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2023 NHS scholarship finalists: 20 women to watch

NHS scholarship women finalists

The National Honor Society (NHS), a student organization in Virginia, recently awarded a whopping $2 million in scholarships to 600 NHS students. As scholarships are great for showcasing student achievements, relieving tuition fees, and more, the news is great to hear. I was curious about the 20 women who were NHS scholarship finalists in 2023, so here is a bit about each one!

2023 NHS scholarship women finalists

The women who are 2023 NHS scholarship finalists are from across the US. Below is a brief bio of each woman recipient who received a scholarship, their school, and where they live in America. Their achievements are remarkable!

The scholarships are supported by the NHS’s parent organization, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which also manages the National Student Council. The scholarship recognizes students demonstrating the four pillars of NHS membership: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Find out more about all 600 NHS student finalists here, including the amounts received.

Keira Adams

Franklin High School, El Paso, TX

Keira Adams, also known as “Mitochondria,” is a resilient and inspiring young woman from El Paso, TX. Despite attending multiple schools, Keira leaves a lasting impression wherever she goes. As the National Honor Society president and valedictorian at Franklin High School, Keira has accumulated over 1,000 service hours and is passionate about community service.

She aspires to become a pediatric neurologist with Doctors Without Borders and has attended both Harvard’s Summer School Program and Johns Hopkins’ Internship in Brain Sciences. Keira is also heavily involved in her school’s boards and a national youth council focusing on combating food waste and world hunger. Despite her many accomplishments, Keira remains humble and values making others feel special.

Salwa Azrak

Metro Early College High School, Columbus, OH

Salwa Azrak’s life changed when she experienced a military coup in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016, which made her realize how quickly circumstances can change. This experience inspired her to help others, and she joined the National Honor Society, believing in its pillars of leadership, service, scholarship, and character. Currently, Salwa serves as the president of several school organizations and volunteers at her local mosque.

She has also taken college classes at The Ohio State University, earning 70 credits, and plans to major in health sciences to pursue her passion for healthcare. Salwa believes that serving others and being an engaged citizen can make a positive impact on the world, and she is determined to make a difference.

Jeanley Boursiquot

Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Jacksonville, FL

Jeanley Boursiquot is a visionary leader committed to health and wellness and serving others. As the chairperson of the Mental Health Committee for the Mayor’s Young Leadership Advisory Council, she led the creation of the first Virtual Mental Health Conference and developed resources to help Duval County students learn about mental health.

Jeanley’s dedication to health is further reflected in her work with the Florida Department of Health Covid-19 Epidemiology Call Bank, where she devised a system to deliver test results and volunteered at health centers to help overcome language barriers. She also initiated a fundraising drive to donate face masks to people experiencing homelessness and served as a medical missionary in Peru. Jeanley’s exuberant personality and trailblazing spirit make her a powerful force for change and action.

Janice Cheng

St Andrew’s Schools, Honolulu, HI

Janice Cheng is a student leader at St. Andrew’s Schools who embodies the values of aloha, mālama, pono, kuleana, hoʻomanawanui, and ʻimi naʻauao inspired by the founder, Queen Emma. She advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.

She creates sustainable local food production through the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council club, and volunteers at The Queen’s Medical Center. Janice’s passion for education and service led her to become a figure skating coach, and she plans to pursue her aspiration to become a psychologist at Boston College.

Deborah Chu

The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, TX

Deborah Chu is a passionate student leader who used her skills to create connections and make a difference. As president of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club, and Model UN, she organized events to help those in need during the pandemic, including packing over 6,700 lbs of food and collecting 2000 hygiene supplies. She also organized a book drive for underserved children and established the Beyond Borders Drive for Afghan refugees.

Her dedication to service earned her the President’s Volunteer Service Award and a National Merit Finalist recognition. Her ultimate goal is to serve in government and create equal opportunities for all children in America.

Serena Goyal

River Hill High School, Clarksville, MD

Serena Goyal is a compassionate student leader. She founded the first chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) at her school, leading medical supply drives and fundraisers to improve children’s healthcare worldwide.

Serena also earned her Girl Scout Gold Award and has impressive academic achievements, including a perfect GPA, being a five-time national Dr. Ben Carson Scholar, and being accepted into medical school at age 17. She plans to continue her commitment to service and leadership by acquiring medical knowledge with empathy, responsibility, and compassion.

More 2023 NHS scholarship finalists: Katie Green

Woodland Hills High School, Pittsburgh, PA

Meet Katie Green, a student leader who uses her talents to serve her community and beyond. During the pandemic, she created a chalk art project to bring people together and uplift spirits. Katie is also a mock trial team member, Green Team participant, Bridges & Books podcast producer, and peer writing tutor.

She has volunteered in various capacities, including stage crew, school events, and voter registration and blood drives. Katie’s commitment to service extends globally as a member of the Gene Kelly Critics program and Pittsburgh Youth Climate Council and a director on the Interact Club Regional Board.

Savannah Jomaa

Crestwood High School, Dearborn Heights, MI

Savannah Jomaa is a student leader who exemplifies the four National Honor Society pillars of character, scholarship, leadership, and service. With her academic excellence, athletic skills, and involvement in extracurricular activities, she is a well-respected figure in her community. Savannah has dedicated over 550 hours to service, earning 24 chapter-based awards and holding various executive board positions in the National Honor Society.

She has also led her robotics, Quiz Bowl, tennis, and swim teams to victory, receiving numerous accolades. Furthermore, she is a member of her high school’s Leadership Council, Link Crew, Student Congress, and the Dearborn Heights Stewards Watershed Commission.

Sophie Kloppenburg

Mount Vernon Senior High School, Mount Vernon, IN

Sophie Kloppenburg is an outstanding student leader who has made a significant impact in her community through her dedication to the service and leadership pillars of the National Honor Society. She led the 1878 Memorial Initiative Team to establish a historical marker and memorial bench for seven Black men lynched in her community 144 years ago. Her commitment to this cause has earned her recognition and awards, such as the Elizabeth Baier Youth Spirit Award and MLK Jr. Memorial Recognition.

Sophie has also excelled academically and athletically, representing the AAU National Team twice in cross-country, soccer, tennis, and swimming. She will continue her academic and community pursuits at Columbia University.

Reagan Koester

North Posey High School, Poseyville, IN

Reagan Koester is a remarkable student leader who embodies the four National Honor Society pillars of character, leadership, scholarship, and service. As the president of seven organizations, including the National Honor Society, she exemplifies leadership and has received recognition for her dedication to service, including “Youth of the Year” six times. Reagan’s commitment to service has led her to found three charities that address local food insecurity, foster children relocation, and foster teenagers’ self-esteem.

She is also a state spokesperson who raises funds to award original service grants to youth statewide. Reagan excels academically, with a 4.0 GPA, and has achieved impressive accomplishments such as being the Math Bowl Captain and National Champion in Agriscience Fair. Despite a torn ACL, she has received the mental attitude award four times from coaches and teammates and was named Homecoming Queen.

10 more NHS scholarship finalists in 2023:

Puiyee Kong

Ceasar Rodney High School, Camden, DE

Puiyee Kong is a passionate student leader committed to STEM education. She founded CodeClub, a free program that teaches unique, self-created lessons on topics from robotics to coding to address the technological disparity in her community.

Puiyee’s dedication to service has led to over 400 hours of volunteer work, recognition with the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award, and serving as Delaware TSA State President, where she organizes STEM education events and competitions. Puiyee finds joy in seeing her students and peers experience the “aha!” moment in their STEM education.

Alexis Magnano

Ponte Vedra High School, Ponte Vedra, FL

Alexis “Lexi” Magnano is a dedicated student leader who has made service a central part of her life. She co-founded JaxTHRIVE, a nonprofit organization that tutors and mentors refugee students, which has grown to have eight school clubs in three countries and accumulated over 11,000 service hours. Additionally, she co-created SmartART, a program that brought art history and application projects to nursing homes and memory care residents.

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Lexi found new ways to make a positive impact, leading STEAM projects and cleaning up the St. Augustine Homeless Coalition campus. She was recognized with the Leadership Jacksonville COVID Unsung Hero Award and the Ponte Vedra High School Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for her service. Lexi recently completed her Gold Award project, VolunTEEN, a social media platform connecting students with volunteer opportunities.

Abby Merhege

Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, Albuquerque, NM

Abby Merhege is a driven and passionate student leader dedicated to fighting injustice and making the world a better place. As a leader for Students Demand Action, she organized school walkouts in response to gun violence and spearheaded her school’s Make-a-Wish team, granting the wishes of critically ill children.

Abby is also involved with Girls on the Run, promoting female leadership, confidence, and emotional intelligence. Through her unwavering spirit of service, she challenges societal systems and inspires her community to join in the fight for a better world.

Anika Rao

West High School, Salt Lake City, UT

The 2023 NHS scholarship finalists list continues! Anika Rao is a first-generation Indian immigrant with a passion for social and economic justice. Her love for writing and journalism, as well as her commitment to service, is evident in her role as Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s newspaper, The Red and Black, where she covers underrepresented communities. Anika volunteers at the Salt Lake City Public Library and Salt Lake Peer Court, leading projects to increase representation in literature and provide a restorative alternative to the juvenile justice system.

She also tutors piano students in underserved communities and performs for senior centers with The Mundi Project, a Utah-based music nonprofit. As a leader in the National Honor Society and Key Club, Anika embodies the four pillars of the National Honor Society and hopes to pursue a career in journalism covering global development.

Sophia Salamy

Pinnacle High School, Phoenix, AZ

Sophia Salamy is a senior with an impressive record of academic excellence and dedication to community service and leadership. She has earned a place on the honor roll every semester and has volunteered countless hours to various organizations, including church ministries and relief projects.

Sophia’s natural leadership skills have led her to serve as the president of her school’s DECA chapter and founder and resident of the Arab Student Union, among other roles. She is positively impacting thousands of her peers.

Anjali Sivasothy

Logos Preparatory Academy, Sugar Land, TX

Anjali Sivasothy is a visionary at the intersection of technology, advocacy, and philanthropy. She co-founded the Texas Urban Redevelopment Foundation, a non-profit homebuilder providing housing for low-income families, and led a 35-member organization to develop a city sustainability plan as Chairwoman of her mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

Anjali also co-developed PartStack, a semiconductor marketplace startup that empowers women in STEM, and has raised over $25,000 for non-profits serving disenfranchised global communities. Her entrepreneurial engineering skills, activism, and award-winning cheerleading make her a compelling force for change dedicated to creating a more equitable society.

Catherine Tang

Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, IL

Catherine Tang is a student leader passionate about language learning, fluent in Spanish, French, and Chinese. She is a valuable member of her school’s World Languages Honor Society, where she arranges weekly cultural events and served as a Youth Ambassador to Argentina and Chile through USYA, a Spanish exchange scholarship.

Catherine is also committed to making a positive impact in her community, serving as a Policy Assistant for a local state representative and co-founding and leading her school’s law club.

Jennifer Vo: Another of the 2023 NHS scholarship finalists

BASIS Chandler, Chandler, AZ

Jennifer Vo is an unwavering advocate for equality and justice. She founded the Arizona chapter of Generation Ratify, a youth-led organization advancing gender equality, and works tirelessly as the National Southwest Director to promote full equality and protection for women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Jennifer’s advocacy efforts include promoting state and federal Equal Right Amendments and gun violence prevention, bringing together diverse groups to address the issue holistically. She is an accomplished leader, serving in various leadership roles at her school, driven by her unwavering belief that every individual should be treated with respect and care, regardless of their identity and background.

Carina Wang

American Heritage Schools, Palm Beach Campus, Delray Beach, FL

Meet Carina Wang, a student leader passionate about using technology to solve societal challenges. She developed a technological speaker device for older people in nursing homes and wrote biographies for hospice patients. As co-president of Speech and Debate, she analyzes legislation’s impact on marginalized communities and completed Congressional Cabinet internships.

As president of her school’s first robotics team, she researched how facial recognition algorithms affect racial discrimination in criminal justice and developed a robot to help school security personnel during emergencies. She has volunteered for over 1,300 hours, runs an annual robotics summer camp, tutors non-native English speakers, and manages over 70 student groups as President of Inter-Club Council.

Kanghui Zhang

Los Osos High School, Cucamonga, CA

Last but not least on the 2023 NHS scholarship finalists list of women to watch is Kanghui Zhang, a passionate and dedicated student leader who immigrated to the United States from Shandong, China, at age nine. For the past five years, Kanghui has devoted herself to uplifting the local Asian American community through various roles; during the pandemic, she continued to serve and was recognized for her efforts with multiple President’s Volunteer Service Awards.

She founded the Human Rights Club and two cross-campus social justice coalitions, and nationally, she serves on the Amnesty International USA Youth Collective and Human Rights Watch Student Task Force. Kanghui is also a National Merit Scholar Finalist and the winner of multiple academic awards, expressing her desire for wider realization of human rights for all through her writing and music.

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