Nevada Scholars Signing Days celebrate 8 years

The University includes 50 National Merit Scholarship Finalists and 300 Presidential Scholars - and growing

Douglas High School student Zachary Kellar signed his commitment as a Presidential Scholar to the University of Nevada, Reno, where he will study mathematics starting this fall. This year, eight National Merit Scholarship Finalists and 19 Presidential Scholars were honored at seven events.


6/23/2016 | By: Natalie Savidge |

For eight years, the University has partnered with Nevada high schools in Nevada Scholars Signing Days, ceremonies reminiscent of high school athletes' "signing days" to acknowledge the decision of best-and-brightest scholars to attend the University.  

The University's student body recently included 300 Presidential Scholars and 50 National Merit Scholars. Scholarships awarded through National Merit programs are regarded as some of the highest academic honors attainable by U.S. high school students. Each year, about 1.5 million students enter the National Merit competition by taking the PSAT. About 15,000 students become Finalists (1 percent), and about half become National Merit Scholars. The University received sponsorship status by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation seven years ago.

Sage Ridge School senior and Presidential Scholar Sahajpreet Singh was recognized at a signing ceremony May 27, and has already been conducting research in the University's Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory.

"I've had such a great experience through that research and I just wanted to continue that forward when I pursed higher education," Singh said. "More than just research, I just want to make friends and meet new people, have a great time, learn a lot but also mature as an individual."

The college preparatory school student also explained what the scholarship means to him.

"Being a Presidential Scholars means I will have a greater ability to choose what I want to study without a financial burden" Singh said. "That's just a great opportunity for me to pursue microbiology and immunology and become a doctor one day without so much debt."

National Merit Scholars receive up to a $16,000 annual scholarship, automatic entry into the Honors Program, as well as a place in the Residential Scholars Community of the Nevada Living Learning Community building. Presidential Scholars receive $5,000 per year for four years of undergraduate study. 

National Merit Scholarship Finalist Calista Manuel's mom, Sonja Manuel, talked about her daughter's scholarship after her signing ceremony at Sage Ridge School.

"Words can't describe it," Manuel, an environmental engineer, said. "We were so pleased, so thankful. Thankful for the opportunity the University made to make her feel so special; I don't know of another University that goes out of their way to help the academic student feel like they are a big part of the University."

Calista will begin her undergraduate studies in the mechanical engineering program this fall.

University President Marc Johnson, Provost Kevin Carman, deans, department chairs and many more University representatives were on hand at these events to congratulate and welcome the scholars who will enter the University as part of the Wolf Pack family this fall.

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