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posted: 6/6/2018 5:30 AM

Northwest Suburban Academic Team, 2017-2018

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  • The Northwest Suburban Academic Team, gathered at Harper College. From left: Nitinshankar Subramanian, Conant High School; Allison Zhang, Conant High School; Carissa N. Lehning, Elk Grove High School; Uma Pradeepan, Schaumburg High School; Jeremy Yoder, St. Viator High School; Kevin Chen, William Fremd High School; Bhagirath Mehta, Maine West High School; John McDonough, Hersey High School and Megha Ramanathan, Hoffman Estates High School. Not pictured: Hari Ramakrishnan, Barrington High School.

      The Northwest Suburban Academic Team, gathered at Harper College. From left: Nitinshankar Subramanian, Conant High School; Allison Zhang, Conant High School; Carissa N. Lehning, Elk Grove High School; Uma Pradeepan, Schaumburg High School; Jeremy Yoder, St. Viator High School; Kevin Chen, William Fremd High School; Bhagirath Mehta, Maine West High School; John McDonough, Hersey High School and Megha Ramanathan, Hoffman Estates High School. Not pictured: Hari Ramakrishnan, Barrington High School.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 

Kevin Chen, William Fremd High School
Kevin Chen, William Fremd High School
Kevin Chen, William Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Hao Chen and Bing Ren

Sponsor: John Baima, Counselor

GPA: 4.0 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1590

Planned major: Biology, bioengineering

Awards, honors: AP Scholar, American Invitational Math Examination Qualifier, National Merit Finalist

Personal statement: "As a child, I ran around my neighborhood collecting leaves after learning about plant identification, and made a guidebook for leaf specimens. In high school, earning A's in three AP science courses (Physics C, Chemistry, Biology) in one year is considered nearly impossible, but I loved the challenge. I've expanded beyond the classroom to pursue advanced topics in science by participating in the USA math, physics, chemistry, and biology Olympiads."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I was talking with our Science Department Chair this morning about Kevin, and we decided that he is one of the top three students we have ever encountered. He possesses an intellectual curiosity coupled with a natural confidence that I have never encountered before."

Carissa Lehning, Elk Grove High School
Carissa Lehning, Elk Grove High School
Carissa N. Lehning, Elk Grove High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Parents: Frances and Richard Lehning

Sponsor: Colin Rice, chemistry teacher

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1570

Planned major: Chemistry

Awards, honors: Voice of Democracy, third place in District 214; National French Contest, sixth place; Speech Team, ninth place in state in radio category

Personal statement: "I plan to major in chemistry. I'll admit that I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with that degree; however, I've always been interested in materials science, and while I learn about the materials themselves in chemistry, I learn about their applications in engineering. Regardless of whether I'm on a stage or in a lab, whether I'm working on the next rocket to Mars or a soil reclamation project, in English or in French, I will do something fantastic and make a difference in the world."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Carissa has shown a strong passion for chemistry. She is an extremely hard worker, and always asks thought-provoking questions to seek deeper understanding of the content matter. Carissa is willing to explain, tutor or help explain concepts to her classmates."

John McDonough, John Hersey High School
John McDonough, John Hersey High School
John McDonough, John Hersey High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Paul and Marianna McDonough

Sponsor: Kent Borghoff, Social Science teacher

GPA: 4.67 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Economics and Russian

Awards, honors: Presidential Scholar Candidate, National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar

Personal statement: "In thinking about my high school achievements and their connection to my life goals, I realized that all of the auxiliary goals in my life could be summed up under one overarching goal: to exercise my God-given talents to the best of my ability, no matter the situation."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I first worked with John when he was a sophomore on the varsity Scholastic Bowl team that I coached. He was the only sophomore on the varsity team and his extensive knowledge of history, geography, and current events enabled him to respond to the most challenging questions against the most elite academic competition throughout the Northwest suburban area."

Bhagirath Mehta, Maine West High School
Bhagirath Mehta, Maine West High School
Bhagirath Mehta, Maine West High School

Hometown: Des Plaines

Parents: Prashant and Pragna Mehta

Sponsor: Audrey Haugan

GPA: 4.96 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1580

Planned major: Computer Science, Linguistics

Awards, honors: First Place in Math Kangaroo International Math Competiton, AP Scholar, National Merit Finalist

Personal statement: "This past summer, I ran a coding camp, #HelloWorldBootCamp, for future Maine West students, teaching them programming in HTML, CSS and JavaScript to make websites on a topic of social good. I was later invited by Argonne National Lab to teach senior scientists to make websites."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Bhagirath has been coming to high school since sixth grade, when his junior high ran out of classes for him to take there. He started with Accelerated Math Analysis as a sixth-grader, moving on to Geometry and Trigonometry Accelerated in seventh grade, and AP Calculus BC in eighth grade. He received all A's in those classes, where he sat among high school juniors and seniors."

Uma Pradeepan, Schaumburg High School
Uma Pradeepan, Schaumburg High School
Uma Pradeepan, Schaumburg High School

Hometown: Schaumburg

Parents: Rajasree Ellath and Pradeepan Kunhiraman

Sponsor: Brent Swolsky, Counselor

GPA: 5.105 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1580

Planned major: Computer science

Awards, honors: Math Team: ICTM State, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "The reason why I want to major in computer science, besides my love for thinking critically through abstract mathematical problems, is because it enables me to fulfill my purpose of connecting people with knowledge. The data which computer scientists manage is the same information which people in certain specializations treasure so dearly. I despise the idea of so many individuals' brain power and efforts going to waste, which is why, as my skill sets as a Computer Science major grow, I want to help facilitate the sharing of knowledge."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Uma's strength as an individual is in her desire to expand her learning beyond the traditional classroom. One of Uma's most notable accomplishments came during the summer of 2017, as she earned an internship with the Chicago Field Museum."

Hari Ramakrishnan, Barrington Community High School
Hari Ramakrishnan, Barrington Community High School
Hari Ramakrishnan, Barrington High School

Hometown: Lake Barrington

Parents: Lakshmi and Subramanian Ramakrishnan

Sponsor: Timothy Martin, counselor

GPA: 4.802 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1600

Planned major: Engineering

Awards, honors: One of four projects presented at 2016 National Project Lead the Way Summit, 2017 AP Microeconomics Exam Perfect Score, National French Contest Silver Medal, National Merit Finalist, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "My experiences volunteering at Citizens for Conservation brought me closer to the nature in my local community, but also to the problems that humans bring to their environment. I wanted to explore these problems and their connections to global environmental issues, so I sought out summer research opportunities in the environmental science field."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Hari Ramakrishnan is one of the most remarkable students I have had in all of my years in education. As impressive as his academic achievements are, I really think his emotional intelligence level is even more remarkable."

Megha Ramanathan, Hoffman Estates High School
Megha Ramanathan, Hoffman Estates High School
Megha Ramanathan, Hoffman Estates High School

Hometown: Hoffman Estates

Parents: Balaji Ramanathan and Krithika Ramanathan

Sponsor: Heidi E. Davey, English teacher

GPA: 5.057 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1520

Planned major: Computer science

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar, Richard C. Kolze Achievement Award

Personal statement: "My goal is to contribute to society in a meaningful way through the use of technology and computer programming, as well as to simply appreciate and nurture the natural curiosity and passion that I have for puzzles, big and small."

Sponsor's endorsement: "There is much that comes easily to this student as far as an instantaneous grasp of what is relevant, moving, or otherwise interesting, but you would not know this from the incredible work ethic that is demonstrated daily. She could do a more superficial or cursory approach to assignments and still more than meet standards for mastery and A-earning, but she never does. The depth and precision of every assignment is amazing."

Nitinshankar Subramanian, James B. Conant High School
Nitinshankar Subramanian, James B. Conant High School
Nitinshankar Subramanian, James B. Conant High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Parents: Subramanian Sankaran and Nirmala Subramanian

Sponsor: Matt Wiley, counselor

GPA: 3.977 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1590

Planned major: Data science

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, Illinois State Scholar, Debate State Champion

Personal statement: "During the winter of my junior year, I started to contact college football and basketball teams about doing analytical work for them. I sent email after email, but was met with rejection after rejection. Finally, Northwestern -- my 10th attempt at connecting with a program -- offered me an internship. My experience provided me an unparalleled opportunity to learn and experiment at a big-time sports institution."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Nitin has been selected to be on the Illinois School Board of Education Student Council, a position that he takes very seriously. Nitin founded a tutoring organization that has raised over $2,000 to educate children in his family's native country of India -- an incredible philanthropic feat."

Jeremy Yoder, St. Viator High School
Jeremy Yoder, St. Viator High School
Jeremy Yoder, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Parents: Dennis and Michelle Yoder

Sponsor: Stephanie Spiewak

GPA: 105.39 on weighted 100 point scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT: 1540

Planned major: Business, data analytics

Awards, honors: Salutatorian, National Merit Finalist, Vicariate Youth Leadership Award

Personal statement: "I don't live for school; I live for people. I live to connect with them, to feel their pain, to ease their struggles, and what this says of my motives could not be more telling of my goals. I long for so much more in life than academic achievement. I am neither afraid of hard work nor a stranger to it, but I simply want so much more from this world. Whatever my degree, whatever my path, I will always be in the business of caring for others."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Jeremy is a student who could be considered 'the face of Saint Viator.' One could say he is the total package -- intelligent, school spirit, mature and extremely humble. It would be easy for some students to be jealous of the type of student Jeremy is, however, he is most respected among his peers."

Allison Zhang, James B. Conant High School
Allison Zhang, James B. Conant High School
Allison Zhang, James B. Conant High School

Hometown: Schaumburg

Parents: Janet Gao and Heng Zhang

Sponsor: Matt Wiley, Counselor

GPA: 5.0 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1580

Planned major: Applied mathematics, economics

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "My dream is to work in finance or investment banking, both careers which require a strong mathematical foundation and a perception of economic behavior. Each decision is a balance of risk and reward, with consequences for each action taken. Through this process, I hope to become a role model for young girls who are looking to pursue a degree in mathematics to prove to them that women can still make an impact in a male-dominated field."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Allison's contributions to the school do not stop in academics and music, she also has been a strong team member on our lacrosse team for the entirety of her high school career. One would be hard-pressed to find a student as well-rounded and successful as Allison."

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