CEAS Welcomes Record-Breaking 26 National Merit Scholars

By:     Staci Jones
Date:  November 16, 2017

An unprecedented incoming class of 26 National Merit Scholars enters CEAS in hopes of finding engineering solutions that are essential to our health, happiness, and safety.  

The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) is home to 26 National Merit Scholars.

The National Merit Scholarship competition recognizes high school students who show outstanding academic promise.  More than 1.6 million students take the Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) each year to qualify as a National Merit Scholar. After three qualifying rounds, the winners of the Merit Scholarship are selected based on their abilities provided through their academic record, high school written recommendation, high school activities and leadership, and a final essay.

In this highly competitive process, less than one out of every 100 students that apply become a National Merit Scholar.  This extraordinary group of students includes valedictorians, perfect SAT scores, and 4.0+ GPAs.

Among the 26 CEAS recipients is Cincinnati native and electrical engineering major, Trevor Wood, who states that receiving the scholarship was able to alleviate some of his financial worries, providing him with a great sense of relief.

“I always made studying and doing well in school my top priorities, but outside of these, I still made sure to stay committed to activities like music and Scouts which were both enjoyable and enriching in the long-term,” said Wood.

He regards his persistence in effort and multitasking skills to be part of the reason he was selected for the scholarship.

Wood most looks forward to the cooperative education (co-op) program and being able to apply scientific knowledge to solving practical problems while learning more about the world. He states that with the scholarship, his transition to college has been significantly smoother.

Native of Liberty Township, Zachary Thomas, also states that receiving the scholarship served as a relief.

As a biomedical engineering student, Thomas most looks forward to immersing himself into medical nanotechnology research both during his time at CEAS and after graduation.

He is also excited about CEAS’ co-op program, along with his biomedical engineering classmate, Linda Yoder.

Yoder is a native of Richmond, KY, she looks forward to the co-op program and finding the type of job she will enjoy the most post-graduation.

She followed in the footsteps of her older brother by starting the beginning stages of the competition and states that her extracurricular activities, such as an officer of the Humane Society Club, helped her to stand out amongst competitors.

Service to community is also what Cincinnati native, Katie Sullivan, credits to being her standout quality, along with her involvement in music.

Sullivan states that receiving the scholarship made her decision of where to attend college a lot easier.

With the co-op program, she is very excited about her choice, “I'm not exactly sure of what I want to do within chemical engineering, so I'm looking forward to trying different things and seeing what I like best through co-op rotations.”

Fort Thomas, KY native, Corinne Smith, states that receiving the scholarship allows her the fluidity to explore other opportunities outside of paying for college, such as the various study abroad programs.

Along with her interests to travel, she is working towards a Spanish minor. She states that her versatility in skills and interests made her stand out as a candidate.

As a chemical engineering major, she looks forward to taking on issues that span nationally, such as pollution and climate change.

Biomedical engineering major and Delaware, Ohio native, Anna Pyo, felt grateful and beyond excited upon receiving the scholarship.

Pyo looks forward to the hands-on experience that she will gain at co-op and the advantages that the experiences will grant her in the future.

Her goal is to help others through her work and research.

Sonya Kennedy, a biomedical engineering major from Dublin, Ohio, also plans to take advantage of the co-op program.

She intends to follow a pre-med track once she attains her degree and looks forward to learning from the knowledgeable faculty and staff in the program.

Chemical engineering student and native of Solon, Ohio, Kevin Johnson, states that UC was always his number one choice, and being offered the scholarship, simply solidified his decision.

He states that the second-to-none co-op program is what he most looks forward to, “knowing that I would gain valuable experience in the workforce before graduating was important to me. Work experience is especially important upon graduation, setting me and everyone else in CEAS apart from graduates from other universities.”

In being very active in high school; varsity tennis team captain, speech and debate team captain, and a member of the Frisbee club, marching band, concert band, Model United Nations, along with the accumulation of years of hard work led Kevin to be a standout candidate.

Other recipients of the National Merit Scholarship include; Mason Davy of Mainevile, Ohio, Chris Dombrosky of Cleveland, Ohio, Jake Green of Winchester, Ky., Jimi Hackney of North Ridgeville, Ohio, Li Cai Haney of Hebron, Ky., Chase Hill of Dayton, Ohio, Matthew Kuhr of Cincinnati, Ohio, Olivia Loparo of Rocky River Ohio, Alex Madzia of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, Thomas Muha of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Scott Reckamp of Harvard, Ill., Casey Schablein of Cincinnati, Ohio, Angela Smith of Dayton, Ohio, William Smotherman of Cincinnati, Ohio, Alex Suer of Liberty Township, Ohio, David Waite of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Ian Wells of Saint Louis, Mo.