade, cancer affected a close family member. Watching someone he loves very much struggle and endure pain and see the effects it had on the entire family led him to write two articles about the psychological effects of cancer.
Last summer Kevin participated in Emory University’s Summer Scholars Research Program. Funded by the Winship Cancer Institute, the non-paid internship program provides experiences for students to focus on oncology research.
This semester Kevin was one of only 50 students in Georgia, who was chosen to participate in the University of Georgia’s 46th Annual Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He was invited by science professionals to present his research, “Machine Learning for Predicting Sepsis in an Emergency Department” at the symposium. His research hypothesized a possible way to improve how patients are diagnosed with sepsis and other medical emergencies. He utilized easily-available data from vital signs and bloodwork to study how computer algorithms could possibly reduce the number of deaths from sepsis, which is a life-threatening response of the body to infection that damages body tissue and can lead to septic shock and death.
“Kevin Davoud is one of the most scientifically gifted students that I have had the opportunity to teach,” said Rich McCombs, an Environmental Science teacher at Statesboro High. “His research and development on the concepts of sepsis led him to win awards at the region and state levels, and he was selected to represent at the National Science Fair. He has also won several awards at the college level in several different categories which is an awesome achievement as a high school student.”
McCombs, a three-time school-level teacher of the year at the schools where he’s served, a former Bulloch County Schools Teacher of the Year, a former district and Region 8 STAR teacher, and top-three finalist for the SECME National Teacher of the Year, is known for helping nurture science champions like Davoud. Many of Statesboro High’s valedictorians, including Kevin’s brother, Sherwin, and STAR students have credited his unique ability to help students apply science to reality and cultivate research opportunities through collaborations with faculty at GA Southern.
“I love teachers who love their jobs,” Kevin said. “It make me love the subject.”
In addition to McCombs, Kevin noted that Thomas Miller, his Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher and Model United Nations advisor, his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Marianna Voiselle, and his first-grade teacher, Mrs. Starr Anderson, are among his favorite K-12 educators.
“I first met Kevin when I took sponsorship of the Model U.N. program in 2018,” said Miller. “I could tell early on that Kevin would shine when I saw the dedication and focus with which he prepared. In both his sophomore and junior years, his team received honorable distinctions in the General Assembly section of the (Model U.N.) conference, and those points helped lead us (Statesboro High) to a third-place finish during his junior year out of roughly 50 schools present.”
While a student at Statesboro High, Kevin has also been involved with Science Olympiad, the Technology Student Association, and the school’s Boys Swimming team.