Four Baton Rouge high school seniors were among nine in Louisiana named in the first group of winners in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Of the other five winners, three are from New Orleans, one is from Mandeville and one is from Lake Charles.

The four Baton Rouge seniors earning these scholarships are Andrew B. Harris and Jason T. Marxsen, both students at Catholic High School, as well as William A Bodron and Michael Chima O. Mbagwu, both students at Episcopal High School:

  • Bodron’s scholarship is from Westlake Chemical Corp., a manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, plastics and building products. Bordon is planning a career in engineering.
  • Harris’s scholarship is being provided by Eastman, a global chemical company. Harris is planning a career in computer science.
  • Marxsen’s scholaship is being funded by Jacobs, a provider of technical, professional and construction services. Marxsen is planning a career in computer science.
  • Mbagwu’s scholarship is being funded by BASF Corp., a large international chemical company. Mbagwu is planning a career in neuroscience.

The three New Orleans winners are Julia A. Simon, Logan L. Stouse and Jackson C. Vicknair. They are seniors at Lusher Charter, Metairie Park Country Day and Brother Martin high schools, respectively:

  • Simon’s scholarship is being provided by Textron, a company that focuses on aerospace technology, commercial products and financial services. Simon is planning a career in environmental science.
  • Stouse’s scholarship is being provided by Citizen Watch, a watch maker. Stouse is planning a career in fine arts.
  • Vicknair’s scholarship is from BASF Corp., an international chemical company. Vicknair is planning a career in politics.

The other winners include Adam C. Moeller of Mandeville High School and Trevor N. Weidner of Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles.

Moeller, who is planning a career in engineering, is receiving his scholarship from Aerojet Rocketdyne, a technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems.

Weidner, who is planning a career in astronautics, is receiving his scholarship from Fluor Corp., which works in engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and project management.

More than 1,000 high school seniors this year have won National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for finalists: who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or those who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

More scholarship winners are scheduled to be announced May 9, June 6 and July 16. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,500 students will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.


Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.