Ashvin Swaminathan, grade 12, was recently named one of two national winners in the 2012 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement. Each year, this award is given to one male and one female student in the U.S. for exhibiting excellence in AP math and science. On the eight exams used to determine winners of the awards, Swaminathan had the highest number of scores of 5 in the entire country for a male student. For his effort, Swaminathan has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Siemens Foundation.
The senior said he was “happy but humbled” to received the award, and credits his steadfast work ethic and well-maintained sleep schedule to his success. “I don’t postpone work, and in fact, I have managed to stay ahead of the lectures in every course that I have taken at Harker,” he said. “I am firm about getting eight hours of sleep no matter how demanding a course is.”
Swaminathan, the son of middle school science teacher Raji Swaminathan, was also very thankful to his teachers, parents and grandparents for their mentoring and support over the years. “I thank my wonderful teachers at Harker for their help and encouragement all the way through,” he said. “None of my accomplishments would have been possible without the unconditional support of my parents and grandparents.”
In December, Pavitra Rengarajan ’12 earned one of two State AP Scholar Awards for her extraordinary performance on the 2012 Advanced Placement exams. She is one of 108 students nationwide to receive this honor. “I didn’t go into the exams with the goal of receiving any special distinction, so I’m not sure that I had any expectations to begin with. In fact, I only realized I had earned this distinction when Ms. [Jennifer] Gargano [assistant head of school for academic affairs] sent me a congratulatory email!” reported Rengarajan, adding that the majority of the exams she took corresponded to her AP classes at Harker.
Rengarajan, now a freshman at Stanford University, said that her college major will likely be computer science. She noted that Harker has “certainly prepared me well for the academic rigor of Stanford. Courses here seem like a natural progression from Harker. I am starting to realize how fortunate I was to have taken advanced topics classes.”
Last year, Ramya Rangan and Albert Wu, both now graduates, became the first pair of national winners from the same school.