2013 Scholar Profiles

Zachary Egger
Zachary was ranked first in his class at Soddy Daisy High School (Soddy Daisy, TN) a top-tier comprehensive school in rural Hamilton County. With an inherent enthusiasm for learning, Zachary is a self-taught computer programmer and coder, something he says was sparked by a keen interest in how computers work ‘at the core.’ Zac took from his own time to help a variety of people in his community—from delivering meals to his great-aunt, to serving as the “go-to repair guy” for his teachers’ computers. His mathematics instructor also noted that his neighbors in class often turned to him for assistance with their own work. A member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society, Zac also spent time volunteering at the Soddy Daisy Food Bank. He is currently a junior and a member of the sailing club.
Jennifer Hernandez
There is no need to dress up Jennifer’s intellectual prowess: she was not only ranked first in her class at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (BCSM) in Bronx, NY, a reform-driven and highly competitive school, but her GPA (99.51 un-weighted) was the second highest in the school’s seven-year history. Jennifer also had the highest New York State Regents exam score of any student in BCSM’s history. Outside of school, Jennifer spent time volunteering at the Christadora-Manice Education Center, through which she participated in a clean-up of the Bronx River, and at the Children’s Garden at New York’s Botanical Garden. Jennifer also excels in applying the sciences towards creative ends: she won first place in the Women’s Engineering competition at Columbia University in 2012. She is a self-taught pianist and guitar player. Known by teachers for her kindness and modesty, Jennifer tutored other students in preparation for their Regents exams.  As a first-generation college student, Jennifer  appreciates having the support and collegiality of faculty and fellow students in the Dartmouth Emerging Engineers program.
Payton Kaar
As a student at Northeast High School (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Payton crafted a scientific research paper extraordinary in its sophistication, “The Comparative Effects of Antifouling Paint and Sharklet on Aquatic Vertebrates.” In addition, she won third place at the Broward County Science Fair in 2011, placed second in 2012, and spoke at the Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium at the University of Florida. Alongside 13 other students, Payton worked on the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam to create a water filtration station to serve third world countries. Payton was ranked first in her class of 460 students at Northeast High, a time consuming feat in itself, though she always finds the time to serve her community as well. She volunteered at elementary and middle schools, completed the Anti-Defamation League’s three-day training workshop to prevent bullying, and served as vice president of Northeast High’s Key Club and historian for the Psychology Club.  At the University of Miami, she is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Art.
Jilisa McCullough
Enrolled at J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA) since the fifth grade, Jilisa took a full load of AP classes while maintaining a straight-A record. Just as impressive are Jilisa’s accomplishments in music and dance. She is a trained violin player; she took part in her school’s choir as well as the all-city school choir; and she is a gifted dancer who received several dance scholarships to train with a prestigious pre-professional junior dance company. As a junior at Carnegie Mellon, she is preparing for a career in international business, with concentrations in math and language. She has served as a choreographer for Dancers’ Symposium, teacher and trainer for Infra Dance Company, member of the consulting and communications committees in the Undergraduate Marketing Organization, and executive board member of SPIRIT dance. She also participated in a semster-long study-abroad program in Madrid.
Isabelle Morris
As the first junior-year student to be elected team captain of the rowing team at H.B. Plant High School (Tampa, FL), Isabelle was highly regarded by teachers and peers alike. This bright and thoughtful student excelled in every measure of academic achievement. She took many Advanced Placement and achieved top scores on each exam, Isabelle also scored in the impressive 99th percentile in both writing and critical reading on her PSAT exam. To add to these achievements, Isabelle is a talented violin player, having served for three years as a concert master for her school’s orchestra, played in the All-County Orchestra, and participated in county-wide competitions. At Stanford, Isabelle is working toward a career in psychology research.
Richard Otis
Richard’s superior drive, intellect, and love for history have already taken him to other parts of the world. As part of a high school project at Rivendell Academy (Orford, NH), the Normandy Sacrifice for Freedom Program chose Richard as a member of a very select group to take an extended tour of Washington, D.C. and Normandy, France. Math and science are other areas where Richard excels. Boasting a strong leadership record, Richard taught Suicide Prevention classes, served as Rivendell’s student body representative, and attended the New England Student Leadership Conference. When asked what makes a great leader, Richard emphasized the importance of motivating and relating to one’s peers, communicating effectively, and being ‘able to take joy in the accomplishments of others.’ Richard is a member of the junior class at RPI.  He participates in three clubs—Rocketry Society, Design-Build-Fly, and the Outing Club--and hopes to become an aeronautical engineer for one of the country’s leading firms.
Amanda Stewart
Amanda is an avid reader known for being persevering and compassionate, and for demonstrating, as a mentor says, a “true love for learning.” With such inherent enjoyment of her work, it is no wonder that Amanda’s academic record is impeccable: she graduated from Soddy Daisy High School (Soddy Daisy, TN) with a 4.0 un-weighted GPA and achieved a very impressive composite score on her ACT exam. Additionally, Amanda logged over three hundred hours of volunteering at Erlanger Hospital, the Creative Discovery Museum, the Nature Center, the Daisy Nursing Home and the Tennessee Aquarium. In high school, Amanda was a member of Beta Club, a service club, along with Key Club, and Future Business Leaders of America, for which she has attended state and regional competitions. Amanda is also a committed athlete, having served as a respected player on the soccer team at Soddy Daisy. A mechanical engineer major at Georgia Tech, she participates in Engineers for a Sustainable World and serves in the Student Alumni Association. She also participated in a semester-long study abroad program in Lorraine, France.
Gina Sullivan
Gina attended J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA), a magnet school for high achievers which has long maintained the highest public school test scores—by a wide margin—in the state of Pennsylvania. Gina took Masterman’s maximum allotment for AP courses and still maintained a straight-A record. Committed to her extra-curricular activities, Gina played on Masterman’s varsity softball team and volunteered at The Giving Tree, the Philadelphia Marathon, and the Philadelphia Zoo. She also assisted a teacher and students in a middle school science program as part of a mentorship initiative led by the Environmental Protection Agency, and she participated in a historical exhibition competition for Philadelphia’s National History Day, winning herself and her peers second and third place, respectively, in local and state competitions. As an energetic participant in the Future Business Leaders of America club, she laid the foundation for her studies in international relations and French at Pomona College. Gina spent her junior year abroad: fall semester in Freiburg, Germany and spring semester in Paris, France.
Isabelle Tersio
As an individual who admittedly finds great value in ‘doing small things for people all the time,’ it was not surprising to learn that Isabelle was widely admired as both a student and classmate at Boca Raton Community High School (Boca Raton, FL). Isabelle maintained a rigorous academic curriculum; she passed many Advanced Placement exams; and she was a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Math Honor Society, the Science Olympiad Team, and Interact (a service club, part of Rotary International). She particularly enjoyed Biology because she is fascinated by the metabolic processes taking place in the body, especially on the cellular level. Her goal is to become a pediatric surgeon. Born in Haiti, Isabelle moved to the US at the age of three. She dreams of one day building a hospital in Haiti for Doctors without Borders to ensure a higher quality of medical care on the island. Her weekends were spent volunteering at a hospital, playing basketball for her school team, and serving as a basketball coach for Special Needs students.  As a Benjamin Franklin Scholar at UPenn, she engages deeply in the liberal arts and sciences through special course offerings and under the close guidance of faculty and advisors. At Penn, Isabelle also continues to perform community service, including MedX and StudentsCare, and taking the EMT course to become certified and is a member of the Medical Emergency Response Team.
Sean Vennett
Sean Vennett is passionate about science and exploration, as evidenced by the thirty-eight merit badges he has earned as a Boy Scout. In fact, Sean is on his way to earning the prestigious Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America, an organization of which he has been a member since the first grade. At Jefferson High School (Tampa, FL), a magnet school to which students must apply for enrollment, Sean’s extraordinary academic record included a full load of AP courses, a high GPA, and very high PSAT and SAT scores. Outside of his curricular achievements, Sean enjoys the experience of academic competitions: he is a two-time county and state finalist for competitions by the DECA, an international marketing and entrepreneurial association for students; he participated in the Science Brain Bowl, a quiz event for the sciences; and he was a District Competitor for mathematics honors society Mu Alpha Theta. In addition, Sean served as a mentor at the Lavoy Exceptional Center, a special education school in the Hillsborough School District. At Auburn University, he serves as chapter president of his fraternity and member of the intramural football and soccer teams.
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