32 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Class of ’18


Alexander Thorp

This year’s 32 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists are some of Bronx Science’s most well-rounded, diverse, and scholarly students.

The National Merit Scholarship’s prestige is not new to the halls of Bronx Science. Every year, about 700-800 students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in hopes of being qualified for a distinguished scholarship. Of the 712 students of the Class of 2018, 32 exemplary students qualified as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists, setting the current Bronx Science record of having the most students admitted as National Merit Scholars.

The 32 finalists are as follows: Kazi Alom, Steven S. Baek, Uma Balachandran, Audra Berg, Kuan Cao, Darren Chen, Helen Chen, Tainon Chen, Jennifer Cheung, Alice Choi. Ilana M. Duchan, Aidan Halloran, Grace Han, Yiguang Han, Kazi R. Hossain, Shadman-as-sami Jahangir, Jenna K. Jung, Swara R. Kalva, Kalliope U. Klein, Brian Y. Lee, Elena Li, Brandon W. Liang, Mateo Massey, Crystal Park, Maya Parness, Justin Qi, Clemence Shi, Natasha Stamler, Stephanie Tu, Anthony E. Vernikov, Nora Wolf, and Daniel Yoh.

Taking the test as juniors, the students from the Class of 2018 were intently prepared for the PSAT. “I went into the test with the mentality that I would simply try my best and wasn’t expecting anything. I treated it like any other practice test that I would have taken for the actual SAT,” said Uma Balachandran ’18. Very few, if any, of the students themselves, engaged in rigorous test prep for the PSAT. Most of them were fully prepared and ready to demonstrate their abilities on the test, given that they had already begun preparation for the actual SAT. “The test, at the time, was pretty challenging, but I really did my best to get a spot as a National Merit Scholar because I wanted to have that aspect in my college applications to make me stand out from the other amazing students,” said Tu ‘18.

It is no surprise that this year’s seniors are highly intelligent and very competitive. In fact, many teachers and faculty would consider the Class of 2018 to be one of the most competitive group of students that Bronx Science has ever seen. And as college applications draw near, seniors are aiming high for some of the most prestigious colleges and universities.

“Seniors are aiming high for some of the most prestigious colleges and universities.”

Universities like Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Brown are just some of the prospective schools that are on the radars of various Bronx Science seniors.

“There is an abundance of well-rounded and intelligent seniors in the Class of 2018. I definitely think it will make the college process a lot more competitive this year specifically, especially with the drive of this year’s seniors,” said Karen Yeung ’18. With the determination and ambition from this year’s seniors, it is no wonder that the National Merit Scholarship Organization has named 32 of Bronx Science’s students as semifinalists.