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University Welcomes Newest Class of McDermott Scholars This Fall

The 2018 McDermott Scholars

The Eugene McDermott Scholars Program at The University of Texas at Dallas has selected 16 students to make up its 2018 incoming class.

The program provides these select students with UT Dallas’ rigorous and personalized education, along with a four-year program of intensive extracurricular activities. McDermott Scholars have access to leadership training, cultural enrichment and opportunities designed to equip them with the skills, experience and confidence to succeed as leaders in society’s many dimensions.

The year’s entering cohort, the program’s 18th class, includes seven students from Texas, and nine from eight other states, including California and New York.

“The recent passing of our benefactor, Margaret McDermott, brings her legacy into new focus,” said Reena Schellenberg, who became program director after Molly Seeligson retired in 2017. “We feel fortunate to be the stewards of Mrs. McDermott’s vision, and we’re eager to help these outstanding individuals fulfill it during their time at the institution she loved and throughout their future careers.”

Collectively, this class has an average two-part SAT score of 1560. Twelve of them have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Three were high school valedictorians and one was a salutatorian.

The incoming group will join the 74 scholars already at UT Dallas. The program has 247 alumni.

The program was made possible by a $32 million gift from Margaret McDermott, who was the wife of Eugene McDermott, one of the co-founders of Texas Instruments (TI). Eugene McDermott and two TI co-founders, Cecil Green and J. Erik Jonsson, founded the research institution that became UT Dallas in 1969.

Below are the CS/SE McDermott Scholars for the 2018 class. (Click here to view all the entire list of McDermott Scholars for the 2018 class)

Anja Sheppard

North Carolina School of Science and Math, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Anja Sheppard is a National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar and four-time National French Exam Award recipient. She is a Girl Scout who earned her Gold Award as a volunteer at an orphanage in Haiti. Sheppard was the programming lead on her FIRST Robotics team and captain of her school’s rocketry team. During her senior year, she conducted independent research on robotic path planning at North Carolina State University. Sheppard is fluent in German and conversational in French. She plans to study computer science. Anja is also a part of the Computing Scholars Honors Program (CS2).

Solvay Linde

School for Talented and Gifted, Dallas, Texas

Solvay Linde, a member of five national honor societies, is a National Merit Scholar, a National AP Scholar and a Presidential Scholarship candidate. An active Girl Scout, she is working to complete her Gold Award. Linde volunteered at her high school as a student ambassador, and performed with her choir at hospitals on the holidays. She was the first two-term choir president of the Townview Choir, singing in the large ensemble as well as a cappella choir, and competing in group and solo events. Linde also was a varsity rower for White Rock Rowing, and a member of yearbook, the student literary magazine and Geek Girls, an organization that promotes women in computer science. She is an avid reader and artist who draws, paints and embroiders in her free time. Linde is conversational in German. She plans to double-major in computer science and arts, technology, and emerging communication, with a focus in animation. Solvay is also a part of the Computing Scholars Honors Program (CS2).

Zach Neiger

Sanford H. Calhoun High School, Merrick, New York

Zach Neiger is an AP Scholar who has spent the past six years volunteering at his local temple as a teacher and advisor to the youth group. He has participated in his local math and science clubs. As a performer and as master electrician of lighting and sound, Neiger has worked closely with the magnet theater program at his school, which produces over 10 shows a year. He is a player and collector of board games, and owns more than 400. Neiger plans to combine two of his passions as a software engineering major studying the applications of engineering in theater.


Source | UT Dallas News Center


The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,800 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 190 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members and 41 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2018. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.