A dozen Columbus Academy students were announced today as 2019 Semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

“This is such a well-rounded group of students who are interested in math, music, science, healthcare, athletics, languages, robotics, journalism and so much more,” said Head of School Melissa Soderberg. “Their leadership is evident both on campus and out in the community. We can’t wait to see where their talents lead them!”

Columbus Academy’s 2019 National Merit Semifinalists:

Mira Bhasin, daughter of Dr. Romi Bhasin & Dr. Hema Mallick of Dublin

  • Favorite class: Camerata
  • Interests: opera, piano, theatre, belly-dancing, bowling, tennis, advocacy, Meals on Wheels
  • Possible fields of study: philosophy major with pre-med track

Marcus Grewal, son of Drs. Kanny & Indira Grewal of New Albany

  • Favorite class: Camerata
  • Interests: cross country, choir, OJCL executive board, computer science, yearbook staff & The Academy Life editor, hanging out with friends
  • Possible fields of study: considering computational biology

Kaitlyn Heintzelman, daughter of Drs. Douglas & Karen Heintzelman of New Albany

  • Favorite class: Honors Calculus-Based Probability and Statistics
  • Interests: president of Future Leaders in Healthcare Club & Harry Potter Club, community outreach coordinator of Robotics Club, varsity volleyball team member, club volleyball, reading, volunteering, spending time with friends
  • Possible fields of study: biomedical engineering or biochemical engineering, possibly medical school or pursuing a career in biomedical research

Virginia Ma, daughter of Dr. James Ma & Dr. Shili Lin of Gahanna

  • Favorite class: all of them (it’s too hard to choose just one!)
  • Interests: piano, journalism, track and field, Science Olympiad, violin, Latin, gardening
  • Possible fields of study: math, computer science

Eric Menq, son of Dr. Chia-Hsiang Menq & Dr. Sissy Jhiang of Gahanna

  • Favorite class: Biology, Statistics, History
  • Interests: cello, wrestling, baseball, cross country, Marketwatch investment simulation, rollerchairball club
  • Possible fields of study: engineering and biophysics

Cole Raiken, son of Dr. David & Patricia Raiken of Upper Arlington

  • Favorite class: Honors Computer Science 3
  • Interests: Eagle Scout, Robotics Club, cello, Science Olympiad, recreational league baseball umpire, co-president of Code Club, fall play, president of Dungeons & Dragons Club
  • Possible fields of study: neuroscience and molecular biology

Abhi Ramesh, son of Ramesh Duraisamy & Malarvizhi Natesan of New Albany

  • Favorite class: Statistics and Chinese
  • Interests: Model United Nations, varsity cross country, Jazz Ensemble
  • Possible fields of study: economics, international relations

Himaja Reddy, daughter of Dr. Sreedevi & Krishna Reddy of Lewis Center

  • Favorite class: International Studies
  • Interests: playing tennis (varsity captain), volunteering at VA Hospital, biking, traveling
  • Possible fields of study: healthcare, international politics & relations

Maggie Ridgeway, daughter of Dr. Joseph Ridgeway of Bexley & Paula Ridgeway of Westerville

  • Favorite class: Music Theory
  • Interests: playing the violin, singing
  • Possible fields of study: considering music education

Colin Sullivan, son of John & Jessy Sullivan of New Albany

  • Favorite class: Computer Science
  • Interests: competitive programming (a sport that employs one’s problem-solving skills and coding prowess to solve complex computer science problems in limited time), center midfielder and captain of varsity soccer team
  • Possible fields of study: computer science

Aden Weiser, son of Adam & Laura Weiser of New Albany

  • Favorite class: entire Honors Computer Science sequence and Latin
  • Interests: Science Olympiad co-captain, Latin Club co-consul, JCL, yearbook co-editor, The Academy Life sports editor, JV cross country and track runner, member of the Wexner Service Corps
  • Possible fields of study: computer science, materials engineering or chemical engineering

Katelyn Wunsch, daughter of E.J. & Sara Wunsch of Westerville

  • Favorite class: Honors Chinese 4 and Advanced Geometry
  • Interests: singing, playing tennis, bowling, baking
  • Possible fields of study: undecided but might want to do something with biology

Peter DiMaggio was also a student at Academy when he qualified for National Merit Semifinalist status, but he transferred to the Interlochen Arts Academy for his senior year.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 410 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the national scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.