Home Part of States Newsroom
Brief
More of Nebraska’s top test scorers choose NU for new Presidential Scholars Program

Share

More of Nebraska’s top test scorers choose NU for new Presidential Scholars Program

Jun 10, 2024 | 8:54 pm ET
By Zach Wendling
Share
More of Nebraska’s top test scorers choose NU for new Presidential Scholars Program
Description
Nebraska Education Commissioner, Gov. Jim Pillen, a representative from the ACT testing company and interim NU President Chris Kabourek, front, from left, honored 23 of 28 graduating seniors for their top performance on the ACT in their high school careers. June 10, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — Four months after a new, full-ride scholarship and stipend was launched to attract top-performing Nebraska scholars, more of them are choosing the University of Nebraska.

More of Nebraska’s top test scorers choose NU for new Presidential Scholars Program
Interim NU President Chris Kabourek. June 10, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Interim NU President Chris Kabourek, Gov. Jim Pillen and the NU Board of Regents launched the Presidential Scholars Program in February, offering a full-cost-of-attendance scholarship plus an annual $5,000 stipend for students to attend an NU campus if they obtained a perfect ACT score, or the equivalent on the SAT (1570 or above).

On Monday, Kabourek, Pillen, Nebraska Education Commissioner Brian Maher and a representative from the ACT celebrated 28 top ACT performers in the Nebraska State Capitol.

“I pray that all of your dreams come true … and they bring you back here to Nebraska,” Pillen told the students.

Melissa Lee, an NU spokesperson, said fewer than nine students with a perfect ACT or similar SAT score chose NU last year. The number “roughly doubled” for an inaugural 16-student cohort in the fall. Of those, 14 plan to go to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and two to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

More of Nebraska’s top test scorers choose NU for new Presidential Scholars Program
Gov. Jim Pillen addresses Nebraska graduating seniors for their top performance on the ACT. June 10, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

One student, Joshua Corrado from Twentynine Palms High School in California, qualified for Nebraska residency because his parents are Nebraskans on military assignment. Shrey Agarwal, of Lincoln East High School, will also be part of the inaugural cohort for his SAT score.

“When we started this, we said, ‘Hey, if we can just change the life of one Nebraska kid, it’s all been worth it,’” Kabourek told the Nebraska Examiner.

Kabourek told the students that the door will be open to them to be a President’s Scholar with the same benefits in the future should their first pick out of high school not be the right fit.

“Just like in athletics and the transfer portal, give us a call,” Kabourek continued.

Kabourek has joined regents and Pillen, a former regent himself, in meeting top students around the state in the same way coaches visit “five-star athletes,” the interim president has said. The goal is to meet more students in the future and grow the future cohort, such as Nebraska students who score a 33 or above on the ACT.

“Each has a dream, they’re such incredibly bright kids, and I know they’ll achieve them,” Kabourek said. “Whether they’re going to be the next great farmer or rancher or come up with a cure for cancer, that’s what it’s all about. We’re just really, really thankful and proud.”

Other students honored Monday chose Johns Hopkins, Texas A&M, Purdue, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California-Berkeley.

This year’s graduating students with a top test score on the ACT are:

  • Ruby Barger (Elkhorn South High School).
  • Mark Bausch (Creighton Prep School).
  • Charles Bork (Elkhorn North High School).
  • Joseph Conner (Daniel J Gross Catholic High School).
  • Josef Crenshaw (Creighton Prep School).
  • Logan Doorlag (Papillion-La Vista South High School).
  • Rachel Fernandes (Duchesne Academy).
  • Jack Goltl (Creighton Prep School).
  • Ruby Gutzmann (Blair High School).
  • Caleb Kelly (Pender Public School).
  • Logan Kieckhafer (Elkhorn High School).
  • Lillias McKillip (Lincoln Southeast High School).
  • Thomas McMullen (Millard West High School).
  • Lucas Menard (Creighton Prep School).
  • Advika Namasyvayam (Millard North High School).
  • Kashif Nazmul (Elkhorn High School).
  • Elias Parsonage (Westside High School).
  • Lucy Rawlinson (Central High School).
  • Katherin Richards (McCook Senior High School).
  • Jeremy Robson (Millard West High School).
  • Andrew Rogers (Creighton Prep School).
  • Ethan Roth (Bennington High School).
  • Gunnar Santelman (Elkhorn South High School).
  • Nayan Vel (Millard North High School).
  • Caeden Vetro (Millard North High School).
  • Rachel Wu (Elkhorn South High School).
  • Rohan Yalamanchili (Millard North High School).
  • Rocco Zimmerman (Mount Michael High School).