Tech’s freshman class has seven National Merit Scholars

Oct 10, 2013 | General News

In its freshman class, Louisiana Tech has seven National Merit Scholars, the largest number since 2004.
“Most years, we have four or five,” said Alicia Ball, scholarship coordinator for admissions. “Seven was a big deal. It is a national recognition. These are the best and brightest from anywhere.”
The seven National Merit Scholars are Matthew Brandl of West Monroe, Beverly Case of Yukon, Okla.; Randi Domingue of Monroe; John Herren of Ruston; John “Jack” Mertens of Natchitoches; Lexi Miller of Brandon, Miss.; and Dustin Morvant of West Monroe.
Mertens, a freshman cyber engineering major, is not only a National Merit Scholar, but he is continuing his family’s legacy by attending Tech.
“I chose to come to Tech because of Tech’s prestigious engineering program, its generous scholarship offer, and its relative proximity to my hometown of Natchitoches,” Mertens said. “What’s more, both of my parents and two of my grandparents graduated from Tech, so in a way I guess I’m just carrying on the tradition.”
Mertens said he has already enjoyed settling into the college life.
“I would say that Tech is a fantastic school in almost all respects,” he said. “The professors are all very interested in students and giving them a thorough grasp of the material, there are lots of campus organizations to join, there are several very solid campus ministries in the area, and the atmosphere here is very vibrant and positive.”
As for being recognized as a National Merit Scholar, Mertens said that means he has a lot of people who are expecting him to succeed educationally.
“Being a National Merit Scholar means that I have a responsibility to do well in my classes – not just because I would lose my scholarship if my grades dropped – but also because I want to prove that the people who chose me for this scholarship made the right decision,” he said.
Brandl said he was honored to be a National Merit Scholar and chose to come to Tech because it had everything he wanted.
“To me, being a National Merit Scholar shows good work ethic and dedication to academics,” Brandl said. “Being part of this program is definitely a major honor to me.”
He said he enjoys the pace of the quarter system.
“I chose to come to Tech because it had everything on my college checklist: class sizes that are not too big or small, reasonable distance from home, great programs in my interests and a friendly campus overall that seems just right.”
Ball said all seven freshmen National Merit Scholars were exceptional students.
“They’re smart and have been easy to work with,” she said. “The national merit students we get are usually involved, great representatives when they leave and are good at their coursework. They keep their GPA up and get involved, and I think that says a lot about them.”