Science and Mathematics Governor’s School Celebrates 18 National Merit Semifinalists

September 15, 2015

The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is proud to announce that 18 members of the Class of 2016 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 2016 National Merit Semifinalists are:

  • Alex Adams, son of Philip and Changqing Adams of Fort Mill
  • Hamza Ahmed, son of Javed and Faria Ahmed of Greenville
  • Selen Berkman, daughter of Mert and Minis Berkman of Greenville
  • Blaine Billings, son of Joel and Lindsey Billings of Florence
  • Garrett Buchmann, son of Terry and Ashley Buchmann of Irmo
  • Eleanor Burch, daughter of Rev. Marcus C. and Dr. Barbara Burch of Simpsonville
  • Jeffrey Chen, son of Tieling and Lian Chen of Aiken
  • Ben Epstein, son of David and Madeline Epstein of Pawleys Island
  • Henry Hardin, son of Tom and Allison Hardin of Columbia
  • Lotta Keller, daughter of Holger and Sandra Keller of Hartsville
  • Zachary Klein, son of Jeff and Brenda Klein of Aiken
  • Rae Lee, daughter of Gillean Lee and Rang Oh of Greenwood
  • Dhruw Maisuria, son of Mukesh and Himaxi Maisuria of Lexington
  • Emily Milz, daughter of Ron and Lisa Milz of Florence
  • Tiger Mou, son of Yanghu Mou and Haiping Huang of Greer
  • Michael Ott, son of Walter Ott and Suzy Kim of Greenville
  • Erin Scott, daughter of David and Jutta Scott of Orangeburg
  • Frank Brennan Webb, son of John C. and Sharon Flynn Webb of Florence

"We congratulate our National Merit Semifinalists and wish them all the best as they continue on in this prestigious scholarship competition,” said Dr. Murray Brockman, GSSM president.

NMSC chose 201 Semifinalists from South Carolina and 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 2016 and concluding in June. For more information, visit

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