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National Merit Scholarship Winners

State College Area High School seniors Amy Liu and Lydia ShenState College Area High School seniors Amy Liu and Lydia Shen have achieved a rare feat: winning a National Merit Scholarship.


They are among the 7,140 recipients nationwide of $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, companies and businesses, or universities and colleges. More than 15,000 students, including 12 from State High, advanced to be National Merit Finalists.


To become a finalist, semifinalists submitted a detailed scholarship application and presented records of high academic performance.


During the past four years, Liu has focused on the Health Professions and Sports Therapy paths in the Career and Technical Center, participating in Future Health Professionals (HOSA) state competitions. She was also drawn to science courses, particularly chemistry.


This year after school, she was the girls’ captain of the rowing team club, in addition to taking weekly piano lessons. In the summer, while continuing to work as a pharmacy technician and studying for the American College of Sports Medicine-Certified Personal Trainer certification exam, she will start at Penn State hoping to major in biochemistry and minor in psychology as a foundation for medical school. She aspires to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.


Among her classes this year, Shen took science teacher Danielle Rosensteel’s Advanced Biology Electives Research Course, where she conducted a research project about Parkinson’s disease. She served as co-president of Science Olympiad, president of Ocean Bowl, co-president of the Environmental Club, and captain of the girls’ tennis team.


Additionally, she volunteered with Centre Philanthropic Actions Created by Teens (Centre PACT), a youth philanthropy group that raises money for grants to local nonprofits, and Happy Valley Science Camp, an immersive summer camp that encourages middle schoolers to explore STEM. In the fall, she will attend Cornell University to study mathematics and neuroscience.


Shen also was named a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semifinalist, one of 625 nationwide from more than 6,000 candidates.


By Chris Rosenblum

Photo by Nabil K. Mark

Published May 17, 2024