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updated: 5/8/2014 3:28 PM

Meet the 2013-2014 DuPage County Academic Team

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  • The DuPage County Academic Team at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. From left: Aashna Patel, Lake Park High School; Anand Desai, Glenbard North; Richard Maganini, Glenbard West; Kevin Shah, Neuqua Valley; Sebastian Wagner-Carena, Naperville North; Kimberly Dauber, Naperville North; Rose Thompson, Metea Valley; Lauren Liebman, Wheaton North and Wendi Guraziu, Glenbard East. Not pictured: Katie Portman, Downers Grove North High School.

       The DuPage County Academic Team at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. From left: Aashna Patel, Lake Park High School; Anand Desai, Glenbard North; Richard Maganini, Glenbard West; Kevin Shah, Neuqua Valley; Sebastian Wagner-Carena, Naperville North; Kimberly Dauber, Naperville North; Rose Thompson, Metea Valley; Lauren Liebman, Wheaton North and Wendi Guraziu, Glenbard East. Not pictured: Katie Portman, Downers Grove North High School.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Kimberly Dauber, Naperville North High School

      Kimberly Dauber, Naperville North High School

  • Anand Desai, Glenbard North High School

      Anand Desai, Glenbard North High School

  • Wendi Guraziu, Glenbard East High School

      Wendi Guraziu, Glenbard East High School

  • Lauren Liebman, Wheaton North High School

      Lauren Liebman, Wheaton North High School

  • Richard Maganini, Glenbard West High School

      Richard Maganini, Glenbard West High School

  • Aashna Patel, Lake Park High School

      Aashna Patel, Lake Park High School

  • Katie Portman, Downers Grove North High School

      Katie Portman, Downers Grove North High School

  • Kevin Shah, Neuqua Valley High School

      Kevin Shah, Neuqua Valley High School

  • Rose Thompson, Metea Valley High School

      Rose Thompson, Metea Valley High School

  • Sebastian Wagner-Carena, Naperville North High School

      Sebastian Wagner-Carena, Naperville North High School

 

Kimberly Dauber, Naperville North High School

Hometown: Naperville

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Parents: Barry and Dee Dauber

Sponsor: Geoff Schmit, instructor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.680 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2380

Planned major: Computer science (cybersecurity) and political science

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, Candidate for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 2013 Summer Science Program, honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "The stakes are high: national secrets, trillions of dollars, and the very identities of everyone online. I dream of becoming a leader in national cybersecurity. With my passions for cybersecurity and government and my leadership skills, I want to make a difference in the world by exploring how we can use technology to protect our country without compromising our rights."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Kim is exceptionally well prepared and learning the new concepts rapidly. She regularly applies advanced concepts in her programming labs that I haven't introduced yet."

Anand Desai, Glenbard North High School

Hometown: Hanover Park

Parents: Ila and Satish Desai

Sponsor: Kim Munro, school counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 660

GPA: 5.7660 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Bioengineering

Awards, honors: Academic Excellence Award, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Spanish Honor Society, National Merit commended scholar, AP Scholar, honor roll, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "I believe my background as a motivated student and individual is an asset no matter what I pursue. My curious nature and persevering attitude are some traits I've acquired throughout my childhood, and I feel they will be invaluable in my future. I've grown as a leader in my school and community, enjoying every opportunity to make decisions while working with others."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Anand is an exceptional young man. He is dedicated to everything that he has been involved in and highly committed to his academics. Anand is without a doubt the best student I have ever had the opportunity to work with, both academically and personally."

Wendi Guraziu, Glenbard East High School

Hometown: Lombard

Parents: Arben and Ariana Guraziu

Sponsor: Evelyn Schneider, counselor

Class rank: 3 out of 516

GPA: 5.6735 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 32

Planned major: Biology, bioengineering

Awards, honors: AP Scholar, National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, honor roll, National Honor Society, Tennis Academic All-Conference, Principal's Student Advisory Council, Spanish Honor Society

Personal statement: "I'm accepted to MIT, and I'm ecstatic to completely devote myself to the biological sciences along with some of the greatest minds in the world. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in this rich world. It has given me so much, and I'd like to contribute in return."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a thinker and a doer. As soon as she has a thought, she plans out her execution, (perfectly I might add) but without arrogance. She comes up with ideas and creates in her mind's eye the final product. She problem solves and reacts well to constructive criticism. I cannot wait to see who she becomes in life."

Lauren Liebman, Wheaton North High School

Hometown: Wheaton

Parents: Michael and Louise Liebman

Sponsor: Kim Wittersheim, counselor

Class rank: 5 out of 509

GPA: 5.69 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 2370

Planned major: Biomedical engineering and French horn performance

Awards, honors: National Merit finalist, AP Scholar with Honor, Presidential Scholars Program candidate, honor roll, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "When I look to my future, I am unsure of where my path may lead. I do not know if I will work in a laboratory or in an orchestra hall, I do not know if my attire will be a lab coat or concert black, and I do not know if the tools of my trade will be machinery powered by intricate technology or brass powered by my own lungs. What I do know is that I will not sacrifice one passion for the other, and that my history of academic success inspires me to continue excelling."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Lauren is without a doubt one of the most superb high schoolers I have ever encountered. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be a complete success in her future and be instrumental in some way in thousands of people's lives."

Richard Maganini, Glenbard West High School

Hometown: Glen Ellyn

Parents: Tammy Maganini

Sponsor: Jeremiah Wiencek, director of guidance

Class rank: 1 out of 549

GPA: 5.8043 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 2220

Planned major: Undecided/general studies with a pre-med track

Awards, honors: Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit semifinalist, honor roll, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "From seeing my surgeon uncle work in the operating room, and from the experience of having my late father as a cancer patient, I know how much of a blessing a talented, caring and considerate doctor can be. I want to strive to become that kind of doctor: one that works to maintain the safety of others' lives, and one that truly cares about the well-being of those in his care. It is a noble cause, and a job that would certainly be rewarding."

Sponsor's endorsement: "R.J. is a good athlete, an excellent student, and an extraordinary person. Yet nobody will ever hear this humble young man mention his class rank ... or how many accomplishments and responsibilities he has had without him being asked first."

Aashna Patel, Lake Park High School

Hometown: Bloomingdale

Parents: Dipak and Bijal Patel

Sponsor: Melisa Williams-Rivera, guidance counselor

Class rank: 1 out of 666

GPA: 5.7292 on a weighted 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 2190

Planned major: Public health

Awards, honors: AP Scholar, Spirit of Excellence Award, National Merit commended scholar, honor roll, National Honor Society, student government

Personal statement: "I consider myself very fortunate to have had so many life-changing shadowing and research experiences that have assisted me in discovering my genuine passion to pursue a career in the field of medicine. Although I only recently came to this conclusion, I spent my time in high school consistently propelling myself to surpass the normal standards of excellence."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Aashna Patel's passion for achieving success and acquiring knowledge are the first two sentiments that enter my mind whenever I am asked about her. Aashna embodies the commitment to academics and to her community necessary to excel in all her future endeavors."

Katie Portman, Downers Grove North

Hometown: Downers Grove

Parents: Chris and Carol Portman

Sponsor: Missy Carlson, English teacher and speech coach

Class rank: 1 out of 510

GPA: 4.8667 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2380

Planned major: Anthropology, cognitive science or evolutionary biology

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, French National Honor Society, Qualified to take AIME in 2013, honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar (nominee), Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "Although I have no definite life goals right now, I view this as more of an advantage than a hindrance. I know that if I continue to pursue what interests me and continue to nurture my love of learning, many opportunities will be available."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Katie on paper would seem to be the archetype of the overachieving student, yet I know I am fortunate to know her as a very real, very well-rounded, very mature person. She never projects the stressors of her over-packed schedule onto others; she never telegraphs her astounding achievements; she never turns down an opportunity to learn."

Kevin Shah, Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville

Parents: Rajendra and Meeta Shah

Sponsor: Chris Ruffolo, counselor

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.76 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Computer science and business

Awards, honors: Siemans Math and Science Competition National Semifinalist, Math Team All-State Honorable Mention, Math Team 2nd place State Junior Team, National Merit commended scholar, honor roll, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "Academic accomplishments are always something to admire; however, if these accomplishments can truly benefit others in the community, they will be respected. ... I hope to use the skills and qualities I have developed through these accomplishments to discover the unknown, such as a cure for a life-threatening disease, and positively impact the world as a whole."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Kevin is one of my students whom I keep on my radar for the right reasons. ... I am confident in his ability, integrity, and sense of humanity, and I fully support the goals he has established for himself."

Rose Thompson, Metea Valley High School

Hometown: Aurora

Parents: Christine and William Thompson

Sponsor: Scott Gregory, teacher

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.52 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2370

Planned major: Vocal performance and political science

Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Honor, Tri-M Music Honors Society, International Thespian Society, Presidential Scholar, DAR Good Citizens Award, Illinois State Scholar, High Honor roll

Personal statement: "I have known, always known, that my purpose in life is making one ephemerally eternal moment at a time, to educate and energize both myself and others, through the power and the gift and the love of music."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I could keep on listing awards that Rose has won (yes there are more) but the final thing you need to know is that Rose is a genuinely good person with a huge heart that wants to give back so much, there may not be enough time in her life to do so! Rose is one of those unique individuals and students that a teacher has once in a great while."

Sebastian Wagner-Carena, Naperville North High School

Hometown: Naperville

Parents: Carlos Wagner and Marcela Carena

Sponsor: Annie Rauen, communication arts teacher

Class rank: School doesn't rank

GPA: 4.857 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 2380

Planned major: Physics, economics

Awards, honors: United States Physics Olympiad semifinalist, Dartmouth Book Award, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Merit finalist, honor roll, National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar

Personal statement: "Simply put, I want to be a physicist. There's little doubt in my mind as to what draws me to physics. Few other sciences can claim to be as mathematically beautiful or conceptually revealing."

Sponsor's endorsement: "He has an authentic desire to learn and a keen spirit that make him both a gracious leader and a valuable contributor. He lives his life with a ravenous and voracious lust for discovery. But, above all, it is truly his sincere character and astute spirit that make not only a pleasure to have in class -- but a pleasure to know."

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