Lake County Academic Team, 2018-2019

  • The 10 members of the 2019 Lake County Academic team are, front row, from left: Rachel Assaf, Lakes Community High School; Katelyn Dohler, Vernon Hills High School; and Joshua Adisumarta, Grayslake Central High School. Middle row, from left: Angela Zhang, Stevenson High School; Saranya Menon, Warren Township High School; Sarah Sobol, Lake Zurich High School; and Santiago Currea, Warren Township High School. Back row, from left: Tony Tan, Stevenson High School; Jake Duffy, Libertyville High School and Alexa Pomerantz, Vernon Hills High School.

      The 10 members of the 2019 Lake County Academic team are, front row, from left: Rachel Assaf, Lakes Community High School; Katelyn Dohler, Vernon Hills High School; and Joshua Adisumarta, Grayslake Central High School. Middle row, from left: Angela Zhang, Stevenson High School; Saranya Menon, Warren Township High School; Sarah Sobol, Lake Zurich High School; and Santiago Currea, Warren Township High School. Back row, from left: Tony Tan, Stevenson High School; Jake Duffy, Libertyville High School and Alexa Pomerantz, Vernon Hills High School. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 5/30/2019 7:59 AM

Joshua Adisumarta
Joshua Adisumarta
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
Rachel Assaf
Rachel Assaf, Lakes Community High School

Hometown: Lindenhurst

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
Santiago Currea
Santiago Currea, Warren Twp. High School

Hometown: Gurnee

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
Katelyn Dohler
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
Jake Duffy
Jake Duffy, Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville

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
Saranya Menon
Saranya Menon, Warren Twp. High School

Hometown: Gurnee

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
Alexa Pomerantz
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
Sarah Sobol
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
Tony Tan
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
Angela Zhang
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."

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