BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — During this segment of the school year, seniors across the country are trying to figure out where they will go to college. A significant factor in this decision revolves around two words: financial aid.
Anagha Putrevu is one of the few seniors at Shenendehowa High School who are finalists in the academic scholarship competition for recognition and university scholarships that are administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. — a privately funded non-profit organization.
Every year about 1.5 million students compete. The semifinalists were announced in November, the finalists in February and the winners will be revealed shortly.
The semifinalists represent the top 0.5 percent of the state’s high school seniors. In order to advance as a finalist, they must complete a detailed application; their SAT scores, grades and personal statements also are reviewed.
About 7,600 winners receive scholarships totaling $35 million, which is not a lot of money per student. There is a considerable sense of accomplishment to go with the prestigious award, however.
Putrevu applied to nine different colleges. She has already been accepted to Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, McGill University and Northeastern University. She is still waiting to hear from University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon University and the University System of Georgia.
The University of Pennsylvania and Georgia Tech are her favorites because they have the best programs for research into the applications of computer science, which is what she plans to pursue as a major.
“I want do something with researching medical technology; I took a programming course last year and I thought it was a lot of fun, so I looked into what I could do with it.”
Seeing new places
Putrevu was born in Canada, but her family moved quite frequently throughout her youth. “I lived in Paris for a year and Australia for a couple of years. I had a really cute Australian accent which I have since lost,” Putrevu said. “Just the fact that we got to travel a lot was interesting because we got see new places all the time.”
Her father, Sanjay, is a professor at the University at Albany who is going to become the dean of business at the University of Wyoming when the family moves once again, after Putrevu’s graduation from Shenendehowa. Her mother, Venkata, works for the state as a trainer for the Office of Children and Family Services.
Her 21-year-old brother, Karann, is studying at Cornell with a double major in biology and biological engineering. He hopes to go into conservation. “He wants to save the tiger,” Putrevu said. “He’s my greatest influence; we were close enough in age where we share a lot of interests, and when I didn’t know what I wanted to do I used to tell people I was studying what he is studying so I would sound really impressive.”
In her spare time, she acted as the costume manager for the Shen drama group’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
“I ordered all of the costumes and put them together,” Putrevu said.
She also plays the violin in the orchestra, and serves as the vice president of the World of Difference club, which is a group that goes into the classrooms of elementary school students for acceptance and anti-bullying activities.
Ten years from now, Putrevu imagines herself living in or near a city and continuing post-graduate work. “I could see myself getting a doctorate in artificial intelligence,” she said.