Coolidge Scholars

Class of 2019

Nico Brayton is a junior at Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, Vermont. An AP Scholar with honor, Nico led his school’s Scholars Bowl team to the state semifinals in 2018 and 2019, placing second in the state as an individual. Nico holds a special passion for mathematics and has competed in several national math competitions, including the 2019 Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge, in which he worked with a team for fourteen consecutive hours to model the spread and impact of substance abuse. Nico is currently working on a project to redesign the road network near his school, employing his mathematical abilities to reduce traffic congestion.

An accomplished pianist of eleven years, Nico was the Vermont representative for the Music Teachers National Association competition for solo piano in 2018. He has been invited to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with both his school’s concert band and the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra. Nico also performs frequently at benefit recitals for the homeless and concerts for the elderly, and volunteers at community suppers and local nursing homes. At school, Nico is president of the Student Council, was recently accepted into the National Honors Society, and captained the boys’ varsity cross country team. He also enjoys creative writing and was nominated for the New England Young Writers’ Conference in 2018. Nico is the son of Dan Brayton and Antonia Losano.

Julianna Lee is a junior attending Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in Demarest, New Jersey. Like President Coolidge, Julianna is passionate about public policy, history, writing, and service to others. She serves on her school’s Senate, working closely with the administration to make changes to the school’s policies and improve infrastructure. She is also a member of her school’s Mock Trial team, Academic Team, newspaper staff, National Honor Society, and track team. She has won regional distinctions in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and other writing competitions. One of her written pieces was published in Dovetales, An International Journal of the Arts. She has also won first place in the Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest in Spanish and qualified for the National US History Bee.

Julianna performs advocacy work for the visually impaired. After being denied entrance with her guide dog at numerous facilities, Julianna co-founded VITA (Visually Impaired Total Access) to spread awareness about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the rights of the disabled. In addition to her advocacy work, she serves as a tutor and a mentor to a younger visually impaired student in her school district and founded a networking group for visually impaired teens in North Jersey, which has now grown nationwide. Julianna is the daughter of Jong Cheol Lee and You Ki Sohn.

Katherine McPhie is a junior at University High School in Irvine, California. In 2018, Katherine worked as a research intern at UC Irvine, performing mathematical modeling of unstructured proteins. In 2017, she was named “Miss Mathematician,” the top accolade at CSU Fullerton’s Math Intensive Summer Session. In 2016, her team took second place in a semester-long mobile app development competition. Katherine is also a National Latin Exam winner, a Holocaust Art and Writing Contest winner, and a Veterans of Foreign Wars essay competition winner.

A classically-trained musician, Katherine is a competitive pianist with a particular love for Bach. She plays trumpet and is the drum major of her school’s marching band. She sings with the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, and will perform at Carnegie Hall this summer.

Katherine is an energetic community volunteer whose service has been recognized by Disney, Prudential, and the Points of Light Foundation. She co-founded Open Sesame Coding for Kids to teach coding to children in homeless and domestic violence shelters. Katherine was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Orange County and is a national winner of the NCWIT Computing Award and the General Motors STEM for Changemaking Challenge. She serves as president in her youth group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Katherine is the daughter of Erin and David McPhie.

Mitchell Robson is a junior at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts. An AP Scholar, Mitchell is co-captain of his school’s Academic Bowl team and co-president of his school’s Mock Trial team. He competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2014, 2015, and 2016, qualifying in 2016 for the ESPN primetime final ten, eventually tying for seventh place. Mitchell works as a personal spelling coach for Hexco, while freelancing as a math tutor, and working at his temple.

In 2017, Mitchell received the Brother Linus Scholarship, a full one-year merit scholarship awarded to a student, who, in his teachers’ eyes, is an outstanding individual who is a model of academic achievement and involvement in school activities.

A Boy Scout since first grade, Mitchell aspires to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. He also enjoys performing in his school’s improv comedy troupe and playing basketball. Like President Coolidge, Mitchell is deeply invested in service to others, volunteering at a Boston crisis center hotline. In 2018, he was named a Holocaust Legacy Fellow, traveling to Germany and Poland to be educated in preserving memories of the Holocaust. Mitchell is the son of Lena and Dwight Robson.

Class of 2018

Phillip Meng is a senior at Union High School in Camas, Washington. Like President Coolidge, Phillip has a deep interest in public policy, history, and the classics. A National AP Scholar with an AP Capstone Diploma, Phillip leads his school’s newspaper, student broadcast, student tutors system, and Knowledge Bowl team. He has won the Southern Washington U.S. Geography Olympiad and won regional distinctions in the Fleet Reserve Association Americanism Essay Contest, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and other competitions. In 2018, he was named Washington’s high school honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. An accomplished pianist of nine years, Phillip has received a Level 10 First Class Honors certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Phillip cares deeply about service to others. At Union, he spearheaded school-wide initiatives to advance student achievement and raise the graduation rate. In Portland, he helped develop the Demo Prep Basketball Foundation, an organization that empowers young people through sport. And as the President of the IAYG family, Chairman of the Global Initiative for Youth Service, and the Chairman of the GGCDP, he leads one of the most influential humanitarian consortiums dedicated to advancing global opportunity for children and youth.  On every continent, IAYG’s efforts expand geographic and global education, defend the rights of all children to participate, mobilize young leaders, invest in youth-driven innovation, and expand youth service. Phillip is the son of Lu Meng and Wei Zhao.

Matt Muellner is a senior attending Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska. An AP Scholar with Distinction, he has won several state math awards and qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. He has competed at the national-level Academic Decathlon, earning a gold medal in math and has competed in state and national Quiz Bowls. In addition to receiving an Exchange Club Outstanding Sophomore of the Year award, Matt placed second statewide in the National Spanish Exam at his level. Matt has a passion for science and was captain of his school’s state runner-up science bowl team. In 2017, Matt received the Travis B. Lewis Scholarship to conduct HIV research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This research centers on the development of an infectious SHIV clone for use in HIV modeling.

A dedicated volunteer, Matt is on the Core Team for Operation Others, an organization that collects and delivers food to over 1,200 families at Christmas. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of his school’s Campus Ministry Advisory Board. He has received the Lion’s Club gold service award for his work at Welcov Assisted Living, the Siena-Francis House shelter, and for refugee family assistance. Matt is the son of Mike and Barb Muellner.

Katherine Sylvester is a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Like President Coolidge, Katherine has a passion for writing and debating. She has won several awards for Public Forum debate, including placing top speaker at the Columbia University Invitational and qualifying for the Tournament of Champions. She serves as an editorial board member and opinion editor on her school’s award-winning student newspaper, The Black & White, and received the “Best of School Newspapers Online” award from the School Newspapers Online Network for one of her opinion pieces. In the summer of 2017, she was one of two high school interns in the international broadcasting agency Voice of America’s newsroom. She is also an AP Scholar and a member of her school’s Minority Scholars Program.

One of Katherine’s favorite activities is working as the assistant debate coach at Pyle Middle School, where she helps young debaters hone their argumentation skills. She also works to provide fresh food to the homeless through her club Spoonful of Hope, which bakes and cooks for the local homeless shelter Bethesda Cares. In her spare time, Katherine enjoys playing soccer and classical piano. Katherine is the daughter of Brett Sylvester and Xin Chen.

Alison Xin is a senior at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Since freshman year, Alison has worked in a biomedical engineering lab at Case Western Reserve University, developing an open-source computational model for polymer-drug interactions. On the school’s FIRST Robotics team, Alison has contributed in design and led team branding. She has debated in two-person policy debate, qualifying to the state level, as well as in International Public Policy Forum written debate, making it all the way to the “Sweet 16” round.

In addition to academic pursuits, Alison enjoys a variety of creative arts. An avid piano player, she has performed at Carnegie Hall thrice. She founded her school’s digital art club and is at work on a digital graphic novel that will be published online. Additionally, she practices Kung Fu, performing at local cultural exhibitions and competing at national tournaments. Alison serves her school community in a variety of ways. She is a member of Honor Council, a library volunteer, and a student-leader at the IT Hub which provides technological assistance to students, teachers, and staff. Alison frequently plays piano at nursing homes and volunteers at University Hospitals. Alison is the daughter of Lan Zhou and Wei Xin.

Class of 2017

Joshua Kim is a freshman at the University of Chicago. He is a graduate of the Cambridge School, a Classical Christian school in San Diego, California. Joshua’s varied academic interests include public policy, philosophy, and economics. He is an accomplished student who, like President Coolidge, has studied Latin extensively and was awarded the rank of Maxima Cum Laude on the highest level of the National Latin Exam. He is a founding member of his high school’s debate team and served as an assistant debate coach for the team. Joshua has won numerous speaker awards on the national level and in 2018 was ranked among the top 25 debaters in the country in Public Forum debate.

In addition, Joshua is an accomplished athlete. He was co-captain and starting shooting guard for his high school varsity basketball team, was a nationally-ranked Velocity performance training athlete, and has a first degree black belt in Taekwondo. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Joshua worked for ASICS America in their Pro Basketball Training and Development Division. He has also worked for the biotechnology firm, Ignyta, where he managed projects to find Companion Diagnostic Partnerships and created research reports for international audiences. Joshua has an impressive record of service. He volunteers at God’s Extended Hand homeless shelter where, in addition to serving meals and distributing clothing, he implemented a Zero-Cost Sustainability Program to make the shelter fully self-sustaining and raised over $14,000 to spearhead facilities renovations. Joshua is the son of Scott and Jean Kim.

Elissa Morgan is a freshman at Grove City College majoring in Mechanical Engineering. At Grove City she is Trustee Fellow, the college’s top honors program, which only admits eight students each year. A native of Loganville, Georgia, Elissa homeschooled throughout high school and held leadership roles in the Soli Deo Gloria Engineering Club, Physics Club, and Math team. She is especially proud of the Engineering Club’s first place finish in the state of Georgia in the “Design and Build” category of the 2017 National Technology Student Association TEAMS Engineering Competition. Her club also qualified for nationals in the 2018 TEAMS competition. Additionally, she is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a 2018 National Merit Scholar.

Like President Coolidge, Elissa has a deep interest in the classics. She has written a three-act play and is at work on a trilogy of original science fiction novels. She participates in the Guardian Guild Literary Society and Guardian Guild Elocution Recitals, and tutors beginner and intermediate students in Latin. Elissa has spent many years playing piano and frequently gives piano concerts at local nursing homes. She is a longtime youth leader and member of the Care Team at Monroe Presbyterian Church, where she also sings in the choir. Since the summer of 2017, Elissa has worked for Relevant Business Promotions, where she is involved in graphic design and customer relations. Elissa is the daughter of Jeff and Amy Morgan.

Neha Seshadri is a freshman at Harvard College. She has an interest in the English language and debate. In 2018, Neha graduated summa cum laude from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At Skyline she worked as editor of the school newspaper, served as President of the Student Advisory Council, and led the Quiz Bowl and Forensics teams as captain. She is a two-time DECA State Champion and has qualified for the Quiz Bowl and History Bowl competitions at the national level. In 2017, Neha won the Fourth Grand Award at the International Science and Engineering Fair in the Biomedical and Health Sciences category. At Skyline she was also a varsity athlete and member of the Women’s Swimming and Diving State Championship Team. In 2013, she won a gold and silver medal in the Junior Olympics.

Neha was selected as 2018 United States Presidential Scholars representing the state of Michigan by the Department of Education. Neha started a non-profit, Helping Hands Going Global, to help underprivileged children around the world. She also coaches students with physical and mental disabilities for the Special Olympics. Neha was honored with the Michigan Governor’s Service Award for Youth Volunteer of the Year and named one of the Ann Arbor Community Foundation’s Young Citizens of the Year for her extensive public service record. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a two-time National AP Scholar, and a National Merit Scholar. She is the daughter of Shiv and Sabina Seshadri.

Class of 2016

Regan Brady

Regan Brady is a sophomore at Harvard College majoring in economics and minoring in Mind, Brain, Behavior. Regan is very interested in the intersection between the public, private, and social sectors. At Harvard, she is involved in the Institute of Politics Economic Policy Group at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is an associate at ImmerLearn, a social-enterprise startup. She is a Harvard Business School Fellow and conducts impact investing research with the Harvard College Impact Investing Group. In 2017, she graduated from Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio where she was a varsity athlete in cross country, lacrosse, and indoor track. In addition to sports, she competed on the debate team, worked as editor of the school newspaper, and was a co-president of both Hathaway Brown’s Mu Alpha Theta Chapter and GROW Foundation. A highly-accomplished student and AP Scholar, Regan enjoyed conducting neuroscience research at Case Western Reserve University throughout her high school years. This past summer Regan participated in the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program.

Regan is a national advocate for the hearing impaired, carrying on the legacy of Grace Coolidge who was a teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts. At age 11, Regan published Listening to the Waves, a book about her own experience overcoming hearing loss and growing up with cochlear implants. She volunteers with children who have experienced hearing loss and mentors families of newly diagnosed hearing-impaired children through the Auditory-Outcomes Project. Regan speaks often to audiology students on college campuses and at state and national conventions on early auditory intervention. In addition to her work advocating for the hearing impaired, Regan has raised significant funds to support wounded veterans through the Marine Corps Marathon’s 10K Race, collects food for the Cleveland Food Bank, and assists physically disabled children through Youth Challenge Sports. She is the daughter of Corey and Sharon Brady.

Joshua Moriarty is a sophomore at Harvard College majoring in religion and history and minoring in math. An accomplished student, Joshua was named a John Harvard Scholar for ranking in the top 5% of his class during his freshman year. Like President Coolidge, Joshua is a talented debater, ranking as high as second in the nation in Public Forum debate during high school and placing first in the novice divisions of the Brandeis and Brown tournaments during his freshman year of college. In addition to competing, this past year Joshua was the Harvard College Debating Union’s Assistant Chair of Operations and coached a team of high school debaters to a 13th-place national ranking. Outside of debate, Joshua works as a math tutor and studies Jewish texts each week through Meor at Harvard. This past summer he worked as an editorial intern for Professor Walter Russell Mead’s “Global View” column which appears in the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua graduated from New York City’s Hunter College High School in 2017. An AP Scholar with Distinction, Joshua received the “Life of the Mind Award” for his contributions to the intellectual life of the school, along with the top awards from the English and Social Studies departments. At Hunter, he served as co-president of the Speech and Debate team, co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, student senator, writing center mentor, and on the Class of 2017 Term Council. Outside of school, he volunteered with DOROT, visiting and making phone calls with elderly members of his community on a weekly basis. During the summers, he taught at the Harlem Debate Institute and the Lumos Debate Institute and researched cyber security and counter-terrorism as an intern at NYU Law School’s Center on Law and Security. Joshua is the son of Patrick Moriarty and Elizabeth Philipp.

Sam Reddick is a sophomore at Rice University. He plans on majoring in kinesiology and minoring in biochemistry and cell biology.  He is a member of the Rice Pre-Medical Society and hopes to one day pursue a career in medicine. Through the Rice Emergency Medical Service (EMS) program, Sam trained with local EMS agencies and trauma centers to achieve a national Emergency Medical Technician certification and a state license. When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Sam joined the recovery efforts, clearing away debris and demolishing flooded homes. In addition to volunteering regularly with Rice EMS, Sam works with the American Red Cross in Houston as well as Rice’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. While excelling academically, he also works as a teaching assistant for two biology courses. This past summer Sam conducted research as an intern in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In 2017, Sam graduated as valedictorian from Evangelical Christian School (ECS) in Memphis, Tennessee. At ECS, Sam served as captain of the highly ranked soccer team and was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Knowledge Bowl team. He also served as a founding member of the Shelby County Mayor’s Youth Council. Sam worked part-time as a soccer referee and enjoyed volunteering with TOPSoccer, a program dedicated to helping young children with disabilities learn to enjoy the sport of soccer. Like President Coolidge, Sam is an enthusiastic student of the classics, having earned top marks on the American Classical League’s National Latin exams. He was named a National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Sam is the son of Gene and Jennifer Reddick.