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updated: 6/7/2013 10:39 AM

2012-2013 DuPage County Academic Team

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  • The 2012-2013 Daily Herald DuPage County Academic Team members pose for a photo at the College of DuPage. They include, from left to right: Danny Zhuang of Metea Valley High School, Jourdan Ewoldt of Glenbard East High School, Vassil Mladenov of Lake Park High School, Lucia Korpas of Naperville Central High School, Megan Knister of Hinsdale Central High School, Alex Liu of Neuqua Valley High School, Alana Osterling of Downers Grove North High School, Maria Anastasia Arianas of Fenton High School, Cassandra Crifase of Addison Trail High School, and Andrew Bean of Glenbard South High School.

       The 2012-2013 Daily Herald DuPage County Academic Team members pose for a photo at the College of DuPage. They include, from left to right: Danny Zhuang of Metea Valley High School, Jourdan Ewoldt of Glenbard East High School, Vassil Mladenov of Lake Park High School, Lucia Korpas of Naperville Central High School, Megan Knister of Hinsdale Central High School, Alex Liu of Neuqua Valley High School, Alana Osterling of Downers Grove North High School, Maria Anastasia Arianas of Fenton High School, Cassandra Crifase of Addison Trail High School, and Andrew Bean of Glenbard South High School.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Maria Anastasia Arianas

      Maria Anastasia Arianas

  • Andrew Bean

      Andrew Bean

  • Cassandra Crifase

      Cassandra Crifase

  • Jourdan Ewoldt

      Jourdan Ewoldt

  • Megan Knister

      Megan Knister

  • Lucia Korpas

      Lucia Korpas

  • Alex Liu

      Alex Liu

  • Vassil Mladenov

      Vassil Mladenov

  • Alana Osterling

      Alana Osterling

  • Danny Zhuang

      Danny Zhuang

 

Maria Anastasia Arianas

Fenton High School

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Hometown: Wood Dale

Parents: Anastasios and Effie Arianas

Sponsor: Nancy G. Connor

Class rank: First out of 352

GPA: 4.4681 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

Planned major: Biochemistry

Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Honor, Illinois State Scholar, High Honor roll, National Merit commended scholar

Personal statement: "A career in pediatric medicine has been a goal of mine for quite some time now. The idea of helping to improve the health and lives of others is one of the reasons why I know I will enjoy this career. It is my dream to help provide health care to the public, especially to people in locations and socioeconomic situations that prevent them from receiving adequate treatment. I look forward to the opportunity to be a medical advocate for children and their parents."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Maria has long had the goal to go into the field of medicine. With her natural gifts in math and science, her work ethic and her compassion, I cannot imagine a field more appropriate for her."

Andrew Bean

Glenbard South High School

Hometown: Glen Ellyn

Parents: Vern and Gabriella Bean

Sponsor: Kathy Holmberg

Class rank: First out of 316

GPA: 5.77 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2400

Planned major: Chemical engineering or computer science

Awards, honors: Math Team Individual state runner-up, National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction

Personal statement: "No part of high school can ever entirely prepare a person for what they will face when they leave. But when a person learns what they themselves can accomplish through perseverance, I believe they have mastered the most important thing they will ever need to know in order to be successful."

Sponsor's endorsement: "He is in an amazing array of activities, clubs, and music groups. It would take several paragraphs to even list all of his activities let alone to talk about the impact that Andrew has had. What stands out is that he is the leader in almost all of his activities, because he is responsible, well-organized, and mature."

Cassandra Crifase

Addison Trail High School

Hometown: Addison

Parents: Nicholas Crifase and the late Darcie Crifase

Sponsor: Anthony Cirrincione, teacher

Class rank: First out of 450

GPA: 4.8298 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34

Planned major: Chemical and biological engineering

Awards, honors: District 88's Best, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar

Personal statement: "In 2005, my mother passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer. As a neonatal nurse, she exposed me at a young age to the medical field; and as a patient, she involved our family in the organizations that support breast cancer research and awareness. When I, as a 9-year-old little girl, realized her severity, I wanted to fix her. ... I, inevitably, learned it was not that simple. I learned about the chemists, the doctors, and the scientists who work every day at discovering a cure, and I began to envision myself as one of them."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This individual is the model of what all students should aspire to become during their high school careers."

Jourdan Ewoldt

Glenbard East High School

Hometown: Lombard

Parents: Valerie and Eric Ewoldt

Sponsor: Christopher Pietsch, teacher

Class rank: First out of 615

GPA: 5.7447 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 33; SAT: 2140

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, All-Academic Conference, Scholar Athlete

Personal statement: "Overcoming my health struggles and maintaining all my activities has been my most important accomplishment in high school. Even after being continually worn down, experiencing painful experiences during exercise, fracturing a disk in my back, receiving a heart procedure, breaking my foot, and then getting surgery to remove fragments, I continued on to become first in my class, kept close friends, volunteered weekly at a local hospital, worked, and still made all the effort I could to play sports."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have no doubt that Jourdan will continue to grow and develop in order to be the best student and person whom she can be."

Megan Knister

Hinsdale Central High School

Hometown: Clarendon Hills

Parents: Jody and Russ Knister

Sponsor: Carol Bobo, guidance counselor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 5.9767 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2350

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Science Olympiad regional champion for helicopters and gravity vehicle

Personal statement: "I would love to continue working on projects such as these that reduce the carbon footprint, find cures for diseases, or make life easier. I have always enjoyed fixing things, and I would like to look at the world and feel like I fixed something inside it."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her healthy outlook on life and how she has taken the most challenging classes at school have only provided the background and backdrop for her to continue to enjoy the academic world around her as well as to seek out other experiences throughout the postsecondary years that will be coming her way."

Lucia Korpas

Naperville Central High School

Hometown: Naperville

Parents: Maria Villegas and Levente Korpas

Sponsor: Gregory Smith, guidance counselor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.653 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2320

Planned major: Mechanical engineering

Awards, honors: Achievement Award In Writing by the National Council of Teachers of English, National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction

Personal statement: "In the next few years, I hope to learn just as much outside of the classroom as from lectures and labs, if not more. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, all of whom can teach me something I would never have learned otherwise. And I hope that I -- in what I do, in how I speak and think, in the values I hold near to my heart -- will be worth learning from."

Sponsor's endorsement: "My nominee could become expert in anything she chose. She has chosen mechanical engineering for a college major and I am extremely confident that she will become a great engineer."

Alex J. Liu

Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville

Parents: John Liu and Cindy Miao

Sponsor: Shawna Stanley, guidance counselor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.67 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, Summa Cum Laude, AP Scholar with Distinction, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "My road is a road paved with inevitable failures. I know with certainty that not everything I do will be correct, successful, or important -- far from it. But accomplishments are what I have to keep my hopes alive in times of need. My awards, distinctions, and all that will come in the future are for me to remember that my scientific and mathematical pursuits are worth it. They are reminders that I have the ability to make the world a better place through the sciences."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I find him to be inquisitive, polite, mature, and passionate about learning. He is truly talented academically, athletically, and musically."

Vassil S. Mladenov

Lake Park High School

Hometown: Itasca

Parents: Stoimen Mladenov and Olia Mladenova

Sponsor: Jeanne Miller, counselor

Class rank: First out of 634

GPA: 5.68 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2260

Planned major: Computer science in engineering

Awards, honors: Spirit of Excellence, Pride in Performance, Academic Letters, National Merit finalist, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "I have been interested in computers since I was in preschool, and I always dreamed of becoming a programmer. Most of my personal projects have been programming oriented, and I have since gained experience in both text-based and graphical programming."

Sponsor's endorsement: "For the past four years, he has been a valued member of our math team. Junior year, he took first place in regional and was a member of the math team that won regional his sophomore year. This student always promotes the team concept of leadership -- individual commitment to a group effort."

Alana Osterling

Downers Grove North

Hometown: Downers Grove

Parents: Anne Sommerkamp and Steve Osterling

Sponsor: Karen Spahr-Thomas, social studies teacher

Class rank: First out of 502

GPA: 4.8182 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2200

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, Honor roll, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "With a degree in biomedical engineering, I could end up in industry, research, medicine, or even a government agency; however I know my mission is to give everyone an equal chance to receive the most up-to-date medical treatments, regardless of which profession I choose. Although I probably would not have guessed it, my experiences in high school will most likely prove to be an invaluable resource in my efforts to do so."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Alana is 'heads above' the rest of her peers, but is so humble in her personality. She is honest to the core and she has always exhibited the highest academic and personal integrity."

Danny Zhuang

Metea Valley High School

Hometown: Aurora

Parents: Peng Wang and Qingyu Zhuang

Sponsor: Amanda Pyzik, guidance counselor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.75 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 2360

Planned major: Economics and computer science

Awards, honors: American Computer Science League national qualifier, United States of America Computing Olympiad silver division finalist

Personal statement: "Whether I look at science, finance, business, or learning disorders, I see many real problems that can be solved through computer programming. Envisioning its potential to both optimize business and finance and to help individuals with autism personalize learning, I aspire to use my programming skills to start a software company that develops cutting-edge applications and products."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Danny is the kind of student who makes you forget he is 10-plus years younger than you. He relates to individuals of all backgrounds and ages, and any conversation quickly becomes interesting and engaging."

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