Los Alamos High School 2022 National Merit Semifinalists Honored At Luncheon

Los Alamos High School seniors named as 2022 National Merit Semifinalists include, front row from left, Kamaya Ronning, Kathryn Osburn, Jennie Gao and Olivia Koo. Back row: Aaron Philip, Andrew Corliss, Phillip Ionkov and Cinyoung Huang. Not pictured: Andrew Collins and Robert Strauss). Photo Courtesy LAPS


Ten Los Alamos High School seniors are among 16,000 students nationwide named as  semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship program. They include Andrew Collins, Andrew Corliss, Jennie Gao, Cinyoung Huang, Phillip Ionkov, Olivia Koo, Kathryn Osburn, Aaron  Philip, Kamaya Ronning and Robert Strauss. 

National Merit Semifinalists and their parents were honored at a luncheon on Tuesday. Interim Supt. Jennifer Guy, Principal Carter Payne, Assistant Principal Renee Dunwoody,  Athletic Director Ann Stewart and other guests were also on hand to offer congratulations. The luncheon was catered by Chartwells. 

“This group of students not only represents this academic achievement but also includes artists, athletes, and civic minded individuals,” said Principal Payne. “Being named a National Merit Semifinalist is not only an honor for these students, their families and the school, but opens the door to opportunities for additional recognition and scholarship opportunities.” 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will  be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must  fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent  of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the  Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. 

NMSC, 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 400 business  organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the  nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence. 

Steps in the 2022 Competition 

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020  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 number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national  total of graduating seniors. 

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed  scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic  record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities,  employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding  academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school  official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier  performance on the qualifying test. 

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit  Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are  selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous  college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. 

National Merit Scholarships 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2022. Every Finalist  will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a  state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will  be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who  meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of  communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and  universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for  Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases  beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than  362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.