14 Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

The Waukee Community School District is celebrating the success of 14 National Merit Semifinalists!

2022 National Merit Semifinalists

  • Jason Chen (WHS)
  • Sahishnu Duvvuri Gangadhara Sai (NWHS)
  • Michael Heidt (WHS)
  • Keegan Jagim (WHS)
  • Arya Karnik (NWHS)
  • Ioanna-Aliki Kassioti (NWHS)
  • Mrithuul Prasath Madan Prasad (WHS)
  • Rachel Marwedel (WHS)
  • Pujit Mekala (WHS)
  • Palin Narsian (WHS)
  • Spencer Paulsen (NWHS)
  • Sai Rayasam (WHS)
  • Ryan Sjurson (WHS)
  • Michael Stogdill (NWHS)
    • Ethan Rogers (WHS) – Commended Student


High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

National Merit Semifinalists

In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state. Qualifying scores vary from state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all Semifinalists are extremely high. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist.


In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are also notified and provided with a Certificate of Merit to present to each Finalist.

Winner Selection

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards (Merit Scholar® designees) are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC to evaluate: The Finalist’s academic record, information about the school’s curriculum and grading system, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score, the high school official’s written recommendation, information about the student’s activities and leadership, and the Finalist’s own essay.

More Information

For more information on the National Merit Scholar® program, click here.