By Ken Sen, crew clerk
Chandler was well represented in the competition for the prestigious Flynn Scholarship when the best candidates for 2022 were recently announced.
Nine students living in Chandler made it out of the 80 semi-finalists and five advanced to the 39 finalists.
The Flynn Scholarship is worth over $120,000 and covers tuition, fees, housing, and meals at one of the state’s three public universities. It also includes two study abroad periods and connects scholars to a large number of experts in a number of fields of study.
About half of the finalists, 20 out of 39, will receive the Flynn Scholarship, which was started in 1986 by the Flynn Foundation.
The nine Chandler residents who received semi-final recognition were Anukh Ambadipudi from Pasha High School. Loralei Cook of Arizona Connections Academy; Isaac Kahn of Desert Vista High School; Kayla is the king of Chandler High School; Simon Cawthorne, King of Chandler High School; Moira MacCatherine from Perry High School; Sebastian Pastrana of Chandler Academy Prep; Shruti Ramkuma from Hamilton High School; and Audrey Ann Wood of Seton Catholic High School.
Some of the semi-finalists have removed themselves from consideration because they were awarded other scholarships. Flynn scholarships are only good at the three Arizona universities.
The five Chandler’s on the list include Pasha Hai Ambadipudi; Arizona Communications cook; It was a desert vista; Chandler Hay; Kayla King; and Perry High’s MacCatherine.
The Flynn Foundation says it plans to announce Class 2022 Scientists April.
Here’s some additional information on some of the Chandler finalists:
Loralei Cook, Arizona Connections Academy: Loralei says she knows what the keys were to making her way to the Flinn Finals.
“I believe the combination of my involvement in the community and my personality was a key factor in reaching the finals,” she wrote in an email. “Throughout high school, I advocated a community-based approach to progress and innovation through open communication, organizing, and networking—something I believe helped me in the Flynn Scholarship process.”
Loralei is a member of several social and political advocacy groups (recently named as the U.S. Senate Youth Program delegate for Arizona). She assisted with social science research at Arizona State University and represented the Arizona Foundation to advocate for her school’s student council.
Isaac Kahn, Desert Vista High School: Isaac is a member of the Arizona Governor’s Youth Committee and a member of the Arizona Department of Education’s Student Advisory Board.
Isaac says he plans to become a biomedical engineer. He applied for admission to Barrett College Honorary College, Stanford University and Arizona State University. He has taken 11 advanced placement courses. He plays the piano and chess and also builds his computer.
“I was very excited when I got the news, as expected,” he wrote. “I remember the first thing I did was tell my parents, and then I got excited and scared to go ahead with the interview process.”
Kayla King, Chandler High School: King has an average score of 4.79. In addition to her studies, she is engaged in theater, dance and piano, and loves to play golf.
She said her passion is theater, and she helps guide children in this field. She is a candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
“I volunteer whenever I can, and some of my favorite opportunities have been Adolescent Court (a peer jury aimed at restorative justice) and Access News, where I record myself reading news or magazines for visually impaired people,” Kayla wrote.
Moira MacCatherine, Berry High School: Berry High School wants to become a nurse and is already gaining experience in the field. Volunteer at Banner Desert Medical Center and Shea Scottsdale Medical Center.
Moira is the president of the National Honor Society and Perry Women’s STEM Club. She said she believed her leadership and community service experience helped her get selected for the Flynn Finals.
“As an aspiring nurse, I make an impact on my community by helping patients and visitors during their stay in the hospital,” Moira said. “It can be a very scary time for both the patient and loved ones, so having a volunteer to help them or listen to their concerns makes the process a little easier.”