Four University School seniors named National Merit semifinalists

Four University School students were recently named as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. From left, Amisha Agrawal, Heather Robertson, Viraj Brahmbhatt and Reilly Wells. PHOTO COURTESY OF ETSU

Four seniors at University School on the East Tennessee State University campus have been named semifinalists for the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These students will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships totaling more than $30 million that will be offered in spring 2021.

Amisha Agrawal is a member of the Beta Club, Science Club, Scholars Bowl Club, Debate Club, Math Club and the Student Government Association.

She is the founder of Our Young Minds, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness for student mental health.  The organization holds virtual sessions at local high schools to create conversations and extend resources.

Her volunteer activities include working at a research lab at the Quillen College of Medicine where she is part of a study examining the use of PARP1 inhibitors (anti-tumor agents) as an antidepressant.  Agrawal also volunteers at Kumon Math and Reading Center and as a youth leader at the Regional Indo-American Community Center.

A graduate of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Program, Agrawal participated in the University of Tennessee Governor’s School for Science and Engineering and the Stony Brook University Garcia Scholars Research Program.  She plans to study pre-medicine after graduation.

Viraj V. Brahmbhatt is a senior at University School and currently serves as president of the Student Government Association.  In addition to serving as a member of the Beta Club and the varsity soccer team, he is captain of the Scholars Bowl Team and the Math Club.

Brahmbhatt is currently involved in a microbiology research study with the ETSU Department of Health Sciences and he volunteers at the Quillen VA Medical Center, Johnson City Medical Center and Greystone Healthcare Center.  He also established a charity, Change for a Change, that providers impoverished children in India with school supplies.

After graduation, he plans to study microbiology or neuroscience.

Heather Robertson is involved in several organizations at University School, including serving as president of Model Nations and GSA and also treasurer of the Green Club, Key Club and Beta Club.

She is currently participating in an internship for a congressional campaign.

Robertson plans to attend college and study political science and international relations.

Reilly Wells is also a member of the Beta Club and the Scholars Bowl Team.

She is very active in competitive cheerleading through East Tennessee Cheer (ETC) in Kingsport and is a volunteer on the ETC CheerAbilities team.

In addition, she supports global outreach efforts for the Love-Share non-profit organization that strives to break the cycle of poverty by providing educational opportunities to youth.  Following graduation, Wells plans to study mechanical engineering and possibly minor in French and economics while also continuing to cheer.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.


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