Ann Arbor high-schooler wins scholarship covering all costs to any U.S. college

Neha Seshadri, of Skyline High School, won the 2017 Coolidge Foundation award


An Ann Arbor high-schooler won one of the most prestigious -- and lucrative -- college scholarships in the nation. 

Neha Seshadri, a junior at Skyline High School, is one of three winners of the 2017 Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation scholarship. The award is among the most generous scholarships in America. The full-ride, non-partisan, merit award covers a student’s tuition, fees, room and board for four years of undergraduate study at any accredited college or university in the United States.

Here's Seshadri's impressive resume: 

Neha Seshadri is a junior at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like President Coolidge, she has a strong interest in the English language and debate. An AP Scholar with Distinction, the past three summers Neha has conducted research at her local hospital on sickle cell anemia and calponin – a calcium binding protein. She is an Intel SEFMD Science Fair Grand Award winner and has qualified for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. At her high school Neha is the captain of the Forensics and Quiz Bowl Team, co-editor of the high school newspaper, and founder and president of the “Leadership and Technology for Girls” club in Detroit. She is a two-time DECA State Champion, and qualified for the 2015 National Quiz Bowl and the 2016 National History Bowl. In 2014, Neha finished 11th in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Neha started a non-profit, Helping Hands Going Global. She coaches mentally and physically challenged students for the Special Olympics. Neha has been a varsity swimmer and member of the Women’s State Championship team since 2014. In 2013, she won a gold and silver medal in the Junior Olympics in the freestyle and backstroke competitions. Neha is the daughter of Shiv Seshadri and Sabina Attavar.

The Coolidge Scholarship was established by the Coolidge Foundation to honor America’s 30th president and to elevate the values for which President Coolidge stood. Amity Shlaes, Coolidge biographer and Coolidge Foundation chairman said, “The values of Calvin Coolidge — humility, restrained government, civility and federalism — couldn’t be more timely today. We are glad the Coolidge Scholarship can raise the profile of this underrated president.”

The main criterion that distinguishes Coolidge Scholars is academic merit. Students must also demonstrate a keen interest in public policy, an appreciation for the values Coolidge championed, humility, and a record of service.

Nearly 2,500 students, hailing from all 50 states, applied for the Coolidge Scholarship this year. Each applicant was required to read and write an essay about the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. Matthew Denhart, Coolidge Foundation executive director, remarked, “Coolidge Scholar applicants represent the most promising and accomplished high school students in America today. The Coolidge Foundation is proud to support these remarkable young people as they embark on the next stage in their academic careers.”

Coolidge Scholars are selected through a multi-stage process. Students must apply for the Coolidge Scholarship during their junior year of high school. All applicants are reviewed by the Coolidge Foundation. Semifinalist juries meet across the country to consider top applicants and select finalists. Ten finalists are flown in for a finalist weekend at the Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. During the finalist weekend, candidates are interviewed by the Coolidge Scholars Finalist Jury, chaired by Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Speaking on behalf of the finalist jury, Dr. Cole said: “The Coolidge Scholarship is demonstrating proof of concept. Merit and the pursuit of excellence are the hallmarks of this Scholarship. This year’s second annual class is an inspiring example of dedication, purpose and achievement."

Along with Seshadri, other winners of the 2017 award include Joshua Kim of San Diego and Elissa Morgan of Loganville, Ga. Kim attends The Cambridge School in San Diego and Morgan home schools.

Although only a small number of students win the Coolidge Scholarship each year, the Coolidge Foundation honors up to 50 of the top applicants with the designation of “Coolidge Senator.” The Coolidge Senators are flown to Washington, D.C., for an all-expenses-paid weekend where they tour the three branches of government, study civics, and learn about President Coolidge’s time in Washington as vice president and president. Most importantly, the Coolidge Senators have the opportunity to meet each other and develop friendships that will last throughout their academic and professional careers.

For more information about the Coolidge Scholars Program, including profiles of this year’s winners, please visit Coolidgescholars.org.