Two Columbus North seniors have been announced as winners of the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jennifer Gutman and Preetha Pamidighantham will each receive $2,500 scholarships for their combined accomplishments, skills and success potential in rigorous college studies.

Gutman and Pamidighantham were among 15,000 finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. They were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors.

The two local winners are among about 4,000 national winners, including 50 chosen from Indiana high schools, announced today by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., based in Evanston, Illinois.

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Members of the committee studied students’ academic records, scores from standardized tests and contributions and leadership in school and community activities. They also appraised essays written by finalists and letters of recommendation from high school officials.

“Both young ladies have a tremendous work ethic,” Columbus North Principal David Clark said. “Natural intellect can be helpful, but learning how to couple that with a work ethic and having a desire to take in what is shared by their teachers and parents is what sets these ladies apart.”

Both seniors are among Columbus North’s Top 10 in the Class of 2017.

Jennifer Gutman

Jennifer Gutman is Columbus North High School’s salutatorian for 2017. She plans to attend Purdue University to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.

During her high school career, Gutman has been active on the swimming, cross country and track teams, and is a member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and the National Honor Society.

She is the daughter of Ralph and Laura Gutman of Columbus.

Preetha Pamidighantham bio

Preetha Pamidighantham ranks fourth academically on Columbus North High School’s Top 10. While she has not yet announced what college she will attend, she plans to pursue a career in neurosurgery.

During her high school career, she has been on the North girls tennis team and is the president of both Key Club and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and is on the school’s academic super bowl team.

Pamidighantham is the daughter of Murthy and Madhu Pamidighantham of Columbus.

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Kaitlyn Evener is an editorial assistant for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5633.