Eight at MHS win National Merit scholarships

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Eight members of the Class of 2017 have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships.

Elizabeth Jordan, William Mueller, Melissa Ahn and Eric Neidhart were selected on June 7 to receive college-sponsored scholarships. The awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. They were among approximately 3,200 students nationwide to win a scholarship.

Dane County had 18 students selected and five schools -- Middleton, Verona, Madison West, Madison Memorial and Waunakee -- represented.

This year 182 high education institutions in 44 states and the District of Columbia are underwriting National Merit Scholarship awards.

Kathrine Fink, Aria Salyapongse, Sahil Soni and Michael Xie were selected in May to receive National Merit $2,500 scholarships. Eleven students in Dane County, 50 statewide and 2,500 winners across the United States were announced. Thery were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists. MHS had more recipients than any other high school in Wisconsin.

Another round of college-sponsored scholarships will be announced in July. So far in 2017, 6,700 National Merit Scholarship winners have been announced with 800 to go. The 7,500 scholarships are worth more than $32 million.

Jordan plans to study neuroscience at the University of Oklahoma, while Mueller plans to go into statistics at the University of Minnesota. Ahn plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Southern California, while Neidhart plans to go into engineering at Carleton College in Minnesota.

Fink plans to pursue a career in foreign service, while Salyapongse plans to go into astrophysics. Soni plans to enter economics, and Xie plans to enter a medical field.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. funds most of the $2,500 scholarships, with some additional funding from corporations and company foundations.

This year's competition for National Merit Scholarships begin in October 2015 when more than 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT. Last fall the highest-scoring participants in each state, which represented less than 1 percent of the nation's high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only those 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.