Northwest Suburban Academic Team, 2018-2019

Ashley Adams, Prospect High School

Hometown: Mount Prospect

Parents: Judy and Mark Adams

Sponsor: Qiana Drye, history teacher

GPA: 4.48 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Psychology and neuroscience on the pre-med track

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "I know, of course, that my desire to help those with mental disorders is an overwhelmingly large goal. I know it will take work so hard I'll feel like quitting, and perseverance beyond what I can imagine. However, I also know that what I have accomplished so far has prepared me incredibly well. I've never been one to quit."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Ashley is a wonderful student to have in a classroom, as her main academic priority is to challenge herself to the fullest. She is also involved in volleyball, basketball, soccer, Service Club, Leading Incoming Knights, the Principal's Advisory Committee and the Knight's Way leadership and character development program. It is amazing a student could be involved in so many activities and still be at the top of her class."

Clarissa Gomez

Clarissa Gomez, Hersey High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Eric and Regina Gomez

Sponsor: Jackie Ballarini, math teacher

GPA: 4.70 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1600

Planned major: Chemistry, with pre-med track

Awards, honors: National Chemistry Olympiad honors (top 151 nationally); National Spanish Exam, Medallon de Oro (95th percentile); AP Physics/Electricity & Magnetism Exam perfect score.

Personal statement: "I plan to pursue an M.D. degree and research either food allergies or cancer treatments. The confidence and credibility that my academic experiences have afforded me allow me to share the benefits with others. I believe that helping my community, whether through tutoring, team projects or a career in medical research, has been and will continue to be my greatest accomplishment of all."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In addition to excelling in the most rigorous courses available at our highly competitive high school and being an active member of our community, she seeks out opportunities outside of school to extend and stretch her abilities."

Maura Hogaboom

Maura Hogaboom, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Colleen Gaughan and Dave Hogaboom

Sponsor: T.J. King, counselor

GPA: 160.85 on weighted 100-point scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1560

Planned major: Psychology and neuroscience on the pre-med track

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; St. Viator Class of 2019 valedictorian; AP Scholar with Distinction

Personal statement: "I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. I am beyond grateful for the educational resources with which I have been blessed, in a community brimming with love and support. I aspire to a career in which I serve others through the cultivation of positive relationships and the application of my love of learning - specifically, to become a physician in underprivileged areas, helping to decrease the health care disparity."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I am highly impressed with Maura's ability to manage the stress that comes with such a demanding curriculum; without a doubt she is prepared for the rigors of the most challenging colleges."

Joseph Hong

Joseph Hong, Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Sungjin Hong and Mihyang Hong

Sponsor: Mark Cushing, history teacher

GPA: 4.53 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1580

Planned major: Undecided

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Scholar; National Honor Society

Personal statement: "My life goal involves providing others with an outlet to express their voices emotionally, politically and more. I know there are too many who feel silenced. I'm not entirely sure how I will go about carrying this plan out. However, it is a goal that motivates me to learn and, moving forward, I hope to advocate for people who cannot advocate for themselves.

Sponsor's endorsement: "Joseph is a wonderful person, a delight to know, with a great sense of humor and is extremely open-minded. In 21 years of teaching, Joseph is certainly one of the best I've worked with. In class he is self-motivated - academically his work is always outstanding and his schedule consists of challenging AP classes. He is a role model, with many extracurricular activities."

Pavani Jairam

Pavani Jairam, Maine West High School

Hometown: Des Plaines

Parents: Damyantie and Kemchan Jairam

GPA: 4.9 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35; SAT, 1500

Planned major: Physics

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Scholar; District 207's Best academic achievement award; DAR Outstanding American History Scholar

Personal statement: "I cannot get enough of hearing about the universe and the possibilities out there. I would love to answer the big questions of how the universe works someday, and educate others about what is out there and inspire others about science. After all, science is the vehicle of change and knowledge. Overall, the opportunity to keep learning is the best gift one can get."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Pavani is a unique young lady who is kind, genuine and determined to succeed beyond high school as an astrophysicist. She is mature beyond her years and cares deeply about her community. She is well-liked and respected, and teachers enjoy having her in the classroom as she elevates the experience of her peers."

Maegan Jong

Maegan Jong, Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Da-Tong Jong & Sheng-Shin Jeon

Sponsor: Martin Zacharia, teacher

GPA: 5.222 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1600

Planned major: Computer science, economics and statistics

Awards, honors: Among 12 selected for the Clark Scholars Summer Research Program at Texas Tech; holder of D211's first "New SAT" perfect score; Seal of Biliteracy Award from Illinois State Board of Education

Personal statement: "I helped launch my district's first and second annual hackathon, Code 211, with more than 200 students. That night, I introduced computer science to new programmers through technical workshops. As I saw students collaborating and implementing their ideas, I felt a sense of pride that my passion had united students around problem-solving and creativity."

Sponsor's endorsement: "It speaks volumes that the mere mention of Maegan's name to a colleague elicits, 'She's awesome!' Over four years, I have come to know an individual who is curious, tenacious and fundamentally personable in her habits and interactions."

Micah Rubel

Micah Rubel, Christian Liberty Academy

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Peter & Sharon Rubel

Sponsor: Leslie Cornwall, counselor

GPA: 3.99 on a traditional 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 1500

Planned major: Material science and engineering; computer engineering

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; Illinois State Scholar; "Top in Class" all four years of high school

Personal statement: "My mom once said to me, 'Honey, you need to put yourself first.' 'But he needed help, Mom. Aren't we supposed to help those in need?' I find pleasure in helping others any way I can, caring little for my own well-being. My goal is to put as much good into the world as I can, beginning with my immediate family, to pay back my parents for their selfless love."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Micah distinguishes himself in his aptitude for finding unconventional solutions to problems. His ability to relate concepts across multiple disciplines, his eye for detail, his fantastic reasoning powers and his critical thinking prowess contribute to his problem-solving skills."

Saurav Sumughan

Saurav Sumughan, Conant High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Parents: Sumughan Aravindan & Seema Sumughan

Sponsor: Austin Sobey, counselor

GPA: 5.191 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1580

Planned major: 7-year pre-med and medical program

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

Personal statement: "By embracing the intellectual challenge in whatever I set my mind to, I have made it my goal to become a physician, a profession that allows me to exercise this ideal while benefiting the whole of society. Ultimately, I hope to use the experiences I have had, and the ones I have yet to have, to more effectively conduct myself according to the scientific method."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Most students spend their summers avoiding anything resembling schoolwork, but Saurav spent his break working 40 hours a week as an intern at Northwestern University's Lurie Medical Research Center."

John W. Wang

John Wang, Palatine High School

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Kuanjing Wang & Hongwei Du

Sponsor: Richard Splitt, counselor

GPA: 5.21 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1600

Planned major: Neuroscience, engineering and computer science

Awards, honors: National Merit Finalist; Presidential Scholar nominee; National AP Scholar with Distinction

Personal statement: "I have come to deeply realize what I've known all along - though my mind lies in academics, my heart lies in service. Both in heart and soul, I plan to be the best person I can be in the future so that I can truly be of service to this world and change it for the better with my own two hands."

Sponsor's endorsement: "John is the most talented student I have worked with in my 25 years in education. His intellectual ability is a gift and he really enjoys learning. His personality is awesome; his character is second to none. I always knew he was a genius who was going to excel in academics and in college. Now, during his senior year, I am also getting to know that he is a very special young man."

Steven Zhu

Steven Zhu, Barrington High School

Hometown: South Barrington

Parents: Zhijun Zhu, Jing Ran

Sponsor: Monica Barreiro, counselor

GPA: 4.81 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: SAT: 1570

Planned major: Applied mathematics

Awards, honors: Three-time qualifier to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination; Chicago American Regions Mathematics League, A/B team; WYSE state finals, third place individual in physics and fourth place in math

Personal statement: "In college and beyond, I want to have an enriching experience that challenges me intellectually and allows me to engage with the community. I have had phenomenal math opportunities in high school, and am working toward a goal of helping solve the world's great mathematical problems."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Steven is a highly motivated, bright and self-disciplined young man who demonstrates a level of maturity and responsibility - and a remarkable personality - unparalleled by most peers. His copious intellectual and interpersonal strengths, coupled with his zest for learning, makes him THE top student I have worked with in 22 years."

Northwest Suburban Academic Team honorable mentions, 2018-2019

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