Vidya Babu, Illinois Math and Science Academy
Parents: Sathuraman Babu and Siva Geetha
Sponsor: Suzanna Spedula
Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1580
Planned major: Nueroscience
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, Illinois State Scholar, Chicago Brain Bee Winner
Personal statement: "I am positive that I am headed in the right direction. After five conference presentations at the annual meetings of the Chicago Society for Neuroscience and the American Association of Anatomists, I have gained priceless exposure to the field and have only grown more and more firm in my desire to pursue both neuroscience and medicine as a career."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Vidya had her first 'aha' moment at the age of 7. She saw an episode of Ruff Ruffman's Fetch where kids visited a neurologist and learned how ice cream can cause brain freeze. Vidya knew then she wanted to become neurologist, and a lot has happened in the past 10 years to affirm her conviction. Vidya is dedicated to her goals ... she is a joy to work with."
Anjali Bhatt, Huntley High School
Hometown: Lake in the Hills
Parents: Anupama and Naren Bhatt
Sponsor: Angie Daurer, counselor
GPA: 4.6 on weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT: 1530
Planned major: Economics and business analytics
Awards, honors: Valedictorian, AP Scholar, Silver Cord Recipient
Personal statement: "Ultimately, I plan to pursue business consulting and corporate law. I do so because I love being the connecting junction, which is what a business does. Business is the uniting force of the world. Business supersedes borders, overcomes social and economic barriers, and connects different occupations. After all, we are not qualified in every field, but we strive to become the jack of all trades. Likewise, as a business consultant, I am a scholar. Each consulting project I work on, I will have the gift of scholarship as I learn more about the diverse problems companies strive to solve."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Anjali lives to learn. In my 11 years as a counselor I really don't think I have ever met someone quite like Anjali. Quintessential is the word I use to describe her; she has every single quality that will make her a success in any challenge."
Richard C. Demert III, Cary-Grove High School
Parents: Richard and Laura Demert
Sponsor: Susan Nelligan, English teacher
GPA: 4.9 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1500
Planned major: Pre-medicine
Awards, honors: Valedictorian, AP Capstone Diploma, Illinois State Scholar,
Personal statement: "From AP biology dissections of pigs, sharks, and cats to AP literature book analyses, the skills that I have developed from my classes during high school have already begun to shape me toward my ultimate goal of becoming a doctor."
Sponsor's endorsement: "His test scores suggest to anyone that he is smart; his class rank and course work confirm he is a hard worker; as his teacher who's worked him the last two years, I can tell you he is the real deal. ... To elaborate, I have seen him help his classmates when they need it, either by editing their work or guiding them through challenges when stuck in their research. I have seen him as a leader in group work and presenting of material."
Sharene Gould Dulabaum, Elgin Academy
Parents: Harry Gould and Nina Dulabaum
Sponsor: Doug Sept, Upper School Director
GPA: 4.19 on traditional 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 32
Planned major: Chemistry or biology
Awards, honors: Cum Laude Society, George Eastman Young's Leadership Award, AP Scholar
Personal statement: "I realized that, throughout high school, I have invested my time in so many different disciplines and have appreciated what every single one of them has offered me; it became clear that an integrative major like environmental studies would be for me. In the future, I hope to be employed by a nonprofit or the government, protecting and preserving ecosystems."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Sharene is truly an exceptional student and a pillar of our school community. She is widely regarded at our school for her diverse interests, her enthusiasm for learning, her environmental activism, and her genuine decency. One of Sharene's talents is to recognize problems and then proceed to galvanize support for solving those problems."
Karan Gowda, Elgin Academy
Parents: Manjula Ramaiah and Mahesh Parvathi
Sponsor: Doug Sept, Upper School Director
GPA: 4.14 on a traditional 4.0
Test scores: ACT: 35
Planned major: Public health, biology
Awards, honors: Cum Laude Society, AP Scholar, Elgin Noon Rotary Club Straight A Award
Personal statement: "This fall I will attend Northwestern University. I am going to be a pre-med student with no indication right now of what I want to major in. Once I get there, I want to use the platform of interests I have already built and develop my goals. If I become a doctor, I want to make sure that I am utilizing knowledge from all subjects to be a better doctor."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Having taught Karan in World Cultures I his freshman year and serving as an adviser to his current independent endeavor, I can say that he possesses an excellent work ethic and exceptional intellectual curiosity. He wrote a great research paper as a freshman concerning the Ebola virus, in which he proposed solutions for studying and containing it."
Sheehwa Darius Hong, Illinois Math and Science Academy
Parents: Robert and Sue Hong
Sponsor: Julia Husen, counselor
GPA: 4.0 on traditional 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 36
Planned major: Economics and biomedical engineering
Awards, honors: Biology Olympiad Semifinalist, Siemens Competition in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Semifinalist, National Merit Finalist
Personal statement: "My first true passion was science, and I have driven this love for knowledge and research to the farthest level that I know how. I took all the most challenging biology courses in my school while also studying for the USA Biology Olympiad."
Sponsor's endorsement: "How do I write a letter of recommendation for a 17-year-old who thinks like a graduate student? Raised by two hard-working immigrant parents, Darius learned the importance of a strong work ethic early. Even at our high school, one of the most rigorous high schools in the nation, Darius meets every deadline and finishes every project with the highest quality."
Keith Mokry, Marmion Academy
Parents: William and Mary Mokry
Sponsor: Mary Strand
GPA: 4.877 on weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1560
Planned major: Physics or nuclear engineering
Awards, honors: Rensselaer Medal - Top math/science junior student; National Latin Honor Society; Superior Cadet Award, yearly JROTC award recognizing the best Cadet per year and level; National Merit Finalist, valedictorian.
Personal statement: "From a young age, I have always been intrigued by the 'hows' and 'whys' of the world around me. A fascination with the forces of nature and the laws that describe them has always surrounded my everyday life. I remember fondly my days as a child spent watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, 'Modern Marvels,' and, most especially, the inspiring science television series 'Cosmos.' I am quite plainly a curious person. That is precisely why I have been in love with physics since I was a fifth-grader."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I first met this student as a freshman and he immediately stood out as one of the most intelligent, inquisitive, talented, responsible and passionate students, but even more impressive was his noncondescending manner, generosity ... and his willingness to help his classmates."
Jacqueline Oh, St. Charles North High School
Hometown: St. Charles
Parents: Ellen and Andrew Oh
Sponsor: Karen Porter
GPA: 5.756 on weighted 6.0 scale
Test scores: SAT: 1570
Planned major: Computer science
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar, Semifinalist in Technovation Competition
Personal statement: "My love for math is now inextricably intertwined with my love for programming. Both will help prepare me for whichever computer science path I choose. At the moment, I am most interested in pursuing a career in machine learning, a field that I explored in depth the summer after my junior year during an internship at the Athinoula Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging."
Sponsor's endorsement: "It is not just her academic record that makes her stand out among the crowd. Her interest in research, innovation, and learning have led her to opportunities that have forever changed her life. As a team leader, she created an app in a Technovation competition, took summer college courses at Brown and Yale and spent this past summer as an intern at a lab that focuses on MRI research and methods."
Liam Ryan, Crystal Lake South High School
Hometown: Crystal Lake
Parents: Eamon and Linda Ryan
Sponsor: Michael Collins, counselor
GPA: 4.859 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 1430
Planned major: Pre-medicine
Awards, honors: AP Scholar, National Merit Commended Scholar, Nominee of Illinois Principal's Leadership Award
Personal statement: "In AP Chemistry, I loved learning how complicated molecules form and interact with each other. My fascination with the science behind the human body, a desire to help others, and a personal understanding from shadowing my own doctor of the importance of positive interpersonal relationships, makes becoming a doctor a natural fit for me."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Spend any amount of time around Liam, and one will quickly discover an intelligent, responsible, and self-driven young man. Liam possesses an inquisitive and curious nature and an absolute passion for medicine. When Liam discovered there was no medical or future physicians club, he took it upon himself to consult with the activities director, find a faculty sponsor, and create the organization."
Natalie Sweeney, Batavia High School
Parents: Kristin and Roger Sweeney
Sponsor: Corey Bernard
GPA: 4.375 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1520
Planned major: Civil engineering, music
Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Distinction, WYSE Regional 1st Place in English, National Merit Finalist
Personal statement: "As a high-achieving math and science student, my potential as a future engineer has always excited my parents and relatives. From a young age I was encouraged over Thanksgiving dinners and Easter brunches to follow in my Uncle Steve's footsteps and become a civil engineer. Fast-forward some years, and it turns out civil engineering really does interest and excite me."
Sponsor's endorsement: "To say that Natalie is a well-rounded student is an understatement. On top of managing a rigorous course load, she is extremely active in our theater department, where she has earned several leading and supporting roles in our school productions. Natalie's excellent public speaking and communication skills make her stand above the rest."