Congratulations to Deer Lakes senior Rick Gao who is a National Merit Scholarship winner!
Rick will receive the PPG Foundation Community Scholarship, which is for $6,000 spread out over four years. He will attend Yale University where he will major in Computer Science.
“I’m super honored to have my academic achievements recognized,” Rick said. “I’m also appreciative of my teachers, counselors, and the whole staff at Deer Lakes for their flexibility, because it took a lot of time to do this and they were very helpful throughout the whole process.”
Of the 1.5 million entrants, about 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
In early September, about 16,000 students are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards among other requirements.
All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. The Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curriculum and grading system, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay are taken into consideration.
In addition to being a National Merit Scholarship winner, Rick is on the Congressional Debate team, Student Council, and National Honors Society. He also is the President of French National Honors Society and on the Cross Country team. Rick also volunteers as a Computer Science instructor with Steel City Codes and is a Teacher’s Assistant with Pittsburgh Chinese Schools. Outside of school, Rick is a casual pianist and enjoys competitive coding.