A computer science enthusiast and runner, Summit Country Day School senior Alex Sougstad, New Richmond, has been named a National Merit Scholarship Corporation semifinalist.
Alex is among 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program who are now in the running for about 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million.
Alex had demonstrated an aptitude for technology by the age of 5, becoming adept at computer-based educational games and researching subjects of interest. At age 9, he created an online tutorial for performing a complicated function on a popular design software program, receiving more than 40,000 views. By age 10, he had taught himself the basics of Photoshop, 3D design, animation and video production, along with basic level video game development. In seventh grade, when he was living in Indianapolis, he was one of 200 students to qualify for a city-wide math contest, and in ninth grade he captained a robotics team which won third place in a state competition.
Joining The Summit his junior year, he has thrived academically in the school’s rigorous academic environment.
“Alex is one of those students where the more difficult the assignment, the more engaged he gets,” says Summit Upper School computer science teacher Mike Thomas. “And when he does solve it, he wants to be sure he has found the most elegant solution possible. On the odd day when he does struggle with a solution, it is actually fun to watch because he takes it personally and attacks the assignment like a tiger on raw meat.”
Alex also runs cross country and track. Last spring, he qualified for the regional final in four events in track and made it to state finals in the 4x100 meter relay. He has also volunteered for the Carnegie Center in Columbia-Tusculum and mentored younger students in computer science.
He hopes to pursue his interests in computer science, virtual reality and gaming in college.
National Merit semifinalists are selected based on performance in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test taken during their junior year. Finalists will be announced in the spring. In the past five years, 64 Summit students have been recognized by National Merit.
The Summit is a co-educational, Catholic independent school serving children from 18-months through grade 12. Call 513-871-4700 ext. 261 to request more information or schedule a personal tour.