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National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Thirteen State College Area High School National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Twelve State College Area High School students were named National Merit Scholarship Finalists, among the 15,000 finalists nationwide.

 

In addition, finalist Lydia Shen was a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semifinalist. Classmate Prithvi Narayanan was also a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semifinalist, though not a National Merit finalist.

 

Here’s a little bit about each:

Issac Keim

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Chemistry; it’s a lot of fun to do hands-on work with interesting scientific principles.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I really enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, and am also an avid reader.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I like being able to take a wide variety of courses and explore potential interests. 

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to go into software development, but also want to keep up my hobby of writing.

Amy Liu

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Chemistry - I've had some really cool chemistry teachers throughout high school and that class has always been a positive experience!

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Rowing - club team in State College

Art - painting, drawing, etc.

 

What book are you currently reading?

I'm not currently reading anything.

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I mostly enjoy that our school offers CTC courses. I really found my place here with the healthcare classes.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

Right now I'm planning to attend PSU for biochemistry & molecular biology this summer and for the next four years as a foundation for medical school. After I'm finished with all my schooling and residency, I would like to find a job as a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Angie Abraham

What is your favorite subject — and why?

I love math because of its straightforward, logical nature and its versatility in solving problems in the real world. 

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Playing piano and reading. 

 

What book are you currently reading?

Billy Summers by Stephen King

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I love being able to see and work with my friends and teachers at school every day. The conversations we have sometimes end up being the favorite part of my day. 

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan on studying computer science next year at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Velvet Wu

What is your favorite subject — and why?

The areas I'm most interested in are astrophysics and English! I like astrophysics because it puts human life in context, and there's also something super cool about being able to look at the night sky and understand what's going on up there. I think English complements Astrophysics pretty nicely because it's very grounding and helps me to understand why the human experience matters despite the fact that everything is so much bigger than us. 

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Playing the violin and going on runs when it's nice outside.

 

What book are you currently reading?

I'm reading Crime and Punishment for my AP English Lit. class and rereading If We Were Villains (by M.L. Rio) in my free time.

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

Hearing teachers talk about things that they've clearly thought a lot about and really love to teach. Also, hanging out with my friends.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to continue exploring the fields I'm interested in and to apply them to do big things, though I'm not sure what they will be yet.

Megan Mann

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Math - I've always loved math challenges and logic puzzles, which has broadened my love for other subjects. I love seeing what it allows us to do with the world around us.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Reading and baking.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy how being at school allows my learning to be collaborative instead of just individual.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I want to move to a large city, adopt a few cats, work a job I love connected to math or computer science, and learn to like coffee, all after at least four more years of schooling.

Evie Zhang

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Chemistry. It explains so much of the world around us, and there’s always more to learn and explore on a deeper level.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I love watching various Asian dramas/idol survival shows. I also just started crocheting and learning various patterns.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

To be surrounded every day by the friends and teachers I love. 

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

In the near future, I plan to study Biological Engineering on a pre-health track at MIT. Afterwards, I hope to obtain an MD-PhD and possibly a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.

Lydia Shen

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Mathematics – I enjoy how logical and analytical it is, and find its endless applications fascinating.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Playing tennis and baking for friends and family!

 

What book are you currently reading?

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I always enjoy talking to my friends, clubmates, and teachers – they all teach me something new every day.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to study applied mathematics and neuroscience at Cornell this fall. Currently, I’m considering careers in scientific research or medical law.

Vlad Roiban

What is your favorite subject — and why?

Math, because of its logic, its near-limitless applications, and how everything within it seems to be interconnected in some way.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Robotics and going on walks with my family.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

Being able to learn, explore, and solve problems with friends.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to study computer science and math in college and hopefully use what I learn to improve my community and the world.

Prithvi Narayanan

What is your favorite subject — and why?

This is a hard one. I am going with all of them. Education is valuable because it exposes the full scope of the known and unknown. Every course contributes to our outlook on the intricacies of life and our world. That's the potency of education.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I enjoy watching random Crash Course videos (thanks, Hank and John Green!) and learning phrases in various languages.

 

What book are you currently reading?

On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

The people! All of the fantastic administrators, staff, students, and teachers make State High the thriving community that I cherish.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I intend to major in political science at Yale University starting this fall. I seek to enter into the political landscape in order to engender long-lasting change that serves everyone.

Jerry Zhang

What is your favorite subject — and why?

I enjoy physics (when I can understand it) because it offers a different perspective to how the world works. Sometimes it all seems made up but it's always mind-blowing to think about. 

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I like to read webcomics since they bring a quick escape, offering humor, adventure, reflection, warmth, and more. When I have more time, I enjoy making something, like an origami model or a software project. 

 

What book are you currently reading?

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy being a part of different communities around the school through classes and clubs, finding the spontaneous funny moments with classmates and friends. 

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I'm planning on attending University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for Engineering Mechanics. I hope to learn how to design and make something people may want to use.

Karen Yee

What is your favorite subject — and why?

My favorite subject is biology. I enjoy learning about the connections between us and our environment, and I think genetics and how DNA works is very interesting.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I enjoy singing and reading. I’m a soprano in choir and I’ve been taking private lessons since i was young. My favorite book genre is fantasy.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Crime and Punishment

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

Although there are a lot of things that I enjoy about school, my favorite is seeing my friends.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I'm currently planning on going to Penn State for molecular biology. I'm not entirely sure what I'd like to do in the far future as of now, but I know for sure that I want to be involved in helping people by developing treatments and technology for diseases.

Carsten Briscoe

What is your favorite subject — and why?

IB Physics - I've got a great teacher, and we've been learning fascinating stuff for the past two years. I've just finished my Physics exams, and I felt well prepared.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Writing (especially for my friends’ Dungeons & Dragons games) and playing with my dog.

 

What book are you currently reading?

The Histories - Herodotus, and Die Wolke - Gudrun Pausewang

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

The people. I think they are what make the high school experience special.

 

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I will be going to UVA in the fall, where I will be studying international economics and engineering science.

Aaron Weaver

What is your favorite subject — and why?

My favorite subject is math because I've always enjoyed thinking analytically and problem solving.

 

What are one or two of your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I like playing video games. They help me connect with people online and enjoy myself.

 

What book are you currently reading?

Crime and Punishment

 

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy seeing my friends daily.

 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to be working somewhere where I can apply my skills in science and math and also have the downtime to keep my hobbies going.