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Celebrating Our National Merit Semi-Finalists

We congratulate the 13 students designated as National Merit Semifinalists in the Class of 2021! Wishing you all the best as you pursue finalist standing.

Aditya Akula, Roshni Chandawarkar, Aagam Dalal, Sydney Fife, Meghana Karthic, Danna Long, Tawfiq Mohammed, Sonia Patel, Finn Posey, Raghav Ramachandiran, Benjamin Williams, Alison Yan, Rebecca Zhang

National Merit Students 2021

Front row L-R 
Alison Yan, Danna Long, Sydney Fife and Rebecca Zhang

Back Row L-R
Raghav Ramachandiran, Tawfiq Mohammed, Aditya Akula, Meghana Karthic and Finn Posey 
*not pictured - Roshni Chandawarkar, Aagam Dalal, Sonia Patel and Ben Williams 

Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Learn more about your semifinalists below. We asked them the following questions. 

  • How many years have you attended New Albany Schools?
  • What does the National Merit Semi- Finalist mean to you personally?
  • What colleges or universities are you considering?
  • What would you like to pursue as a major, career, etc?
  • What sort of activities are you involved with at NAHS or in the community?
  • Please share anything else you may feel you want people to know! 

Aditya Akula, 17
Senior year will be my 13th -- I've been here since kindergarten.  I'm grateful for the recognition of all my work in school through the years, and the potential for a scholarship is nice as well! 

My top choices for college are Stanford, MIT, Caltech, and Harvard, but there are many more I'm considering. I've narrowed down my choice of major to two of the following four: CS, Math, Physics, and Electrical Engineering. On the other hand, I have no idea what type of career I'll end up going into -- any ideas I have right now are probably going to change once I go to college, and there are a lot of careers that are appealing to me so far.

Outside of academics, some of my activities include running cross country & track, being a member of the high school Science Olympiad, Robotics, and In the Know teams, and volunteering through NHS and Northsouth Foundation (as well as in other places throughout the community). I'd like to thank Ben Yan for inspiring me. Also, thank you to all my teachers for helping me reach this point!

Roshni 2 Roshni Chandawarkar, 17
I have attended New Albany Schools since 5th grade, making this year my 8th year in the district.
Personally, the National Merit Semi-Finalist selection is an honor. It is an affirmation that my hard work paid off and I am grateful for the opportunities this program presents.

I am currently looking at around eight universities, but my top three are definitely the University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, and Columbia University. I plan to double major in Economics and Finance and pursue a career related to finance.

I currently serve as the President of Student Council, but I am also involved in National Honor Society and TEDxNewAlbany. Additionally, I play for the school Tennis Team and coach tennis in my free time.
I want to thank my family, teachers, and everyone that has helped me throughout my High School career. I truly could not have done this without you!

Aagam Dalal, 17
13 years in the district (including kindergarten and this year)
I feel very lucky to have it. It opens up a lot of doors to scholarships and colleges.

For college I am looking at Ohio State, east coast schools, west coast schools. Computer engineering (major) undecided (career). 
President of Generation Connection, President of NAHS Key Club, Captain of NAHS Robotics, member of NHS. 

Sydney Fife, 18
I have attended New Albany schools since Kindergarten, so this is my 13th year at New Albany.
Being a National Merit Semi-Finalist is a huge honor and something that I am very proud of. I'm so grateful to my parents and teachers for challenging me and helping me achieve everything I have so far.

I'm currently looking at applying to Purdue, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. I want to study Computer Science in college and possibly minor in Cyber Security.

At NAHS, I am a member of National Honors Society, the student leader of the MathLab, player on the Field Hockey team, and creator of the Canine Companions for Independence club. Outside of school, I tutor students in various math classes, work, and volunteer for Canine Companions for Independence. I want to thank all of my teachers again for getting me to where I am today. Thank you to my family for the never ending support and love you have given me.

Meghana Karthic, 17
I have attended New Albany Schools for 13 years. Becoming a National Merit Semi-Finalist means a lot to me, and I'm glad my hard work over the years has paid off! I'm grateful to be recognized alongside some of my classmates!

Right now, I'm looking at colleges like OSU, Case Western, Johns Hopkins, and Northwestern. My plan is to major in Computer Science with a possible minor in either Public Policy or International Relations. In the future, I would like to create technology that aids social impact organizations.

Outside of school, I enjoy creating technology for social good by developing an app with my peer to help combat the opioid epidemic and working with global teams as an AFS Scholar to help solve the United Nations' SDGs. In addition, I’m passionate about empowering women locally and globally as a Technovation Student Ambassador, the Co-president of Girl Up, and a public speaker for Society of Women Engineers and TEDx. I'd like to thank my parents, friends, and teachers for their support during high school -- couldn't have done it without them!


Danna Long, 16
I have attended New Albany Schools for 13 years. It is such an honorable selection to me and I'm really grateful for the opportunities it will provide.

For college I am looking at Duke, UNC, OSU and Georgetown. I am undecided on a major.

Basketball cheerleader, Historian of NHS, member of Key Club

Tawfiq Mohammed, 17
I have been attending New Albany Schools since Third Grade, so when you add it up, that's almost 9 years! Being selected as a National Merit Semifinalist was a huge honor for me, and something that's been a goal of mine since Freshman year. I would always read the profiles of the Semifinalists on the NAPLS home page, and I would aspire to be one of them, so being selected was a dream come true.

I am hoping to attend a college that has strong Biomedical Science and Pre-Medicine programs, and my top three colleges are The Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and University of Michigan. I am going to pursue Biomedical Science in college, and in the future, I hope to go to medical school and become a surgeon.

I have been involved with the NAHS robotics team since my freshman year, and I look forward to spending my last year on the team. I was also recently elected as the Treasurer of National Honor Society. In addition, I volunteer at my Sunday School in Dublin and I work at Kumon of New Albany. First and foremost, I want to thank my parents, all my teachers, and my friends for supporting me, motivating me, and always cheering me on at every little milestone. I am forever grateful to New Albany Schools for the wonderful teachers, atmosphere, and culture, and I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for the efforts of every NAPLS staff member. Finally, I would encourage every Junior to spend some time to prepare for the PSAT and take it seriously, because you never know what opportunities it could open for you.

Finn Posey, 17
I have attended New Albany Schools for eight years.
I take a lot of pride in my academic life, and to have that recognized is incredible!

I am looking at Baldwin-Wallace, Bowling Green and Ohio University. I am looking to major in theatre (acting, directing, writing). 
I am involved in New Albany High School Theatre. This is such a cool thing and I'm really glad to be a part of it! :) 

Raghav Ramachandiran, 17
I have attended since kindergarten, so this would be my 13th year at New Albany.
I think that it's a huge accomplishment. It will help on college applications, and is really just a nice way to be recognized for the work that I have put into academics.

I'm considering colleges such as Case Western, OSU, University of Rochester, and University of Cincinnati, just to name a few.  I will likely go the pre-med route, but I am unsure whether I want to focus more on research or healthcare.

I've been on the robotics team since freshman year and in esports club since sophomore year. I'm really thankful to my parents for supporting and always helping me. I'm also thankful for having such amazing teachers who have taught me a lot. I'd also like to give a special thanks to Dalinar Kholin (from The Stormlight Archive) for teaching me to love and value the journey above all else.

Benjamin Williams, 17
I have attended New Albany Schools for nine years.
In my opinion, the NMS selection means that I have made great progress in my academic career and show an aptitude in many areas that are tested during the PSAT exam.

For college I am considering; OSU, Case Western, Purdue, MIT, Boston University, Rose Hulman and Georgia Tech. I plan to major in Mechanical Engineering. 

I have been actively involved in the Robotics Team. 

Alison Yan, 16
I have attended New Albany Schools for 12 years. 

I am extremely happy that I was chosen to be a National Merit Semi-Finalist

For college I am looking at the University of California and Georgia Tech. I will major in Electrical Engineering. I am involved in FRC Robotics team, Generational Connection and NHS. Thank you New Albany Schools for providing me with a great education and so many amazing opportunities!

Rebecca Zhang, 17
I have attended New Albany Schools for 13 years.
It is a great honor to be named a National Merit Semi-Finalist and a testimony to my hard work over the last few years.

My top colleges are Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ohio State University. I would like to pursue a major in Computer Science.

I am a member of New Albany Aquatics Club, NAHS Swim Team, National Honor Society and Chinese Culture Club. I participated in OMUN for two years. During my junior year, I was teacher’s assistant for Algebra 2. I am thankful for the continued support from my family, teachers and coaches.