College acceptance letters have not been sent out yet but for many high school seniors, there is still the matter of paying for school.
So while neither Marium Raza nor Shloak Jain know where they will be enrolled next year, the Redmond High School seniors are already busy applying for scholarships to fund their higher education.
One of those scholarships the pair applied for was the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Scholarship.
Raza and Jain were recently named semifinalists and were two out of 38 students from Washington who were selected.
Nearly 86,000 students nationwide applied for the award and students are selected for outstanding leadership, academic achievement and dedication to their community. From the pool of semifinalists, 250 regional finalists were selected to receive a $1,000 educational stipend. One-hundred fifty scholars will be selected to receive $20,000 scholarships and attend a scholars weekend in Atlanta.
Last week, Raza was notified that she was a regional finalist and said the next step for her will be an interview and then she will be notified of whether she is one of the 150 to receive a $20,000 scholarship.
Jain said he was notified that he had not been named a regional finalist, but he plans to continue researching and applying for scholarships to help pay for college.
Although they have applied for a number of colleges and universities, acceptance letters are not sent out for another few weeks.
Raza said she is interested in studying biology or biochemistry.
“Obviously, UW (the University of Washington) has a really good program,” she said.
She has also applied to schools on the East Coast and a few Ivy League schools.
Raza is also interested in medical anthropology and how it relates to public health but said she is not 100 percent set on a career yet. She has some research experience but is also interested in nonprofit work. Whatever field she ends up going into, Raza said she wants it to be related to health care and medicine.
Jain’s interests are more technology oriented and he’s considering studying computer science. He has applied to UW, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a few Ivy League schools.
He said he would also like to study economics or business as he would like to be an entrepreneur, ideally with his own business in the technology industry.
Raza, who was born in Phoenix but grew up in Redmond, said it is still up in the air whether she wants to go to school out of state or stay local.
“I love Redmond,” she said. “I love our community.”
Raza said she likes the combination of outdoor activities and urban centers in the Pacific Northwest.
Jain, who has lived all over the country, said he wants to go to school somewhere out of state as he would like a change of scenery. This being said, he really enjoys what he calls the “Pacific Northwest persona,” describing it as a free-spirited attitude, combined with hard work, a sense of adventure and exploration.
Both students said if they end up going to school out of state, there is a good chance they will return as their family is here.
Outside of their academic pursuits, both Raza and Jain are involved in a number of extracurricular activities.
Raza is a member of the debate club at school and has been since she was a freshman. She has also participated in Knowledge Bowl, academic quiz bowl-like competitions.
“I’m a huge Jeopardy fan,” she said.
In addition, Raza volunteers at the Bellevue Arts Museum and teaches Sunday school to 8-12 year olds at the Ithna-asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest (IMAN) Center in Kirkland.
Outside of school, Jain spends a lot of time in robotics. He said he and others have rented a house in downtown Redmond and they spend 4-5 hours after school building robots. He also volunteers at Redmond Heights Senior Living on Sundays, teaching residents basic computer skills. Jain also skis a lot and teaches young children how to ski at the Alpine West Ski &Snowboard School.