CLEMSON, South Carolina — The Blue Ridge yawns greatness yet again as Clemson University welcomes 12 students into the National Scholars Program. It is the program’s largest cohort in four years and includes eight students from South Carolina.

The National Scholars Program aims to provide inquisitive student leaders with specialized enrichment opportunities. Selected students are presented a competitive scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition; provided the option to spend a summer studying abroad; advised in both group and individual settings; and prepared to thrive post-graduation.

Roann Abdeladl

“Clemson’s National Scholars Program was presented as so much more than just financial assistance,” said Roann Abdeladl, a health sciences major and women’s leadership minor joining the program from Greenville, South Carolina. “I could tell that I would be getting support from valuable mentors and would gain unique opportunities as part of the National Scholars Program.”

Of the 2,000 Honors College applicants, 34 students were invited to interview during the National Scholars Program Selection Weekend.

The 12 selected represent a diverse range of interests and backgrounds, with planned majors in six of Clemson’s colleges. These exceptional students have an average unweighted GPA of  3.985 and an average SAT score equivalent of more than 1510.

“These students emerged from a highly competitive process and exemplify everything we look for in National Scholars: intellectual curiosity, leadership and a desire to make an impact in their communities,” said Sarah Winslow, director of the National Scholars Program. “They constitute our largest cohort in four years and we’re excited about the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and interests they bring with them to Clemson and our program.”

The members of the 2018 cohort were sought by top institutions across the nation and received offers from more than 30 universities, including Johns Hopkins, Oxford, Duke, Boston and Harvard universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Destiny Boone

“When I came for the interview weekend, I was so impressed with the people I met,” said incoming cohort member Destiny Boone, a computer science major and digital production arts minor from Summerville, South Carolina. “All of the students from other National Scholar cohorts were not only friendly, but also served as valuable resources, eagerly and candidly answering all of the questions I had about the program and their experiences at Clemson.”

“I felt like I would have a true support system while at Clemson, which was very important to me when choosing a college,” Boone continued. “Since choosing Clemson, I have already experienced the ‘Clemson family’ that exists beyond school grounds, and I am confident that choosing Clemson and the National Scholars Program was the best choice I could have made.”

The new scholars are:

Roann Abdeladl, Greenville Technical Charter High School, Greenville, South Carolina
Abdeladl is the founder and executive director of the Youth Interfaith, an organization that promotes inter-religious cooperation among high school and college students through dialogue and community service. She was the co-founder and team captain of her high school’s Speech and Debate Team and co-founded its nationally recognized Students in Action Team. She is a National Merit Scholar, a U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalist, a Coca-Cola Scholar and the four-time South Carolina State Champion in Extemporaneous Speaking. She plans to pursue a degree in health sciences with a minor in women’s leadership.

Clemson University’s National Scholars are (front row, from left) Roann Abdeladl, Destiny Boone, Kat Terwelp, Margo McManus (2017 cohort), Jacob Sargent (2017 cohort), Claudia Wong (2017 cohort), Mira Pichai , Helena Upshaw; (back row) Nick Deas, McCormick Emge, Carson Colenbaugh, Ronnie Clevenstine, Elise Blackburn, Carly Malcolm (2016 cohort), Jackson Dugger (2017 cohort), Nate Matzko (2017 cohort), Hannah Roebuck and Natalie Claypool. Graduate assistant Samantha Hilker is kneeling.

Clemson University’s National Scholars are (front row, from left) Roann Abdeladl, Destiny Boone, Kat Terwelp, Margo McManus (2017 cohort), Jacob Sargent (2017 cohort), Claudia Wong (2017 cohort), Mira Pichai , Helena Upshaw; (back row) Nick Deas, McCormick Emge, Carson Colenbaugh, Ronnie Clevenstine, Elise Blackburn, Carly Malcolm (2016 cohort), Jackson Dugger (2017 cohort), Nate Matzko (2017 cohort), Hannah Roebuck and Natalie Claypool. Graduate assistant Samantha Hilker is kneeling.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Elise Blackburn, Academic Magnet High School, Charleston, South Carolina
Blackburn served as treasurer of her high school’s junior and senior classes, on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership board and was a member of National Honor Society. To study how educational picture books can teach basic oral hygiene in Latin American countries, Blackburn wrote a picture book in Spanish and distributed 500 copies to rural schools in southern Honduras. She is an AP Scholar with Honors, treasurer of the National Spanish Honor Society and received a Gold Key Distinction for Excellence in Writing from Scholastic. She plans to study Spanish and international health.

Destiny Boone, Summerville High School, Summerville, South Carolina
Boone was part of the 2014 State Championship marching band. She participated in Summerville High School’s model United Nations team, helping it win two Winthrop Cups and a Secretariat Award in a span of three years, along with winning an individual Distinguished Delegate Award. She has been a part of Student Council, Art Club and the math team, and served as a student representative on the School Improvement Council. A passionate artist, Boone created her own website where she promotes her artwork and has sold her work at the Flowertown Festival. Her art has placed twice at the Coastal Carolina Fair and was displayed at Converse College’s “Young Women in Art” juried exhibition. She is a NASA STEM Outreach awardee and attended various events promoting STEM careers to children during her junior year. Having lived in Japan for six years as a child, Boone has an interest in studying abroad. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and has won numerous other academic awards. Boone graduated Summa Cum Laude from Trident Technical College with an associate’s degree as part of her school’s Early College Program. She plans to major in computer science with a minor in digital production arts.

Natalie Claypool, Assumption High School, Louisville, Kentucky
Claypool is an advocate for Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization seeking to provide safe surgery for children worldwide. She served as a student educator on an Operation Smile medical mission in Mexico, participated in the International Student Leadership Conference in San Diego and served as president of her high school’s Operation Smile club. Claypool completed a four-year research project on “Childhood Reading’s Effect on Emotional Intelligence” and played competitive soccer for three years. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, Kentucky Governor’s Scholar and member of the Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council. She plans to pursue a degree in Spanish and international health.

Ronnie Clevenstine, J. L. Mann High School, Greenville, South Carolina
During her time in high school, Clevenstine co-created and led an Environmental Science Club and created a composting program to reduce waste during lunch. She created and led a Creative Writing Club to bring authors and poets to J. L. Mann, worked to service her community as a leader of the Greenville Rotary Interact Club and worked as a barista at Starbucks. While at J.L. Mann, she was a member of the National Honor Society and earned an Academic Letter and Bar and a varsity letter in cross country. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and won Outstanding Environmental Science Student of the Year. She plans to major in both environmental and political science.

Carson Colenbaugh, Kennesaw Mountain High School, Kennesaw, Georgia
Colenbaugh is an Eagle Scout who serves as an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 510. He is an active member of Kennesaw Mountain Drama, serves on the Drama Leadership Team, is a three-year Literary Team region champ, a three-year One-Act Play Competition region champ, a 2016 State One-Act Play Champion and the 2017 Georgia State Best Actor. Colenbaugh graduated with honors from Kennesaw Mountain High School’s Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology and is an AP Scholar with Distinction. He plans to pursue a major in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

Nick Deas, Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Deas served as captain of Hilton Head Island High School’s FRC Robotics Team before transferring to the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. There, he continued to program for the robotics team while also involving himself with the Programming Club and #ConnectHartsville, a small group of students that helped develop local businesses’ online presence through websites and social media. Deas was a member of the varsity tennis and varsity basketball teams. During summer 2017, Deas attended the MITES program, a selective six-week program for minorities interested in STEM held at MIT while also beginning his research in artificial intelligence through Clemson University. He is a National Merit Finalist, a National AP Scholar and served as a calculus tutor for two years. He plans to major in computer science with a possible double major in psychology.

McCormick Emge, Han, Charleston, South Carolina
McCormick was the valedictorian of the School of the Arts and graduated with Service Distinction. A classically trained pianist, he enjoys playing jazz piano, as well as synthesizers and other keyboard instruments.. His band, Fusion Jonez, which he formed with fellow School of the Arts classmates, was named Charleston City Paper’s “2017 Up-and-coming Band of the Year.” Throughout high school, McCormick contributed more than 400 hours of volunteer work, showing his dedication to promoting leadership and service through programs including National Honor Society, Jefferson Service Club, Tri-M Music Honors Society and Boy Scouts of America. McCormick is an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman. He co-captained the SOA sailing team and is currently pursuing his private pilot’s license. He is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and Palmetto Fellows recipient. He will major in electrical engineering, through which he plans to explore the convergence of engineering and music.

Hannah Roebuck, Parkview High School, Lilburn, Georgia
Roebuck served as senior class president and as the chapter founder and president of the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. She also served on the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team and led the Parkview Student Leadership Team of approximately 100 students. Roebuck attended the Governor’s Honors Program for social studies as a sophomore and worked as an intern for Georgia’s Secretary of State after participating in the Secretary of State Student Ambassador Program. She was declared an Outstanding Georgia Citizen, an AP Scholar with Distinction and is the recipient of the prestigious Journal Cup Award sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She plans to major in political science and women’s leadership.

Mira Pichai, Mauldin High School, Mauldin, South Carolina
Pichai served as the president of the National Art Honor Society for two years and was a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and National Honor Society. She has won awards from Artisphere in Greenville, Converse College and Lander University for her artwork. She also performed with the Spartanburg Bella Corda classical guitar ensemble for seven years and has played at many venues, including Brookgreen Gardens’ Nights of a Thousand Candles. She is a National Merit Finalist, an AP Scholar with Distinction and the salutatorian of Mauldin High School. She plans to major in computer science and minor in digital production arts and Japanese.

Kat Terwelp, Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
As a senior, Terwelp was co-captain of her school’s varsity tennis team and lettered each year while at Wauwatosa. She earned scholar-athlete awards, Coaches Award and two Gold Keys for Illustration in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is an AP Scholar and was named an honor roll student all four years. In 2015, she received a patent for a desk barrier she designed to prevent items from falling off lift-lid desks. A passionate artist, she volunteers for local art fairs, has created bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser and sells her artwork at a local art shop in Wisconsin. She was a member of her high school newspaper staff, Forensics Club and Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society. She plans to major in microbiology and wants to participate in several research opportunities while studying at Clemson.

Helena Upshaw, Academic Magnet High School, Charleston, South Carolina
Upshaw founded her school’s Glee Club, completed a stage management apprenticeship with Charleston Stage and was captain of her high school’s Varsity Tennis Team. She serves on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention Official Youth Presence and was an intern for the Charleston County School District’s IT Department. For her senior thesis, she completed a research project called “The Effects of Music Therapy on Dementia.” She is a Choral Scholar with Grace Church Cathedral, plays the djembe for the AMHS Dirty Birds. She also organized the AMHS Francis Marion Forest Clean-Up. She plans to pursue a major in computer science with minors in sustainability and nonprofit management.