Four Carroll County Public Schools students are semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that honors those who show “exceptional academic ability and potential.”
Laniya Davidson and Hannah Nguyen of Westminster High School, Alexander Schmitt of Manchester Valley High School and Anjan Singh of Liberty High School earned the recognition, according to a CCPS news release.
Eric King, director of high schools for CCPS, said the recognition is “huge” given that it puts the four Carroll students in the top 50,000 out of 1.6 million test-takers.
“Besides the recognition that they get and deserve, its really a true measure of their academic talents," King said in a Tuesday afternoon interview. “In addition to helping them gain admittance to any colleges they may apply for, the National Merit Scholar designation often comes with significant scholarship money.”
High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists must advance to finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements, according to the release.
“These students obviously work very hard and are very talented," King said. “We’re very proud of them and excited to see what students of that level accomplish professionally."
The school system provided brief bios of each of the semifinalists:
· Davidson has performed admirably in all of her classes. She has challenged herself academically with numerous Advanced Placement and Honors courses and has seen success in these classes through strong determination, self-confidence, and a balanced work ethic. Davidson has a solid background of leadership inside and outside the classroom and, because of her friendly approach, she has gained the respect of teachers and students. Her success in the classroom has awarded her the opportunity to be a member of the National Honor Society over the past two years, where she has groomed her leadership skills while serving as treasurer. She aspires to major in mathematics during the next chapter of her education and continues to take the highest levels of math courses that Westminster High has to offer.
· Nguyen is an outstanding student at Westminster and the Career and Technology Center in the biomedical science program. She plans to continue her education and eventually become a bioengineer. Nguyen is a very involved member of the Westminster High School community. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society, and the Math Honor Society. She is also a member of several organizations representing her variety of interests and talents, including the Art Club, Spanish Club, Jazz Band, Culture Fest, Student Government, and Stand Up! Club.
· Schmitt has a rigorous academic schedule with over a dozen AP courses and dual enrollment college courses. He also is interning at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and Towson University’s Chemistry Program. This summer he authored an article on his chemistry research and recently won first prize at UMBC’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. He will graduate with over 1,000 hours of community service, including serving as the president of Manchester Valley’s National Honor Society, where he has chaired the American Red Cross Blood Drive four times, collecting over 150 units of blood and saving over 600 lives. Schmitt is also active in the Maverick Theatre program and is the sound and lighting technology expert for the school. He plans to pursue a degree in Physics and eventually become an astronaut. He has applied to several schools, including Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Columbia, and the University of Maryland.
· Singh is driven by curiosity and the excitement of discovery and thrives in an environment where he is constantly learning. He began an internship at the National Cancer Institute this summer and has presented scientific articles to his peers as part of his training. Singh challenges himself with academically rigorous STEM-based. He has received a score of 5 on all seven Advanced Placement exams he has taken and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction. He is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as the current class president. He is the captain of the boys varsity soccer team and a member of the Maryland state soccer team. He is a member of the all-county orchestra, the Liberty SGA, and a program director for the Carroll County Student Government Association, as well as a peer academic tutor, youth soccer referee, and a member of the Leo Club. Singh’s intended college major is biomedical engineering with the culminating goal of a service-related career focusing primarily on developing new medical technologies to improve public and environmental health.