Moravian Academy Seniors Named U.S. Presidential Scholars

Written by on June 10, 2020

Moravian Academy Seniors Named U.S. Presidential Scholars

By Stephen Jiwanmall

June 10, 2020

Photo |Courtesy of Moravian Academy/ Twitter provided by Stephen Jiwanmall / WLVR

The nation’s highest honor for graduating high school seniors is being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar. Only three students in Pennsylvania earned that honor this year – and two happen to not only live in the Lehigh Valley, they also go to the same school.

Neil Deshmukh and Rhea Malhotra are leaving Bethlehem’s Moravian Academy with some serious accolades. They’re among just 161 graduating seniors nationwide to earn the title of “U.S. Presidential Scholar.”

Lehigh Valley Congresswoman Susan Wild congratulated both of them Monday with a virtual ceremony.

“Before even going to college, their resumes are more impressive than most career-level professionals,” said Wild.

Deshmukh will study computer science and business at MIT. He won the grand prize at the International BioGENEius Challenge last year. He’s also developed two apps using artificial intelligence.

“I want to keep on working on projects that work to serve under-resourced unserved communities especially, because even though the technology is out there right now – it is created, it’s not being addressed,” said Deshmukh.

Malhotra will study biomechanical engineering and economics at Stanford. She earned the highest GPA in her class at 4.24.

She launched a nonprofit to help connect students with hands-on STEM education, and she’s done research at Lehigh University. 

“In the future, I hope to earn an MD-PhD to potentially launch my own pharmaceutical startup and combine my interest in healthcare, engineering and business to continue to make an impact,” said Malhotra.

Presidential Scholars typically travel to Washington and meet the President. Congresswoman Wild has invited Deshmukh and Malhotra to her office when the pandemic passes.

Watch Stephen’s PBS39 News Tonight Report.


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