University School students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Published 3:57 pm Monday, December 20, 2021

JOHNSON CITY — Three University School students have been officially recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Two of the students, Lillian Elder and Zoe Trainor, have been named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. The third student, Shazib Siddiqui, has been named as a Semifinalist.
Roughly 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their academic promise. Although they will not continue to the 2022 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
“I was happy to hear that I am a Commended Student,” said Elder. “My mother is a psychologist who dedicates her time to helping others, and I really look up to her. In the future, I hope to double major in sociology and computer science. I would love to be a librarian.”
“It’s exciting knowing I got so far in the process,” said Trainor. “I’m very interested in psychology and anthropology. I would love to become a therapist, or otherwise engage in serving my community, but I’m taking time to figure out what it is I’m most passionate about.”
Approximately 16,000 students throughout the nation have been named as Semifinalists. These exceptionally academically talented high school seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million. About 95% of Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will receive a National Merit Scholarship, earning the coveted Merit Scholar® title.
“Being a Semifinalist was not something I was expecting,” said Siddiqui. “It’s amazing. I look up to my family, and am working on following in their footsteps. I’m considering a career in medicine, maybe microbiology and chemistry. The most important thing to me is that I am able to help people.”
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
For more information about the National Merit Scholarship, visit
For more information about University School students that applied to the National Merit Scholarship Program, contact Aleeta Shaw at or 423-439-6939.

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