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Southlake Style

Class of 2016 Salutatorian Receives Prestigious Duke Scholarship

May 09, 2016 08:58PM ● By Kevin
Nikhil Ravi, class of 2016 salutatorian, has announced he has received the Angier B. Duke Scholarship as he prepares to head to Duke University as a part of the class of 2020.

According to Duke's website, "
Like all students offered admission to Duke, A.B. Dukes excel academically, but they distinguish themselves in a variety of other ways. Chief among their unusual attributes is a self-motivated sense of discovery and a commitment to engage and meet the challenges faced by society at large: in the arts as well as sciences, in applied policy as well as theoretical economics, and many other areas."

Ravi is the first Southlake Carroll student to receive this scholarship.

We caught up with Ravi for a quick Q&A concerning his scholarship and plans for the future.

Southlake Style: Tell us about the application process. How did you hear about the scholarship, what went into putting the application together, and how long did it take to hear back that you had received it?

Nikhil Ravi: Duke University automatically considers every one of the approximately 32,000 undergraduate applicants for this renowned merit scholarship, so it is not something that you specifically apply for.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions identifies A.B. Duke Scholar candidates from the overall pool of applicants and forwards their applications to the A.B. Duke Advisory Committee. The A.B. Duke Advisory Committee selects approximately 40 finalists from across the country and around the world. In their own words “Applicants who demonstrate exceptional promise, intellectual hunger, and an inquisitive spark may be considered a candidate for the A.B. Duke Scholarship.”         

I submitted my application to Duke in November, and in early March I received an email informing me that I was one of the finalists. All finalists are required to visit the campus at the end of March to meet current scholars and faculty and to interview with the Advisory Committee. The four-day event was jam packed with interviews, discussions, tours and dinners with the faculty, deans and the president of Duke.

I was thrilled and honored when I received the call from Professor Gillespie on the last day of my visit informing me that I was one of the 20 students selected to receive the scholarship.

SS: Why Duke? What do you like about it? Did you get a chance to visit? What will you be studying your first year?

Ravi: My first visit to Duke was at the end of the seventh grade for a Duke TIP awards event. I remember walking wide-eyed around the incredibly beautiful campus wondering what it would be like to be a part of the Duke family. 

When I left for Duke in late March, I thought that it would be a tough decision, especially since I had already been accepted at three of the top-ranked Computer Science programs and several Ivy League schools. However, the finalist visit completely convinced me that the A.B. Duke Scholarship program was a perfect fit for me. 

I was blown away by several things about the program - the amazing access to faculty and research opportunities, the chance to be part of an incredibly elite group of students that excelled in a wide variety of fields including the arts, sciences, policy, and economics. The current A.B. Duke Scholars also impressed me with their achievements - in fact, two of the current seniors were awarded the Rhodes Scholarship.

I have a wide range of interests including computer science, math, history and music. That is why the diverse offerings at Duke appeal to me.  Duke values and encourages intellectual curiosity.  I see myself exploring artificial intelligence and its applications in healthcare. The opportunities through the Duke Global Health Institute, strong links to the medical school, and programs such as the Duke Start-Up Challenge excite me. 

SS: How does it feel to have received this prestigious and elite scholarship ?

Ravi: I feel privileged to have received this prestigious scholarship, especially since it’s based purely on merit and is awarded to such a small number of applicants. The scholarship includes the full cost of tuition and living, as well as a research stipend. In addition it includes a six-week summer session at Oxford, which I am very excited about as well.  It has definitely given me a sense of confidence to pursue my interests. I am looking forward to reconnecting with the friends that I made during my finalist visit and working on research projects with the amazing faculty that I met at Duke.

SS: What excites you about moving to a different state so far from home? What scares you about it?

Ravi: I am excited about meeting new friends and exploring a new city. I am especially looking forward to attending Blue Devil basketball games with my classmates. My visit to campus for the finalist’s weekend helped extinguish any anxiety that I had about going off to college this fall. I am sure I will miss home and my family but I like the fact that it is just a short two-hour flight to Durham.

SS: What will you miss the most about Southlake?

Ravi: What I love the most about Southlake is the tremendous community spirit. I hope to recreate this at Duke. I will definitely miss my friends the most. I am so fortunate to have met some of the nicest, smartest, and most talented students at Carroll and I hope to never lose touch with them.

SS: Anything else you'd like to add can go here. Thanks!

Ravi: I would like to add that my success is because of the guidance that I received from so many mentors in Carroll and in Southlake and I would like to thank every one of them.  I would specifically like to thank Carroll ISD Superintendent Dr. Faltys for being such an amazing leader and role model.

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Nikhil Ravi who enters his senior year in 2015-16 already having achieved a perfect score on the SAT Photo courtesy of Ravi Venugopal

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