Exceptional Academic Skills Lead to National Merit Semifinalist Status

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Congratulations to senior Giuseppina Than who has qualified as a semifinalist in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program! Known by classmates as Pina, she is among 16,000 high school students nationwide who were awarded the distinction by achieving the highest scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“Being recognized as a National Merit semifinalist is a significant achievement,” Pina said. “The designation is an honor that will help with my college applications and scholarship opportunities.” Her pride extends to recognizing her sister, Luigia, who graduated from Port Jeff two years ago and advanced to the finalist standing in the 2018 annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

“I’m thrilled to be a National Merit semifinalist the same way I was thrilled to be named a Simons Research Fellow this past summer,” she said of when she worked in a pharmacology lab at Stony Brook University with two mentors on their ongoing research into mechanisms of gene regulation. “It was difficult, but I got to do cool processes, even one including radioactive material. It was a glimpse into a possible future, and National Merit is a step in opening that door.”

An exceptional student, Pina has taken every math course offered in the district and enjoys being on the Mathletes team, where she has been a member since middle school. Her diligent work in class and her participation in a variety of clubs include her involvement in the district’s Latin Club since seventh grade – a language and culture she is fascinated by and loves to study. Last year she was honored with an Oxford Classical Dictionary by the National Latin Exam committee in recognition of a four-year, consecutive Gold Medal streak, a prestigious accomplishment.

Her outstanding academic talents give her the opportunity to continue in the competition, in which she must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level and a chance to earn the Merit Scholar title.