MCLEAN, VA — Two seniors at Langley High School and another student living in McLean won National Merit Scholarships, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced Wednesday. The corporate-sponsored awards are the first announced in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship competition for 2020.
Langley High School student Stephanie X. Liu won a scholarship from Northrop Grumman Corporation and will likely study bioinformatics. The other Langley winner, Daniel C. Mousavi, received a scholarship from General Dynamics and will likely study biomedical engineering. McLean resident Kiera E. Dent of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School got a scholarship from Raytheon Company to study astronomy.
Around 160 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations financed the 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships. Virginia students represented 20 of these winners in the first round of National Merit Scholarships. Many corporate-sponsored awards can be used for up to four years of undergraduate education, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per year. Some awards provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000.
About 1.5 million students were entered into the National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the 2018 PSAT as juniors. The 16,000 semifinalists were the highest-scoring entrants in their states, representing less than 1 percent of seniors.
Approximately 15,000 of the semifinalists qualified as finalists. In order to be considered as finalists, semifinalists completed a scholarship application with an essay and information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to demonstrate an outstanding academic record, earn SAT or ACT scores confirming their PSAT performance, and get a recommendation from a high school official.
Scholarship winners were the finalists determined to “have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Winners of $2,500 scholarships sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will be announced on May 13. College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners will be announced on June 3 and July 13. The corporation expects 7,600 winners will receive scholarships totaling over $30 million in 2020.