University of South Carolina

USC announces 2010 Carolina Scholars

Twenty graduating seniors from South Carolina high schools have been named 2010 Carolina Scholars at the University of South Carolina while another two were selected as Carolina Scholar Finalists.

Carolina Scholars and Finalists are admitted into the South Carolina Honors College and are awarded an annual scholarship ($10,000 for Carolina Scholars; $7,000 for Finalists), a laptop computer and first choices in parking and housing.

The Carolina Scholars are Avnika Bhavesh Amin of Columbia, Runjhun Bhatia of Greer, Marc-Oliver Blais of Irmo, Lawton Cole Burkhalter of Chapin, Alice Ying Ying Chang of Summerville, William Ellis Culp of Greenville, Kristina Michelle Drake of Irmo, Leila Marie Heidari of Columbia, Kathleen Rose Higgins of Charleston, Charles Michael Hood of Columbia, Priyanka Sandhir Juneja of Irmo, Jessica Victoria Kaczmarek of North Augusta, Niki Paulette Koutroulakis of Columbia, Sarah Amelia Law of Elgin, Emily Clark Padget of Columbia, Savannah Allyn Poskevich of Moore, Jake Garner Ross of Greenville, Samruddhi Prashant Somani of Summerville, Felician Georg Stratmann of Irmo, and Mackenzie Ann Sunday of Columbia.

The Carolina Scholar Finalists are Rachel Lee Price of Hopkins and Dylan John Wolfinger of Greer. Avnika Amin, daughter of Bhavesh and Divya Amin of Columbia, is a graduate of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, where she was a National Merit scholar, 2010 National Latin Exam gold medalist, editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine and captain of the model UN team. Amin plans on majoring in biology with interests in international studies, research and pre-med.

Runjhun Bhatia, daughter of Sunilkumar and Renu Bhatia of Greer, is a graduate of Riverside High School, where she was a National Merit scholar and was involved in speech and debate and classical Indian dance. Bhatia intends to study neuroscience, psychology and biology and will work toward a baccalaureus atrium et scientia, the most selective and rigorous undergraduate degree program at the university.

Marc-Oliver Blais, son of Daniel Blais and Lise Couture of Irmo, is a graduate of Dutch Fork High School, where he was the 2010 regional champion of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, 2009 state finalist of the National Chemistry Olympiad, member of the National Honor Society and a varsity tennis player. Blais plans on studying chemical engineering.

Lawton Burkhalter, son of Mark and Tracy Burkhalter of Chapin, is a graduate of Chapin High School, where he was a National Merit finalist, Palmetto fellow, AP scholar with distinction and recipient of the James E. Casey Scholarship sponsored by the UPS Foundation. Burkhalter, a native of Albany, Ga., plans on majoring in chemical engineering.

Alice Chang, daughter of Shujun and Sophia Chang of Summerville, is a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, where she was a National Merit scholar, captain of the science team and president and founder of the Habitat for Humanity Club. She was named most effective attorney for two years in mock trial and has played the piano in state and national competitions. Chang has an interest in biomedical engineering and plans on majoring in international business.

Will Culp, son of William and Ellisa Culp of Greenville, is a graduate of Christ Church Episcopal School, where he was senior class president, editor-in-chief of the Cavalier Express, captain of the varsity track team, member of the Cum Laude Society, Watson Brown scholar, AP scholar and James Otis scholar. Culp plans on majoring in history and political science.

Tina Drake, daughter of Albert and Stephanie Drake of Irmo, is a graduate of Dutch Fork High School, where she was the 2010 valedictorian, a National Merit scholar, AP scholar with distinction, member of the National Honor Society, member of the National Society of High School Scholars and a 2009 research grant recipient from the National Science Foundation. She was also co-captain of DFHS mock trial team, co-vice president of the Junior Civitans Club, vice president of the Beta Club, co-captain of the competitive dance team and public-relations officer of the DFHS Teens Against Prejudice Club. Drake has interests in pre-medicine and biology and plans on majoring in biomedical engineering.

Leila Heidari, daughter of Khosrow and Melissa Heidari of Columbia, is a graduate of Cardinal Newman School, where she was senior class president, a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of the French Club, member of the academic quiz bowl team, delegate to Palmetto Girls State, member of Cardinal Newman Honor Council and member of the varsity tennis team. Heidari has an interest in math and science but has not declared a major.

Katie Rose Higgins, daughter of Kevin and Kay Higgins of Charleston, is a graduate of First Baptist School, where she was student president, member of the National Honor Society and member of the math team. She was named MVP of varsity basketball, varsity volleyball and varsity golf and was the South Carolina state champion in golf. Higgins plans on majoring in business.

Michael Hood, son of Charles and Anita Hood of Columbia, is a graduate of Irmo High School, where he was a National Merit scholar, Palmetto fellow, U.S. Presidential Scholarship candidate, AP scholar with distinction, chapter president of the National Honor Society, member and senior co-captain of the varsity tennis team and delegate to South Carolina Palmetto Boys State. A pianist, Hood attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities and competed in the National Federation of Music Clubs Junior Composers Contest, where he was state winner for the past five years and regional winner and national finalist for three years. Both of Michael’s parents were Carolina Scholars. Hood is interested in pre-med and plans to major in biomedical engineering with a minor in music.

Priyanka Juneja, daughter of Anil and Anita Juneja of Irmo, is a graduate of Dutch Fork High School where she was an AP scholar, AP scholar with distinction, captain of the mock trial team and participated in Taekwondo. Juneja has an interest in pre-law and plans on majoring in international business.

Jessica Kaczmarek, daughter of Jacek and Aleksandra Kaczmarek of North Augusta, is the 2010 valedictorian of North Augusta High School, where she was vice president of the National Honor Society, member of Beta Club and contributor to the school magazine, The Painted Quilt. She won national first place awards in business communications and computer applications at the 2008 and 2009 Future Business Leaders of America national leadership conference. She also volunteered more than 200 hours at University Hospital and at Fort Discovery. Kaczmarek plans on majoring in chemistry with a minor in business.

Sarah Law, daughter of Ted and Joan Law of Columbia, is a graduate of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, where she was a Palmetto fellow, Cum Laude chapter historian for the National Honor Society, AP scholar and treasurer of the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science. Law is interested in pre-med and plans to major in biology and environmental science.

Emily Padget, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Padget of Columbia, is a graduate of Richland Northeast High School, where she was student president, South Carolina winner of the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Scholarship and a member of the model United Nations team, which achieved national first place. Padget is interested in public policy and plans on majoring in political science.

Savannah Poskevich, daughter of Daniel and Lisa Poskevich of Moore, is a graduate of Dorman High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, chorus and varsity tennis team and played in the North-South All Star tennis team. Poskevich is interested in chemistry and plans on majoring in pharmacy.

Jake Ross, son of Danny and Leah Ross of Greenville, is a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, where he was named a 2010 U.S. Presidential scholar, one of only 141 in the country. Ross’ creative writing was read aloud at Carnegie Hall when he received a $10,000 award and was named 2010 National Portfolio gold medalist. Ross is also a Palmetto fellow and a $5,000 Young Arts Silver Award winner. Ross plans on studying creative writing and environmental studies.

Samruddhi Somani, daughter of Prasnant and Syoti Somani of North Charleston, is a graduate of Northwoods Academy, where she was a National Merit scholar, a member of the National Honors Society and Beta Club and captain of the quiz bowl regional champions. Somani plans on majoring in mechanical engineering.

Felician Stratman, son of Johannes and Claudia Stratmann of Columbia, is a graduate of Dutch Fork High School, where he was a member of the FIRST Robotics team and his high school’s science team, which placed first in astronomy and remote sensing. Stratmann plays the piano and the bassoon and has been principal bassoonist for the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Stratmann plans on pursuing a major in physics.

Mackenzie Sunday, daughter of Tom and Ilona Sunday of Columbia, is a graduate of A.C. Flora High School, where she was valedictorian and a National Merit finalist. Sunday is interested in studying neuroscience and psychology.

Rachel Price, daughter of Joe and Cindy Price of Hopkins, is a graduate of the Hammond School, where she was an AP scholar, member of the Cum Laude Society and member of the National Honor Society. She was representative at Palmetto Girls State, received the Westpoint Leadership Award and volunteered at Carolina Wildlife Care. Price has not decided on a major but is interested in studying Spanish, engineering and business.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/29/10 @ 11:00 AM | Updated: 08/02/10 @ 5:24 PM | Permalink