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All in the family: Yet another National Merit Scholar

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Posted on: August 11, 2016

BY PRECIOUS DORCH-ROBINSON — A Hyattsville family is two for two after their second child was named as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship.

Rachel Teti, a graduate from Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, was one of approximately 16,000 high school students to be selected as a semifinalist for the award, according to the National Merit Scholarship press release. Teti was selected as a semifinalist because she received one of the highest PSAT scores in the state of Maryland.  

As part of the next step in the process towards becoming a finalist, her high school endorsed and recommended her. Additionally, she submitted an essay on a person whom she admires, which happens to be her older brother, John-Paul. John-Paul Teti was a semifinalist in 2015.

When her brother became a semifinalist, Teti said sibling rivalry was kind of a motivator. She is close with her brother and admires his love of learning and his pursuit of knowledge. Her brother helped her understand material in her calculus class and complete her college applications.

“I also admire that he really thinks things through. He forms his own opinions on things and doesn’t just automatically agree with the people around him,” she said.

During high school Teti had a relatively busy schedule with Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes, which included subjects like statistics, government and literature. In addition to a heavy course load, she was also the captain of her quiz bowl team during her senior year.

Teti noted that her most challenging class was calculus because it requires a lot of thought and logic; memorizing a process isn’t enough.

You really have to think things through and understand why and the stuff behind it, the logic behind it. And that was kind of interesting for me, so I’m really looking forward to doing that more.”

Teti plans on  majoring in mathematics at the University of Dallas, the school where she will attend in the fall. She developed an interest in mathematics during the seventh and eighth grade, but indicated that it was not until high school that she thought seriously about pursuing it as a career.

According to the White House Council on Women and Girls who teamed up with Office of Science and Technology Policy, women and minorities make up 70 percent of college students, but less than 45 percent of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. However, Teti doesn’t let those numbers interfere with her passion.

“I can only say from my own experience and I’ve never felt like anything is holding me back, pretty open and able to do anything that I wanted to do. … I think that [math is] definitely something if you’re a girl, you can go out and do that if you want,” she said.

Teti has other interests, as well. During the summer, she is practicing the skills learned from her AP art class and experimenting with watercolors and charcoal.

At first, Teti thought art was challenging, but she stuck with it. Other hobbies include creative writing and softball (She hopes to play intramurals if the University of Dallas has a team.).

In addition to being a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, Teti is also a recipient of the University of Dallas National Merit Finalist Scholarship, which will cover her tuition. Winning this scholarship showed her that hard work pays off.

She is proud of everything she has accomplished so far. “I’m really happy that I could help out with paying off my college funds,” said Teti.

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