A dozen Columbus Academy students have been named 2019 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, that will be offered next spring.

"This is such a well-rounded group of students who are interested in math, music, science, healthcare, athletics, languages, robotics, journalism and so much more," said Melissa Soderberg, Columbus Academy's head of school.

"Their leadership is evident both on campus and out in the community. We can't wait to see where their talents lead them," she said.

The semifinalists include:

* Mira Bhasin, daughter of Dr. Romi Bhasin and Dr. Hema Mallick of Dublin.

Her interests include opera, piano, theater, belly-dancing, bowling, tennis, advocacy and Meals on Wheels.

After high school, she plans to attend a college or university, where she will major in philosophy with a pre-medicine track.

* Marcus Grewal, son of Drs. Kanny and Indira Grewal of New Albany.

His interests include cross country, choir, Ohio Junior Classical League executive board, computer science, yearbook staff and serving as The Academy Life editor.

Grewal is considering studying computational biology after high school.

* Kaitlyn Heintzelman, daughter of Drs. Douglas and Karen Heintzelman of New Albany.

Her activities include serving as president of Future Leaders in Healthcare Club, Harry Potter Club, serving as community outreach coordinator of Robotics Club, varsity volleyball team, club volleyball, reading and volunteering.

Her possible fields of study include biomedical engineering or biochemical engineering, for a potential career in biomedical research.

* Virginia Ma, daughter of Dr. James Ma and Dr. Shili Lin of Gahanna.

Her interests and activities are piano, journalism, track and field, Science Olympiad, violin, Latin and gardening.

Ma said she might pursue studying math and computer science after graduation.

* Eric Menq, son of Dr. Chia-Hsiang Menq and Dr. Sissy Jhiang of Gahanna.

His interests and activities include cello, wrestling, baseball, cross country, Marketwatch investment simulation and Rollerchairball Club.

Menq said he might study engineering and biophysics post-graduation.

* Cole Raiken, son of Dr. David and Patricia Raiken of Upper Arlington.

His interests and activities include Robotics Club, cello, Science Olympiad, recreational league baseball umpire and serving as co-president of Code Club and president of Dungeons and Dragons Club. He is an Eagle Scout.

Possible fields of study include neuroscience and molecular biology.

* Abhi Ramesh, son of Ramesh Duraisamy and Malarvizhi Natesan of New Albany.

His interests and activities include Model United Nations, varsity cross country and jazz ensemble.

He said his possible fields of study are economics and international relations.

* Himaja Reddy, daughter of Dr. Sreedevi and Krishna Reddy of Lewis Center.

Her interests and activities include playing tennis (varsity captain), hospital volunteerism, cycling and traveling.

In college, she might study health care, international politics and relations, she said.

* Maggie Ridgeway, daughter of Dr. Joseph Ridgeway of Bexley and Paula Ridgeway of Westerville.

Her interests are playing the violin and singing.

Ridgeway might pursue study in music education.

* Colin Sullivan, son of John and Jessy Sullivan of New Albany.

His interests are activities are competitive programming (a sport that employs problem-solving skills and coding prowess to solve complex computer science problems in limited time) and competing as center midfielder and captain of the varsity soccer team.

Sullivan is considering computer science as a field of study after high school.

* Aden Weiser, son of Adam and Laura Weiser of New Albany.

Weiser is a Science Olympiad co-captain, a Latin Club co-consul, yearbook co-editor, The Academy Life sports editor, a junior varsity cross country and track runner and member of the Wexner Service Corps.

Possible fields of study are computer science, materials engineering or chemical engineering.

* Katelyn Wunsch, daughter of E.J. and Sara Wunsch of Westerville.

Her interests include singing, playing tennis, bowling and baking.

She said she's undecided about what to study after graduation, but she is considering biology.

Bob Lee, the school's director of communications, said Peter DiMaggio also was a student at Academy when he qualified for National Merit Semifinalist status, but he transferred to the Interlochen Arts Academy for his senior year.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a nonprofit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla