83 Washtenaw County students named to 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced Monday the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, including 83 students from Washtenaw County high schools.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Here are the local students recognized as semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program:

Skyline High School

Hashim Asad

Lindsey H. Choi

Laura L. Edwards

Deniz Kirca

Olivia M. McKelvey

Teo D. Miklethun

Kevin R. Sun

Gabriella R. Teodoru

Reid D. VanDiepen

Oliver A. Wang

Pioneer High School

Kevin D. Bruey

Helen M. Brush

Akane O. Hubbard

Soorya S. Janakiraman

Elizabeth J. Kreske

Jesse Li

Ariel K. Mobius

Claire P. Robinson

Carina Z. Sanborn

Jacob T. Sendra

James Benjamin Simon

Kristen M. Umbriac

Srichandana Vangavolu

Ashish R. Venumuddula

Huron High School

William D. Chettleburgh

Rhea J. Cong

Anirudh S. Cowlagi

Julie Heng

Elizabeth B. Li

Eleanor M. Lin

Emma L. Shedden

Tomas O. Stegemann

Allen J. Wu

James A. Xiu

Benjamin Zhang

Jocelyn G. Zhang

Benjamin Y. Zhao

Jonathan J. Zou

Community High School

Natalia M. Eddy

Isabelle B. Lenhardt

Isaac E. McKenna

Max S. Mueggler

Eli L. Shavit

Etai G. Smotrich-Barr

Nina C. van der Velde

Kendra L. Wolter

Greenhills School

Emma L. Chen

Sahil G. Deenadayalu

Anisha M. Fujii

Aarushi Ganguly

Allison M. Nishi

Kaan T. Oral

Nathan B. Rosenberg

Natalie L. Sell

Maya S. Vijan

Alan C. Zhu

Washtenaw International High School

Lidewij M. Florusbosch

Leander P. Hannibal

Sana Hasan

Sridula S. Kallakuri

Celeste Knapp

Pranavi S. Pratapa

Kate Eliot S. Tang

Vrinda N. Vyas