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Seniors named semifinalists, commended students in 2015 National Merit and National Achievement scholarship programs

Seniors from around the district recently were recognized as part of the two prestigious scholarship programs. National Merit semifinalists included Jason Anderson (pictured above on right), Columbia River High School, and Samir Sen, Skyview High School. National Merit commended students included Brian Haugen (pictured above on left), Skyview High School. Jessica Ekeya (pictured above in middle), Columbia River High School, was named a National Achievement semifinalist.

Anderson is a full-International Baccalaureate (IB) student and has earned violin awards from the Washington Music Education Association. He lettered on the Columbia River golf team and was the featured speaker and master of ceremonies at the school’s Veterans Day assembly. Anderson plans to study biology and physics in college.

Ekeya also is a full-IB student, as well as a member of the National Honor Society, Knowledge Bowl, Spanish Club and Model United Nations. She lettered in tennis, is on the varsity soccer team and was named the 2014 homecoming queen. Ekeya plans to major in Spanish and biology in college and hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics.

Haugen is enrolled in Skyview’s Science, Math and Technology (SMT) magnet and has taken 12 Advanced Placement (AP) courses. His senior research project is the development of an integrated system for an insulin pump and glucose meter. Haugen has been on the robotics team for four years is nearing completion of the rank of Eagle Scout. He plans to major in computer science.

Samir Sen, Skyview High School, SMT

National Merit semifinalist Samir Sen, a senior at Skyview High School

Sen, also an SMT student, is a National Master in chess. He started a Chess Club at the Boys and Girls Club, volunteers at PeaceHealth and Oregon Health & Science University and founded the North American chapter of Humanity Hospital to raise nearly $2,700 for a hospital in India. This summer he also traveled to Bangladesh to work in an orphanage and field test a book he coauthored titled “Easy English.” Sen currently is a research intern in the physics department at Portland State University. He plans to further his education in the sciences and research.

Each year, out of approximately 1.4 million entrants, about 16,000 of the highest-scoring students are chosen as National Merit semifinalists based on their preliminary SAT scores. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. Approximately 34,000 of the 50,000 highest-scoring students are named commended students. The National Achievement Scholarship Program honors the highest-scoring African-American students, of which only 1,600 out of 160,000 achieve semifinalist status.