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Assaf, Limaye named Presidential Scholars semifinalists

MADISON – The 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has announced two Madison seniors are semifinalists.

Nathan Assaf at James Clemens High School and Aditi Limaye at Bob Jones High School have received this distinction, one of the highest honors that a graduating high school senior can reach.

Program officials base their selections on the student’s superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities and strong character, along with involvement in the community and school activities. The semifinalists were selected from approximately 5,300 candidates expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in 2019.

Assaf enjoys the study of physics most at James Clemens. “Physics relates to my love for math and problem solving with examples from the real world,” Assaf said.

At James Clemens, he helped lead his StellarXplorers team to a national championship this year in the National High School Space Challenge. Teenagers in StellarXplorers tackle challenging competition in space system design, which affects operation of a spacecraft and payload.

“I also play in the marching band, wind ensemble and jazz bands, where I lead the trombone section,” Assaf said. “One of the highlights this year occurred at Chicago’s Field Museum, where the jazz band was invited to perform, and I had a couple solos.”

His parents are David and Sydney Assaf. David works as a software engineer at Bentley Systems, and Sydney works as a homemaker.

“We left the suburbs of Philadelphia in 2007 when Dad transferred to Bentley’s Huntsville office so we could be closer to family in Tennessee and Louisiana,” Nathan Assaf said. He plans to major in computer science at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.

Also interested in mathematics, Limaye sees the subject matter as “elegant, exciting and constantly expanding but on the same basic foundations.”  

At Bob Jones, Limaye serves as student body president and actively participates with Math Team as co-president and Science National Honor Society as president. “I started the MCS Beast Academy initiative for Madison city elementary students, along with my sister Maanasi Limaye and our math team coach Kimberly Cox,” Aditi said.

Aditi is a Research Science Institute or RSI Scholar. The Center for Excellence in Education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT coordinates this program.

Her parents are Ashutosh and Manisha Limaye. “My father works for NASA, and my mother is at Adtran,” Aditi said. Aditi was born in Madison after the Limayes moved here in the late 1990s.

Students that advance to the level of Presidential Scholar will be announced in May.

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