4 Loudoun students win national merit scholarships from colleges

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA – Four Loudoun County students are in the latest round of National Merit Scholarships, which were funded by colleges and universities.

There are more than 2,900 winners of university-sponsored National Merit Scholarships. The awards are given by 149 institutions of higher education, including 77 private and 72 public institutions in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 per year for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution funding the award.


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced 770 corporate-sponsored scholarship winners on April 24 and 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners on May 8. Additional university-sponsored award winners will be announced on July 15, bringing the total for university-sponsored scholarships to more than 3,600.

In total, more than 6,870 students will earn National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $26 million by 2024.

Virginia had 26 university-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winners. Loudoun County winners include Katrina U. Boland of Aldie attending St. Paul VI Catholic High School, Sasanka Sreedevi-Naresh of Ashburn attending Briar Woods High School, Brij B. Bhagat of Leesburg attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and Alexandra H Ridder of Purcellville, who is home-schooled.

Boland received the scholarship from Purdue University and plans to study aerospace engineering.

Sreedevi-Naresh received the scholarship from the University of Maryland and plans to study biomedical engineering.

Bhagat received a scholarship from the University of Texas at Dallas and plans to study mechanical engineering.

Knight earned a scholarship to Liberty University and plans to study biochemistry.

Students participated in the National Merit Scholarship competition while taking the PSAT as juniors in 2022. About 16,000 semifinalists were named based on the proportion of graduating seniors in each state. The semifinalists were the highest-scoring students in their countries and represent less than 1 percent of U.S. seniors

To be considered for finalist status, semifinalists had to submit a detailed scholarship application that included an essay and details about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions, have an excellent academic record and have the approval of a high school official. Approximately 15,000 finalists met the requirements for finalist status and were eligible to be chosen for corporate-sponsored, National Merit Scholarship-sponsored and university-sponsored awards. About half of the finalists will win National Merit Scholarships in 2024.

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