Lake County Academic Team, 2018-2019
Joshua Adisumarta, Grayslake Central High School
Hometown: Round Lake
Parents: Leonardus Adisumarta and Irene Lian Doko
Sponsor: Adriana Bisevac, teacher
GPA: 4.670 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT, 1490
Planned major: Chemical and biomolecular engineering
Awards, honors: Nominated to Illinois Boys State 2018; National AP Scholar 2018/AP Scholar with Distinction; graduated summa cum laude
Personal statement: "Living in Jakarta the first 8 years of my life, I witnessed ... parents beg for food and medicine and heard the cries of children disfigured by disease. I hope that by innovating the production of food and medicine as a chemical engineer, it will revolutionize the way we address the adverse effects of poverty and directly impact the lives of people I couldn't help before."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Josh is an individual who not only possesses an innate intellect, but a sense of initiative and dedication to learning that I have seen few students possess to his extent. He is a student who assumes great responsibility, and accepts challenges to better himself as an individual."
Rachel Assaf, Lakes Community High School
Parents: Nasser Assaf and Mary Assaf
Sponsor: Calysta Will, counselor
GPA: 4.660 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT, 1600
Planned major: Double major in neuroscience and global health studies on a pre-medicine track at Northwestern University
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist, Presidential Scholar candidates, AP Scholar with Distinction.
Personal statement: "I want to use science to improve quality of life, and becoming a neurologist will allow me to do so. I also want to combine policy-related academic activities with the study of health policies so I can contribute to a health system that will better serve those in need."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Rachel's academic accomplishments are just a fraction of who she is and the passion she brings to life. Rachel hopes to pursue a career as a medical doctor with an emphasis in health care management. She is patient, gentle, resilient and treats everyone with kindness and respect. Those qualities help create a natural ability to care for others and remain a leader in every one of her pursuits."
Santiago Currea, Warren Twp. High School
Parents: Santiago and Adriana Currea
Sponsor: Jen Scahill, counselor
GPA: 4.72 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT, 1500
Planned major: Civil engineering
Awards, honors: National Hispanic Recognition Program scholar; Scholastic Achievement Award; Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "Being a family of immigrants, nobody owns a Ferrari or lives on a 200-acre property. My family did what they could to give the next generation a chance. The bottomless pit of motivation I reach into every day has been formed by my family, and I have nothing but appreciation and gratitude for their hard work. That inseparable bond I share with them is what sows the seeds of the success I hope to reach in my future."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I am just in awe of Santiago. He gives 100% to every activity he is involved with. He has an incredibly demanding course load and he manages it with ease. In addition to his academics, Santiago is also a varsity athlete, a regular volunteer with Lake County Teen Court, and he caddies at a local country club."
Katelyn Dohler, Vernon Hills High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Amy and Daaron Dohler
Sponsor: Nicholas Austin, counselor
GPA: 4.624 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT, 35; SAT, 1550
Planned major: Medicine, Health and Society
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Sugarman World Languages Award
Personal statement: "As high school draws to a close, I am incredibly proud of my accomplishments and who I have become. I have grown as a person and as a student, discovering new interests and taking action to pursue my passions. In my quest for academic success, I have learned firsthand that hard work pays off, especially when combined with curiosity, creativity and kindness."
Sponsor's endorsement: "It is amazing what Katelyn has accomplished at VHHS. Yet, when I think about her it is not her past accomplishments I primarily think about; it is what I think she will do with the rest of her life. It would not surprise me if in 10 years she is working in a rundown clinic in Honduras, communicating with poor people in their native tongue and giving them the medication they desperately need."
Jake Duffy, Libertyville High School
Parents: Fred and Shelley Duffy
Sponsor: Judi Neuberger, counselor
GPA: 4.0 on a traditional 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT, 36; SAT, 1600
Planned major: Computer science, physics and mathematics
Awards, honors: U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee; Physics Bowl regional champion; 2017 and 2019 qualifier, American Intermediate Mathematics Examination
Personal statement: "For as long as I remember I have been fascinated by, and excelled at, anything related to math. I will pursue a career in software development, with an emphasis in either machine learning and data science, or modeling real-world events with code -- an excellent opportunity to continue to learn and explore subjects that I love."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Jake is brilliant, but he also brings people together. Like many students, he was deeply affect by the Parkland shootings. At first he felt helpless, but found his voice and worked with other students to organize a peaceful protest. This may have been the experience that convinced Jake he wants to be a part of change and he wants to make a difference."
Saranya Menon, Warren Twp. High School
Parents: Sangeetha and Sreekumar Menon
Sponsor: Betsy Sagala, counselor
GPA: 4.74 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT, 1570
Planned major: Neuroscience
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; 1st place, Disease Detectives (Illinois Science Olympiad); AP Scholar with Distinction
Personal statement: "I hope to eventually become a doctor, aiding in better comprehension of myriad diseases that afflict people all over the world. By integrating psychological and biological concepts to explain the scientific phenomena that occur in the brain and its effects on peoples' lives and behavior, I hope to aid in treating people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression and anxiety, whose numbers seem ever-increasing."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Saranya has earned A's in every course here at WTHS, amassed over 250 volunteer hours at the local hospital, participated in several student organizations and played on our tennis team. She even manages to find time for her passions: singing, playing the piano and writing short stories."
Alexa Pomerantz, Vernon Hills High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Jeff Pomerantz, Valerie Urow
Sponsor: DeAnn Firnbach, counselor
GPA: 4.615 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1590
Planned major: Mathematics
Awards, honors: Innovation Fair winner, 2018; History Fair state finalist, 2018; Sugarman Award for Spanish language (2016-2018)
Personal statement: "I do not know exactly what I want to do in life, so it is important to have choices. I don't know whether it will be the business side of math, the engineering side or pure math, but I am looking forward to finding out. Afterward, I am certain it will lead me to a satisfying career. I know that I want to make a positive impact."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Curious, thorough and authentic are words used to describe Alexa. But that is not all of Alexa. She is also empathetic and real. She understands the need for human connections and has worked at not getting lost in her academics, expectations and perfectionism. Alexa is perpetually nice, even while needing to correct a teacher or peer on wrong information. Other students thrive in groups with Alexa."
Sarah Sobol, Lake Zurich High School
Hometown: Lake Zurich
Parents: Paul Sobol and Cydney Sobol
Sponsor: Meghan Wood, counselor
GPA: 5.1958 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1580
Planned major: Chemical engineering; with biotechnology and biochemical engineering minors
Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Illinois State Scholar
Personal statement: "I realized through tutoring other students that I want to be able to make an impact on the people around me. Through chemical engineering and specializations such as genetic engineering and tissue engineering, I could make an impact in the medical field. Hopefully, one day my research will benefit those around me, or help find treatments for diseases that affect millions of people across the globe."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I am most impressed by her strong interest in medical research, biochemistry and mathematics; her genuine curiosity propelled her to enroll and prosper in Advanced Placement courses, preparing her for the rigor that fuels her fire at the collegiate level. Sarah is an exceptional learner with an extraordinary mind."
Tony Tan, Stevenson High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Candace Tan, Zhifu Tao
Sponsor: Amerigo Carnazzola, AP Biology teacher
GPA: 4.83 on a weight 4.0 scale
Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1560
Planned major: Computer science, information and data sciences, physics
Awards, honors: Science Olympiad National Medals in bridge building and wind power; Drake Physics Prize, first place; MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge semifinalist, finalist teams
Personal statement: "As soon as 'Hello World' first graced my screen, I was hooked. Code could logically list my ideas from the table to the sky -- no artistic talent required! My projects and papers over the last four years have solidified my love of problem solving, which I hope to pursue in whatever situations arise. Computer science has become the foundation of society."
Sponsor's endorsement: "At first, Tony appears to be quiet and reserved, but this hides his inner drive and tenacity when faced with a challenge. Tony is a conscientious, hardworking individual of the highest moral and ethical character. His honesty and sincerity shine through in all he does."
Angela Zhang, Stevenson High School
Hometown: Long Grove
Parents: Liming Zhang, Yun Cao
Sponsor: Keith Hannigan, history teacher
GPA: 4.83 on a weighted 4.0 scale
Test scores: SAT, 1570 combined
Planned major: Mathematics
Awards, honors: M3 Challenge finalist; National Physics Olympiad semifinalist; three-time AIME qualifier
Personal statement: "In junior year, my math team coach introduced the M3 Challenge, a 14-hour competition using mathematical modeling to solve a real-world problem. As captain, I led our team in creating a multivariate model for feeding the food-insecure population in Texas with repurposed food waste; validated the model with pre-existing data; and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of our solution. It was my first exposure to mathematical modeling and applied mathematics."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Angela's achievements are so deep and accomplished with such apparent ease, the normal narrative does not apply. I worry that reciting all her qualities and awards will sound hollow. Surely, you will think, she can't really be that great. Actually ... she is."