RBR Hannah Gazdus Named National Merit Scholar Finalist Five other Students Recognized by the College Board
RBR Hannah Gazdus Named National Merit Scholar Finalist
Five other Students Recognized by the College Board
In mid-February, the College Board notified Red Bank Regional that senior Hannah Gazdus, 18, of Shrewsbury was one of 15,000 students nationwide selected as a National Merit Scholarship finalist. That represents the top 1% of over 1.5 million that take the PSAT in their junior year, upon which this scholarship is based. She now will compete for the scholarship from which 7,500 students are selected.
Hannah is a member of the RBR Visual & Performing Arts Academy as a Studio Arts Major. This young Renaissance woman has pursued her numerous talents in many areas. Hannah began her junior year at RBR after transferring from M.A.S.T., where she was a top student. She explains that the rich curriculum of the RBR academies as well as AP and IB courses offered her many more opportunities to explore. She is president of the National Art Honor Society and has earned membership in the National Math, National Spanish, and National Honor Societies. As a strong writer, she received a Silver Key for novel writing from the NJ Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is Co-Editor in Chief of the RBR student newspaper, The Buccaneer, and as a talented artist she received three Silver Keys and five Honorable Mentions from the Northeast Region-at-Large Scholastic Art Awards for her acrylic paintings and graphite illustrations of the World Trade Center. She had previously been commissioned by Silverstein Properties to produce pencil drawings based on the World Trade Center. Hannah started her own art business, Wren In Flight, LLC (WrenInFlight on Etsy) in which she also takes commissions for realty house drawings and markets her homemade watercolor paint. Manufacturing paint has merged her passions for both art and STEM. Hannah hopes to combine her creativity with her pursuit of the sciences as a materials or mechanical engineer.
Hannah states, “Being an artist lends you a different perspective in the engineering process, from problem-solving to generating ideas. The interdisciplinary aspect of STEM—especially now that art is being added through STEAM—shows me that there’s no limit to what one can create.”
Hannah has competed in NJ Science League competitions where she excelled. Her interest in STEM led her to volunteer for the Girls Coding group mentoring middle school female students to encourage them to study STEM in high school. In addition to being a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, she is an AP Scholar with Distinction.
RBR had learned earlier in the school year of merit commendations for several other students. Paul Bikker, 18, Little Silver, Maria Fotopoulos, 17, Shrewsbury, and Brendan Loftus, 18, Little Silver, were recognized as National Merit Program Commended Scholars. Commended Scholars represent the top 2.5% of the 1.5 million students who took the exam. Additionally, Amy Gardner, 17, Union Beach, and Liam Landree, 17, Little Silver, were recognized as 2018 College Board National Hispanic Scholars. These students were invited to apply to this program as they scored in the top 2.5% on their PSAT among all Hispanic and Latino test takers in the RBR region.
Paul Bikker is a member of RBR’s Academy of Engineering and wishes to pursue that field applying to engineering colleges. A hockey player, he played on RBR’s team for all four year of college. Paul is also a 2018 AP Scholar with Honors. Maria Fotopoulos intends to pursue a medical degree. She had interned at a surgical company and volunteered at Riverview Medical Center. She is also a member of the RBR Tennis Team. Brendan Loftus hopes to study economics and or/ political rhetoric and writing. His career aspirations include the management of public policy platforms with an aim to win elected office someday. Brendan is a member of both the French and National Honor Societies. He is an RBR track star and holds the school record in both the shot put and discus throw. Amy Gardner is a studio art major in the RBR Visual & Performing Art Major and a member of the RBR Jazz Band. She hopes to study science with a career focused on chemistry or pharmacology. Liam Landree would like to combine his strengths in English and music in his college studies. He plays guitar and composes his own music.