Issaquah School District students win National Merit Scholarships

May 25, 2011

By Laura Geggel

NEW — 8 a.m. May 25, 2011

Two Skyline High School students — Saumya Copparam and Dipanwita Maulik — have won National Merit Scholarships, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced Wednesday.

Both students plan to attend the University of Southern California, where Copparam plans to study biology and medicine and Maulik plans to study bioengineering.

Put in perspective, Copparam and Maulik are at the top of their game. Of the 1.5 million high school juniors who took the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, only 16,000 were named as semifinalists in the 56th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

To compete for a scholarship, semifinalists submitted an application that included their academic records and an endorsement from a school official.

Semifinalists also had to earn top SAT scores and write an essay about their extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions.

About 15,000 students made it to the finalist round, and about 8,300 of them will receive Merit Scholarship awards.

The corporation worked with 198 higher education institutions to offer students scholarships. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

More award winners

The corporation named recipients of corporate-sponsored awards on April 20. Of the 1,000 students, three of them attend schools in the Issaquah School District.

Jay Chakravarty, a senior at Liberty High School who is interested in law, won a National Merit Boeing Scholarship, given annually to children of Boeing employees. Two Skyline seniors, Benjamin Huang, who is interested in business, and Praveen Puvvadi, who is interested in both computer science and business administration, received the National Merit Liberty Mutual Scholarship, given by the insurance company.

The corporation announced winners of the National Merit $2,500 Scholarships on May 4, but none of the winners were from the district.

The next announcement for college-sponsored awards is July 11.

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