Fox Valley Academic Team, 2016-2017

Amelia Deering, Elgin Academy

Hometown: Batavia

Parents: Bonita and Patrick Deering

Sponsor: Dan Raffery, college counselor

GPA: 4.15 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1520

Planned major: History and German

Awards, honors: Dartmouth College Book Award, Cum Laude Society, Excellence in U.S. History

Personal statement: "My passion for the German language is an extension of my love of stories, for knowing another language gives me access to a different culture in the way it was first created. I explored this ability my senior year when I studied German literature independently, reading four books in their original language and studying them as I would an American book in my English class."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Amelia decided that she wanted to juxtapose a German textbook's point of view with an American one on German history from Bismarck's unification in 1876 until the end of World War II. Amelia translated the German textbook on her own, and over the course of that year she wrote a 103-page MLA-formatted paper. It was a brilliant piece of historical writing that rivaled work of college students."

Amanda Rose Drobek, St. Edward Central Catholic High School

Amanda Rose Drobek. St. Edward Central Catholic

Hometown: West Dundee

Parents: Janus and Katrina Drobek

Sponsor: Kerry O'Brien, director of counseling

GPA: 4.617 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 33

Planned major: Management, Spanish

Awards, honors: Elgin Rotary Club Straight A Award - 4 years, High Honor Roll - 4 years, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "In the future, I want to hold a position at an international company and help businesses solve their global problems. I have received leadership awards, which lets me know that I have an ability to lead others and that skill will definitely come in handy in my future career. The work ethic that I have developed in receiving the awards that I have will carry with me throughout college and into my career."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Sure, she's the smartest person in the room, but you would never know it; not because she is shy or not confident enough to speak up. She is supremely confident and does speak up. No, it's because she doesn't want to show up anybody."

Maisy Feeley, Elgin Academy

Maisy Feeley, Elgin Academy

Hometown: Wayne

Parents: Sean and Jackie Feeley

Sponsor: Doug Sept, Upper School director

GPA: 4.14 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 32

Planned major: Biology, French

Awards, honors: Bausch & Lomb Junior Science Award, Cum Laude Society, Elgin Rotary Club Straight A Award - four time recipient

Personal statement: "By pursuing life, change, and problem solving, I have determined that one of my goals in life is to make some sort of positive change. While I know that sounds vague, I yearn to help human beings and the world around us through whatever means I can. As co-president of our Environmental Club, I know that even seemingly small change ripples outward. Small change is still change."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Maisy has been a model student, and she has crafted a most impressive academic resume. Although we do not traditionally rank students, her grade-point average of 4.14 is among the top in the class. None of our classes are weighted, so the only way that a student can earn a GPA greater than a 4.0 is through earning A+ grades."

Jacob Fiedler, Marian Central Catholic High School

Jacob Fiedler, Marian Central Catholic

Hometown: Crystal Lake

Parents: Maureen and Howard Fiedler

Sponsor: Debra Novy, principal

GPA: 4.63 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Mathematics, physics

Awards, honors: Valedictorian, National Merit Finalist, Fenton Scholastic Bowl Turnabout Tournament-Highest Scoring Individual

Personal statement: "I want nothing more than to be a part of expeditions into intellectually uncharted territory. Mathematics and physics are completely ripe with fruitful fields to explore and expand. More than that, every time a major discovery is made, it opens up not one new question, but a bevy of tantalizing avenues to continue to explore. One result can quickly turn into a dozen. This is something that I love deeply about the fields that I have selected."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Academically he is truly one of our school's finest students. He may be one of the most intelligent young men that I have ever met and worked with. His cumulative GPA is the top in the class, and yet it isn't even impacted by the college level math classes that he has taken."

Alan Koval, St. Charles East High School

Alan Koval, St. Charles East High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Parents: Julie and Rick Koval

Sponsor: Jeff Bialeschki, counselor

GPA: 5.850 on a 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Double major in math and computer science

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, National AP Scholar

Personal statement: "As a four-year member of math team, I am striving to develop the subtle and powerful skill of problem solving. Problem solving is the meat and potatoes of the STEM field, the pride and joy of engineers everywhere. As a programmer, I savor and enjoy the innovation that problem solving brings from a practical standpoint, but also the logical and creative mindset it carries. There is nothing like a quality math problem to contort the brain in new directions."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Not only is Alan a National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with distinction who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT and a 1510 on the SAT, he is also a young man whose outgoing, friendly and genuine personality have made him a role model for other members of our high school community."

Eshan Mehrotra, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Eshan Mehrotra, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Naperville

Parents: Ashish and Seema Mehrotra

Sponsor: David McGovern, counselor

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Physics

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

Personal statement: "I will be attending Cornell University because the institution provides an extensive opportunity to do research in the two fields I am passionately curious about - biophysics and mathematics - the two subjects that are an ideal combination of my current academic interests and potential future career. I am fascinated by the computational properties of biological systems. I love mathematics, and I am especially interested in how we can use new mathematical techniques to describe biological systems quantitatively."

Sponsor's endorsement: "During his junior year, Eshan participated in a formative experience at the University of Illinois at Chicago as part of IMSA's Student Inquiry and Research program. Eshan was thrilled to be part of a research team led by Dr. Louis Kauffman - a world-renowned mathematician known for his discovery of the Kauffman Polynomial as well as virtual knot theory."

Caitlin O'Callaghan, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Caitlin O'Callaghan, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Algonquin

Parents: Helena and Kevin O'Callaghan

Sponsor: Julia Husen

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors: Highest GPA Varsity Cross Country (2013) and Varsity Soccer (2014), National Merit Commended Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "While growing up, I was intrigued by surgical tools and their development. This interest led me to the field of biomedical engineering. Utilizing opportunities at my high school and in my community, I took my interests to the next level by conducting research at University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Feinberg School of Medicine."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Caitlin has earned the reputation of being a model student - she is always well prepared, has a genuine love of learning, and no one works harder to maximize their potential than Caitlin. I can also say that Caitlin has a real heart for helping others."

Nicole Palmer, St. Charles North High School

Nicole Renee Palmer, St. Charles North High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Parents: Kathleen and Mark Palmer

Sponsor: Jennifer Anderson, lead teacher for mathematics

GPA: 5.769 on a 5.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 1480

Planned major: Biological chemistry

Awards, honors: Math Team State Qualifier, AP Scholar, semifinalist in 2016 Technovation Worldwide competition for apps to aid the community

Personal statement: "All that I have strived to be, from curious to compassionate, is culminated within a physician's job. These important traits have originated from an eagerness to learn while growing from my surroundings. I must face my goals head on, doing everything in my power to prepare for them. I see the medical field as the pinnacle of science - thousands of years have been built up by understanding not just the world around us, but also ourselves."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Not only have I had the pleasure of having Nicole in class, but I have really come to know her through Math Team. Nicole's influence on others very much set the tone on the team that learning is fun."

Ryan Thornton, Marmion Academy

Ryan Thornton, Marmion Academy

Hometown: St. Charles

Parents: Shawn and Diane Thornton

Sponsor: Dan Thorpe, director of college guidance

GPA: 4.675 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Physics and computer engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Merit Scholarship from the University of Illinois, Air Force ROTC-Tier 1 four-year scholarship

Personal statement: "Along with rigorous academics, I supplemented my education by attending lectures at Fermilab, finding a love for physics. I began to view physics as the chemistry of chemistry, the key fundamentals underneath existence. This served to increase my focus on performing well academically, forming a goal of advancing the field of physics."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Though small in stature when he entered our school as a shy, self-effacing freshman, he has grown into a major leader amongst his peers while still being considerably small in stature as a senior. He is extremely respected by his peers and faculty for his excellent academic standing, but also because he is so thoughtful, curious and talented."

Maximilian Hall Troyke, Elgin High School

Maximilian Hall Troyke, Elgin High School

Hometown: Bartlett

Parents: Anthony and Janet Troyke

Sponsor: Cristina Cabrera, Gifted Academy director

GPA: 5.0 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1500

Planned major: Biochemistry, Spanish

Awards, honors: AP Scholar, National Merit Finalist, Rotary Club of Elgin Straight A award, four times

Personal statement: "With my undergraduate years in the near future, I have increasingly come to realize that my high school activities and accomplishments have been absolutely integral in preparing me for the rigorous process of becoming a pediatrician. Through my membership and leadership roles in various academic and service organizations, I realized that there are few things more wonderful than helping children and making them smile."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Max is one of the most creative students I have come across in my teaching career. He is a gifted writer whose skill is one of the best I have encountered in my career. He is a divergent thinker who sees the world as it is and imagines how it could be."

Honorable mentions: Fox Valley Academic Team, 2016-2017

A big thank you to this year’s Academic Team judges ...

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