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67 Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

Communications Office

Sept. 9, 2020

Sixty-seven Stevenson High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide who will compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million next spring.

Stevenson’s National Merit semifinalists are: Zeeshan Aamer, Heather Acuna, Eshaan Agarwal, Christina Alexakos, Alex Bai, Aarthi Balaji, Shishir Bandapalli, Richard Bi, Jonathan Chan, Justin Chen, Jennifer Cheng, Rishika Chikoti, Joseph Connolly, Aniket Dixit, Kelly Dong, Carson Ezell, Hayden Gantt, Max Goldstein, Thomas Gong, David Gorin, Allen Guo, Jeanette Han, Dylan Heydenburg, Edward Kang, Andrew Kim, Michael Kim, Yumin Kim, Daichi Kobayashi, Sofia Kolobaev, Joo Eun Kwon, Jeremiah Lee, Katie Lee, Sohyun Lee, Su-Hyun Lee, Sean Li, Sophia Li, Anthony Lin,Lily Ma, Jared Machtinger, Elizabeth Matlin, Liana McGhee, Prathinav Merneedi, Sneha Mohan, Abhinav Murthy, Arjun Nageswaran, Sailaja Nallacheruvu, Wesley Park, Sayalee Patankar, Krishna Patel, Nathaniel Pedigo, Lily Pegg, Ram Potham, William Rademacher, Nikhith Rao, Praneet Rathi, Laya Reddy, Isha Rustagi, Ojasvi Saxena, Daniel Thomas, Jason Topolski, David Wallach, Connor Wang, Faith Wang, Phyllis Wang, Katherine Wu, Ryan Yao, Maristella Yim.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90% 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.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp., a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions.

Steps in the 2021 Competition

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 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 1% 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, and write an essay.

Finalists will be notified of their designation in February. 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.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021:

·      Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.

·      About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

·      About 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. The scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.