New Albany News

National Merit program

Three local students win scholarships

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Three high school seniors from New Albany will receive $2,500 scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship program.

Students become eligible for the annual scholarship competition by taking the PSAT test as juniors. They must perform well on the test, have an outstanding academic record and be endorsed by the high school principal to be named scholarship finalists.

Joydeep Ganguly, 18, is on the New Albany High School cross country team and the Science Olympiad team.

Ganguly said he and senior Max Yudovich teamed up the last two years and built a vehicle that had to travel a certain distance down a ramp and stop.

"That's part of what got me interested in engineering," he said.

Ganguly said he plans to study electrical engineering and possibly computer science at the University of Illinois next year.

He is the son of Sugato and Gopa Ganguly.

Arman Odabas, 18, is a member of the New Albany High School In The Know team and is a varsity rower on the Westerville Crew rowing team, which is open to central Ohio students.

Odabas said he took an Advanced Placement biology course at New Albany High School, which prompted him to consider biological science as his major when he starts at Princeton University later this year.

"I've always been into animals," he said. "I took this great AP biology class and really liked it. It was kind of a catalyst for my interest in biology as a pursuit in higher education."

Odabas said he also is considering going into medicine because of an internship he completed with a pediatrician. The internship is a New Albany High School graduation requirement.

"There's a real human aspect to dealing with medicine, outside the context of the operating room," Odabas said. "You need to have a particular set of interpersonal skills and really understand how to get people to cooperate.

"It's not strictly business. You develop very personal relationships."

He is the son of Onur and Ayse Odabas.

Nicholas Grewal, 18, attends Columbus Academy, where he served as class president and representative to the student council, editor of the yearbook and president of the Columbus Academy political and Latin clubs.

He also is a member of the cross country and tennis teams.

Grewal said he researched the effects of fungal genomes on crops in conjunction with Michigan State University, work that ties into his proposed major of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Grewal said he plans to attend Yale University.

He is the son of Kanny and Indira Grewal.

All three scholarship winners had different advice for underclassmen.

Ganguly recommended "developing a strong work ethic," saying students cannot control how well others do in class but it is possible to outwork others.

He said students also need to be able to communicate well with others.

Odabas said students should take high school life seriously and learn how to manage their time.

"It gets easier after a point to deal with the workload and address problems," he said.

He said students should not wait until the last minute to apply to colleges and they need to find a way to blow off steam. Rowing does that for him, just as running does for Ganguly, he said.

Grewal said his best advice to underclassmen is to take practice tests leading up to the standardized testing.

"By taking these and reviewing mistakes, you get a good feel for how the test works, and on test day, you will feel very familiar and comfortable with the questions," he said.

He also encourages his peers to ask their teachers for help.

"I'd urge students not to be afraid to ask their teachers for help when they need it, as teachers love seeing students succeed and are generally more than willing to spend time with students if the students are," he said.

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