Roslyn High School senior Alain Sherman has been named as a 2013 Presidential Scholar, which honors students who have “demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.”
Sherman, 18, is one of 141 American high school seniors to be recognized with the award this year by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, whose members are appointed by President Obama.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be selected among 141 scholars from three million people my age graduating, and the opportunity to go to Washington and meet with the President is just awesome,” Sherman said.
Sherman is the first Roslyn student to win the Presidential Scholar award since Lily Liu won in 1990.
More than 3,800 candidates qualified for the award this year based on their SAT and ACT exam scores, as one boy and one girl are selected from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and others are chosen from U.S. families living abroad and as “at-large” winners. Twenty students are selected as Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
Sherman said he scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT, which tests students in math, critical reading and writing ability.
He was also named a semifinalist at the Intel Science Talent Search, a prestigious science competition, for his research in behavioral medicine determining which factors people use to select their primary care physicians.
“What’s essential to be really successful on a project like that goes beyond what it takes to be successful in a class,” said Allyson Wesley, Roslyn High School’s secondary research coordinator. “It requires a level of reading and interpreting and learning that you see out of professionals in the field, and Alain has been able to read and understand that language and excels at this very high level of work.”
Since 1983, each Presidential Scholar has also been given the opportunity to name his/her “most influential teacher,” who receives a personal letter from the Secretary of Education. Sherman selected Wesley, whom he said served as his mentor throughout his Intel project and known since he took her introductory research class as a freshman.
“I was actually nominated by Alain and another student who was considered for the award, and you think, ‘what are the odds that they’re going to win?’” Wesley said. “It’s lovely when kids nominate you for things, but it just seemed numerically that the odds just weren’t that good, but as Alain kept progressing through the levels I thought, maybe he will win this.”
Under Welsey’s tutelage, Sherman also entered the Long Island Psychology Fair in his junior year, a competition held at Roslyn High School typically contested by seniors, as part of a two-year group project about the impact of facial hair on people’s perceptions of political candidates.
“I attribute a lot of what I do to Dr. Wesley because of the tremendous help she’s been to me throughout high school,” Sherman said. “She’s guided me through a lot of complex and interesting endeavours and I thought it would be appropriate to honor her.”
This fall, Sherman said he will attend Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education, in which he will earn his Bachelor’s Degree in three years and begin work at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in hopes of becoming a physician. According to Northwestern admissions officials, the program selected 31 students this year from 600 applicants.
From June 15-18, Sherman will be commended for his accomplishments in Washington D.C., and he said the event would not conflict with the school prom or graduation ceremonies.
Expected in attendance at the ceremony: President Obama himself.
“If all goes well and his schedule works out, I will have the opportunity to meet him. I’ve researched it and in past years, he’s been there,” Sherman said. “When the last President Bush was in office, he was there. But if [Obama’s] schedule conflicts, I’ve been told I’ll either meet with Vice President [Joe] Biden or [First Lady] Michelle Obama.”