New Albany News

New Albany senior

Rajan lands National Merit scholarship from corporation


New Albany High School's Lokita Rajan, 17, recently was chosen as one of 1,000 "distinguished" high school seniors to earn an Owens Corning Foundation scholarship through the National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit scholarships are provided by 200 "corporations, company foundations and other business organizations," according to the National Merit website.

The scholarships provide "annual stipends of $500 to $10,000" and "single payments of $2,500 to $5,000" for undergraduates attending any college or university in the United States, according to the website.

Rajan said her Owens Corning scholarship is for $1,000 and is renewable annually, so she could earn a total of $4,000.

She said she has not chosen a college but hopes to study in the field of public health: environmental science, biology or a combination of both.

Rajan encourages other New Albany High School students to pursue their interests as a path to success.

"Definitely do what you're passionate about because that's how you're going to make the biggest impact on other people," she said. "That's where you're really going to shine."

The Owens Corning Foundation scholarships are for "children of active, full-time employees of Owens Corning in U.S. locations and domestic subsidiaries," according to the National Merit website.

Owens Corning produces fiberglass and polyester resins.

Rajan said both of her parents are employed by Owens Corning: her father, Raj Nagarajan, is a materials scientist and her mother, Mala Nagarajan, is a mechanical engineer.

Rajan was recognized last fall as a National Merit semifinalist.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.