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Here are the 2020 Sterling Scholar Wasatch Front winners and runners-up

SHARE Here are the 2020 Sterling Scholar Wasatch Front winners and runners-up
SHARE Here are the 2020 Sterling Scholar Wasatch Front winners and runners-up

SALT LAKE CITY — The winners of the 48th annual Sterling Scholar awards for the Wasatch Front Region were announced March 19. Due to coronavirus concerns, the annual ceremony to honor the winners was canceled. The students honored were announced in an email sent to all of the schools.

There were 1,038 nominees involved from 93 high schools, with judges from among Utah universities, business leaders and high school officials. The students competed in 14 categories: Business and Marketing, Computer Technology, Dance, English, Family and Consumer Sciences, Instrumental Music, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education, Visual Arts, Vocal Performance and World Languages.

The winner in each category will receive a $2,500 scholarship and the runners-up will receive $1,000 scholarships in addition to scholarship opportunities from colleges and universities. The General Sterling Scholar winner for the Wasatch Front will receive an additional $2,500 scholarship for a total of $5,000. The winner of the Gail Miller Community Service Award will receive a $2,000 scholarship, and the Philo T. Farnsworth Award winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. 

The Wasatch Front Sterling Scholar winners for 2020 are as follows:


Cindy Phan, Skyline High School

Parents: An Phan and Hien Tran, West Valley City


Cindy Phan, Skyline. English. General Scholar winner

As someone who learned Vietnamese as my first language, I initially struggled with reading, writing, understanding and speaking English, especially since its structural and phonetic rules differed so dramatically from Vietnamese, my only point of reference. Learning the language was a task I had to tackle alone since, although my parents supported me the best they could, their own inability with the language prevented them from teaching me themselves. 

I ran across a quote that deeply resonates with me, and one that well represents my story when it comes to English: “Never make fun of people for mispronouncing a word. It means they learned it by reading.”

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT; 1600 SAT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: National YoungArts Winner, 2020; National recognition in Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, 2019 (two-time National Gold Medal).

ENGLISH RUNNERS-UP: Taylor Fang, Logan High School. Parents: Xiaoqin Pan and Ning Fang, Logan.


Taylor Fang, Logan High School, English

Andie Madsen, West High School. Parents: Matt Pulsipher and Lisa Madsen, Sandy.


Andie Madsen, West High School, English


WINNER: Rishab Balakrishnan, Hillcrest High School

Parents: Kartnik Balakrishnan, Usha Balakrishnan, Sandy


Rishab Balakrishnan, Hillcrest High School, Business And Marketing

By exploring business, one can understand how the economic engine works, what’s needed to keep the engine healthy, and how the push for growth or profit impacts economic equality. 

Without finance, most ideas would never lift off the ground. I am thus looking forward to learning how finance and investing enables good people with good ideas to realize their vision for the world, something, in my opinion, could help mediate wealth inequality.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.95; 33 composite ACT

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2nd place in Banking and Financial Systems at FBLA Internationals; 5th place in Management Decision Making at FBLA Internationals; Utah FBLA state executive vice-president.

RUNNERS-UP: Tyler Humphrey, East High School. Parents: Ryan and A Humphrey, Salt Lake City.


Tyler Humphrey, East High School, Business And Marketing

Naya Majeed, Skyridge High School. Parents: Rafla Jamil and Mohammed Majeed,  Highland.


Naya Majeed, Skyridge High School, Business and Marketing


WINNER: Sanjana Kargi, Hillcrest High School

Parents: Sudha Kargi, Vasudev Kargi, Sandy


Sanjana Kargi, Hillcrest High School, Computer Technology

As much as I love computer programming, I also find it frustrating. Anyone who has written code can understand the anger and frustration you experience when you spend hours, days or even weeks working on a code for it to throw an error. 

I understand the importance of working slowly and diligently and have learned to appreciate the process of working systematically. Computer programming has given me so many skills that I couldn’t have developed in any other way. I believe that everyone should learn computer science, and I hope that everyone can take away as important skills as I have. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.95; 36 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Computational Biology finalist at ISEF; National Honor Society president; competed in the state gold and silver tiers of CyberPatriot X and XI.

RUNNERS-UP: Tayler Pomeroy, Fremont High School. Parents: Bruce and Maurie Pomeroy, Plain City.


Tayler Pomeroy, Fremont High School, Computer Technology

Laurie Reeve, Logan High School. Parents: Janet and Kevin Reeve, Logan.


Laurie Reeve, Logan High School, Computer Technology


WINNER: Spencer Stringham, Layton High School

Parents: Steve and Cindy Stringham, Layton


Spencer Stringham, Layton High School, Dance

Dance enriches my life each and every day and I have no doubt it will continue to do so as I stay involved in the future. A life full of dance is a life full of exploration, creativity, acceptance, adventure and love. Thaat is a life that I know I want to live. I want to stay involved in dance by traveling far and wide to perform and share what I love with everyone, establishing new dance conventions and studios that focus on becoming an individual artist, and teaching as many people as I can. I hope to stay involved with dance so I can stay as happy as I am when I dance. Not only my own life but others lives will be enriched by my involvement with dance.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 27 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Nationally ranked at Velocity Dance Convention; Regional Senior Male Outstanding Dancer winner at New York City Dance Alliance, 2nd place overall solo winner.

RUNNERS-UP: Lily Bruce, Skyline High School. Parents: Jeff and Ami Bruce, Millcreek.


Lily Bruce, Skyline High School, Dance

Olivia Winston, East High School. Parents: Beckie and Phillip Winston, Salt Lake City.


Olivia Winston, East High School, Dance


WINNER: Jonathan Bone, Westlake High School

Parents: Bradley and Laura Bone, Saratoga Springs


Jonathan Bone, Westlake High School, Family and Consumer Sciences

From a young age I struggled with writing because I couldn’t keep my hand steady enough to hold a pencil, let alone write. Doctors always told me and my parents that this would be a battle that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life, and that it probably wasn’t going to be something that was going to improve over time. 

As a child this was pretty devastating for me, I felt that I was different from all the other kids and was incapable of greatness in my future.

Today I still have this disability but I am not for one second letting it impair me and my dreams of becoming a chef.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.799; 21 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: FCCLA chapter president; first Place at FCCLA Clusters Meeting Competing in Culinary Food Art and Composition; ServeSafe certified.

RUNNERS-UP: Linzie Hoffmann, Stansbury High School. Parents: Tye and Shauna Hoffmann, Erda.


Linzie Hoffmann, Stansbury High School, Family and Consumer Sciences

Tiffany Stoker, Weber High School. Parents: Wendy and Jeff Stoker, Pleasant View.


Tiffany Stoker, Weber High School, Family and Consumer Sciences


WINNER: Zoe Schramm, Olympus High School

Parents: Susie and Eric Schramm, Millcreek


Zoe Schramm, Olympus High School, Instrumental Music

“Where words fail, music speaks” — Hans Christian Andersen. These words, painted on the wall of my junior high school’s band room, continue to resonate with me. My musical journey has so far taken me on adventures that include learning a universal language, meeting new people and gaining life experience. Playing the clarinet well requires many hours of dedicated practice, and learning time management has been necessary to balance my scholastic and music studies. In addition, music has improved my ability to focus, which has aided my academic studies. Music also serves as a sort of spiritual experience for me and allows me to express myself more profoundly than any words can.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.9566; 33 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: UYOE Young Composers Project; Idyllwild Arts Chamber Festival Intensive; Utah Symphony 2017 Salute to Youth finalist; first prize in the 2018 Russell Harlow, High School Division, Clarinet Competition at UVU.

RUNNERS-UP: Logan Stats, Farmington High School. Parents: Eric and Holly Stats, Kaysville.


Logan Stats, Farmington High School, Instrumental Music

Horace Gao, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Hongyi Gao, Min Wu, South Jordan.


Horace Gao, Hillcrest High School, Instrumental Music


WINNER: Mary Jenkins, Timpview High School

Parents: Paul and Rachel Jenkins, Provo


Mary Jenkins, Timpview High School, Mathematics 

I love the way that math gives an absolute answer. It’s fully logical and once a solid proof is found it has no margin of error. Math ... gives me opportunities to make the world a better place. It can be used to find more efficient and cost-effective ways to help people. Math can find the optimal location for a well, find patterns in data that teach us more about disease, and be a tool to design safer and more efficient machines. These things can, in turn, provide water to people in need, suggest new ways to treat a disease, or reduce the number of accidents with machinery. All of these things make the world a better place to live. By studying math, no matter what else I study, I’ll be able to get the tools that I need so that I can help people.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT; class ranking is 1.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Attended the University of Utah’s summer number theory math camp; teaching assistant at BYU’s math camp for middle schoolers in 2018; coached the Provo Peaks Elementary MathCounts team in 2019.

RUNNERS-UP: Elijah Counterman, Highland High School. Parents: Lukus and Liesl 

Counterman, Salt Lake City.


Elijah Counterman, Highland High School, Mathematics 

Seyi Jung, Skyline High School. Parent: Kyung Seon Lee, Holladay.


Seyi Jung, Skyline High School, Mathematics


WINNER: Sreemanti Dey, Skyline High School

Parents: Dhrubajyoti and Mousumi Dey, Murray


Sreemanti Dey, Skyline High School, Science

Through my involvement with STEM in high school, I have habituated myself to this atmosphere of creativity and application. Surrounded by my mentors, peers and students, I have begun to adopt the mindset of a scientist. Through my research, I’ve learned not to be discouraged by experimental or methodical failure, and to learn from plans that go awry. There has been no experience in my life that taught me the value of patience and stamina as effectively as this one. In Science Team and STEM Angels, I’ve learned that STEM can be advanced only as far as its participants work with and help each other, and that non-academic considerations are important for conducting science efficiently.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Received four computer science awards from USEF, Utah’s ISEF affiliate fair, in 2019, and one award in 2018; president of Skyline science team.

RUNNERS-UP: Benjamin DeVries, Woods Cross High School. Parents: Craig and Laura DeVries, Bountiful.

Benjamin DeVries, Woods Cross High School, Science

Benjamin DeVries, Woods Cross High School, Science

Muskan Walia, Bountiful High School. Parents: Pushpinder and Ranjit Walia, Woods Cross.


Muskan Walia, Bountiful High School, Science


WINNER: Anabelle Ballard, Woods Cross High School

Parents: Matthew and Alina Ballard, North Salt Lake


Anabelle Ballard, Woods Cross High School, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education

I am passionate about medicine and plan to be a physician in the future. Although it can be difficult to gain experience in the medical field at a young age, I have worked hard to do so in increments, step by step. I received my certified nursing assistant (CNA) training at age 16, and have worked as a CNA in memory care for over a year. Although this work is often physically and emotionally challenging, I have been able to gain a greater appreciation for careful, personal patient care. 

I believe that wholesome health care relies not only on the technical aspects of the field, but also on ensuring personal wellness for each patient. 


Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 34 composite ACT; class ranking is 1 of 457.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: HOSA: Future Health Professionals; certified nursing assistant; Dominican Republic internship; CPR certification; National Hispanic Scholar; Billy Michal Student Leadership Award.

RUNNERS-UP: Faith Smart, Skyridge High School. Parents: Brent and Joyce Goddard,  Highland.


Faith Smart, Skyridge High School, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education

Maddelyn Lunt, Clearfield High School. Parents: Evan and Sarah Lunt, Clinton.


Maddelyn Lunt, Clearfield High School, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education


WINNER: Emory Bouffard, Academy for Math, Engineering and Science

Parents: Aaron Bouffard and Jennifer Burrow-Sanchez, Salt Lake City


Emory Bouffard, Academy for Math Engineering and Science, Social Science

Because of the activities I have been involved in I have discovered the occupation I want to pursue, the subjects I want to study in college and what I am passionate about. I think that my involvement in this category will enrich my life in the future as it has shaped the only vision of a future I have for myself. After volunteering with peer court and with the United Nations, I have found that both concern things that I am passionate about: law and diplomacy.

Social science has shaped the whole of my high school experience, and I should hope that it would continue to shape the rest of my life.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.974; 34 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: YouthCity Mayor’s Office internship; Teen Council Advisory; SheTech ambassador; SureFire ambassador; Voices of Democracy award; Voterise ambassador; Perry Initiative; U.N. volunteer; Let’s Talk Panel.

RUNNERS-UP: Sydney Ward, Salem Hills High School. Parents: Jennie and Evan Ward, Salem.


Sydney Ward, Salem Hills High School, Social Science

Asia Reid, Herriman High School. Parents: Gary and Wendy Reid, South Jordan.


Asia Reid, Herriman High School, Social Science


WINNER: Nathan Holley, Jordan High School

Parents: Kathy and Michael Holley, Sandy


Nathan Holley, Jordan High School, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics

My philosophy is stay broad. I don’t think a person should ever have to specify themselves to one objective. We all know the saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none,” but I like to continue that saying with “But knowing all trades is so much more fun.” There is no fun in limiting yourself. I have tried to broaden my horizon as much as possible in high school, trying theater, music, student government, design, volleyball and cooking. 

In a world of self-centeredness and absorption, the humility of the theater softens the hearts of all those who witness it. It is an art that will continue throughout generations, so long as there are people in the world who will work to continue it.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 29 composite ACT; class ranking is 1 out of 440.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 1st place, Classical Scenes at USHAA Drama Competition; 3rd place, Duo/Trios at USF/SUU Shakespeare Competition; best featured actor nominee, National Youth Arts Awards.

RUNNERS-UP: Julane Machado, Skyline High School. Parents: Neena Panicker and Brendan Machado, SLC.


Julane Machado, Skyline High School, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics

Madeline Mathis, American Fork High School. Parents: Craig and Becca Mathis, American Fork.


Madeline Mathis, American Fork High School, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics


WINNER: Taylor Hopfenbeck, Westlake High School

Parents: Curt and Natalie Hopfenbeck, Saratoga Springs


Taylor Hopfenbeck, Westlake High School, Visual Arts

I feel that all art by nature, design and definition is an enrichment, either culturally or correspondingly to the creator. But to me, art has been the one constant in my life; it has always been my shelter in life’s storms, my refuge in life’s battles, and my therapy in life’s conflicts. Art has been my emphasis in high school, it will be my major in college, and my proud and professional career in life. I could not imagine my life without art as its enriching force. It has always been my pursuit and my passion, my sanctuary and safe haven, and the quiet and creative space within myself where I can go to find peace, protection and personal expression. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.969; 32 composite ACT

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Westlake High School Emerging Artist Award 2019; 2 of 2 submitted pieces were elected into the Springville Art Show.

RUNNERS-UP: Nicholas Heiner, Skyline High School. Parents: Monique and Andrew Heiner, Millcreek.


Nicholas Heiner, Skyline High School, Visual Arts

Brynley Anderson, Highland High School. Parents: Tamara and David Anderson, Salt Lake City.


Brynley Anderson, Highland High School, Visual Arts


WINNER: Louisa Porter, Pleasant Grove High School

Parents: David and Nola Porter, Pleasant Grove


Louisa Porter, Pleasant Grove High School, Vocal Performance

I love to sing! There are no words to describe the feeling I get when I sing. It doesn’t matter whether I’m performing for thousands or alone in my room; singing brings me a kind of joy that nothing else can. Because music has had such an impact on me, as a singer I feel it is my obligation to share my love for music with others. Through choir and different performances, I have been given numerous opportunities to move people with my voice. Music is so central to me — I can’t imagine life without it! My involvement in vocal performance has always enriched my life, and I know it will continue to do so as I pursue it further and develop my talents even more. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.9; 28 composite ACT

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: First place, National Assoc. of Teachers of Singing Musical Theater Division; Perfect score, Indiana State School Music Assoc. vocal solo.


Taci Anne Miner, Copper Hills High School. Parents: Don W. and JoLyn Miner, West Jordan.


Taci Ann Miner, Copper Hills High School, Vocal Performance

Hanna Schneck, Timpview High School. Parents: Heidi and Matthew Schneck, Provo.


Hanna Schneck, Timpview High School, Vocal Performance


WINNER: Grace Bramlage, Copper Hills High School

Parents: Cameron and Melinda Bramlage, West Valley


Grace Bramlage, Copper Hills High School, World Languages

I don’t want to be a passive participant in the world, allowing things to happen without knowing or even questioning why. I want to be actively learning and discovering the machinations of the entire universe from the quantum to the intergalactic scale.

As I’ve studied Latin, Greek, and Spanish I’ve learnt the machinations of language. I believe understanding the way language works is as vital to understanding the world as physics is. The physical part of the world is one half of the puzzle, but humanity is the other half — and the easiest way to understand humanity is through the way we communicate. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 35 composite ACT; 1 of 827 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Took 3 years of Latin; academic decathlon president; Latin Club officer.

RUNNERS-UP: Jacob Arsenault, Herriman High School. Parents: Michael and Allison Arsenault, South Jordan.


Jacob Arsenault, Herriman High School, World Languages

Hannah Harding, Provo High School. Parent: Julia Harding, Provo.


Hannah Harding, Provo High School, World Languages


Brinley Openshaw, Lone Peak High School

Parents: Kimberly and Dorian Carroll, Highland


Brinley Openshaw, Lone Peak High School, Gail Miller Community Service Award

The three home renovation projects I worked on with my community helped me to see that adversities come in all shapes and sizes. Through them, I have seen that more people deal with incredibly difficult issues than I had ever imagined. Hearing the stories of refugees from Africa, of a family that lost their father, and of numerous youth living in terrible situations trying to make their lives better has made me incomprehensibly grateful for everything I have.

By working with neighbors and friends on these homes, I have seen the power that a community can have — that every single person within one plays a small part in making a big difference. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.994; 33 composite ACT; 

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Congressional Award Gold Medal for Leadership and Service; Distinguished Young Women Academic Scholarship; BYU Foreign Language Fair; Nova Overall Essay Winner. 


Ben Gubler, Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy

Parents: Josh and Wendy Gubler, Orem

Ben Gubler, Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy, Philo T. Farnsworth Governor’s Award

Ben Gubler, Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy, Philo T. Farnsworth Governor’s Award

Computer programming is art. It is the creation of something beautiful, functional and elegant. And that’s what draws me to it. The reasons I love coding are the same reasons I love music and literature: fundamentally, I love to create. Working with computer programming has changed the way I see the world. I see the beauty in structure, in clarity, in form. Sometimes I am stunned by the elegance of a particular solution. When I see multiple components working together flawlessly, in harmony, it is just the same to me as when I look at the work of one of the great artists. In my search to become a great artist myself, computer technology is my chosen medium.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.940; 36 composite ACT

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Runs a personal private wiki using MediaWiki; trained a neural network to play tic-tac-toe; creator and lead developer of Squirrelly, the fastest lightweight JavaScript template engine in the world.