GSSM Celebrates 20 National Merit Semifinalists

September 21, 2016

The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is proud to announce that 20 members of the Class of 2017 were recently named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). These academically motivated students are now eligible for continued competition in the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).

GSSM's 2017 National Merit Semifinalists are:

  • Maegan Albert, child of Robin and Ron Albert, of Darlington
  • Chris Bodkin, child of Maureen Bodkin and Christopher A. Bodkin, Sr., of Summerville
  • Nikki Bregman, child of Norie and Jim Bregman, of Charleston
  • Anish Chaluvadi, child of Dr. Purnima and Dr. Siva Chaluvadi, of Simpsonville
  • Hunter Damron, child of Maribeth and Greg Damron, of Edgemoor
  • Natalie Duprez, child of Carol and Hubert Duprez, of Fort Mill
  • Griffin Gatchell, child of Heather and Michael Gatchell, of Greenville
  • Benjamin H. Gray, child of Dr. Auston and Karen Gray, of Sumter
  • Isaiah Ho, child of Wing M. Lau and Dr. Chi M. Ho, of Simpsonville
  • Harrison Howell, child of Jonna and John Howell, Jr., of Lexington
  • Michelle Huang, child of Yue Yan Lin and Guang Hua Huang, of Lexington
  • Maya Jensen, child of Dawn and Stephen Jensen, of Blythewood
  • Ivey Li, child of Xiuzhen Lu and Dr. Zhenheng Li, of Aiken
  • Morganne May, child of Molly McKenzie, Tessa and Sean May, of Taylors
  • Hailey Mollica, child of Denise Santoli and James Mollica, of Okatie
  • Gracen Mueller, child of Kelly and the late Jeff Meuller, of Greenville
  • Dan Wesley Robinson, III, child of Dr. Janie M. and Dr. Dan. W. Robinson, of Greenwood
  • Jeffrey A. Russell, child of Kendra and Jeff Russell, of York
  • William Rene Schmidt, child of Edie Philips and Rob Schmidt, of Hilton Head Island
  • Victoria L. Young, child of Michelle and Randy Young, of Tega Cay

"We are extremely proud of our National Merit Semifinalists and all our students,” said Dr. Hector Flores, GSSM president. “It is a joy to talk to our students every day and see how they grow in intellect and character.”

NMSC chose approximately 16,000 Semifinalists from across the nation. All of the students became immediately competitive for approximately 7,600 scholarships worth more than $33 million that will be offered next spring. 

The program begins with students taking the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). Semifinalists across the nation are then named based on the highest-scoring entrants in each state. A student becomes a finalist based on academic record, high school principal endorsement and an SAT score confirming their qualifying test score.

Approximately 90 percent of Semifinalists are expected to become finalists and over half of the finalists will be awarded scholarships. Awards will be announced beginning in March 2017 and concluding in June. For more information, visit

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