BEAVERTON —Yamini Naidu, a senior at Valley Catholic High School, has been selected as finalist in the national Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

She and the other scholarship program finalists will travel to Atlanta in April for personal interviews conducted by a committee of leaders in business, government, education, and the arts. Fifty students will ultimately be designated as National Scholars, receiving $20,000 scholarships for college.  Additionally, 200 students will be designated as Regional Scholars, receiving $10,000 for college.  

According to existing school records, this is the first time that a Valley Catholic student has been named a finalist in the scholarship program.

“This is a very prestigious scholarship," says Joe Bernard, Valley Catholic college counselor.

More than 100,000 students applied in round one. The organizers narrowed it down to 2,200 semifinalists. Naidu is now one of 250 honorees.

Naidu, who lives in Tigard, plans to continue her studies with a focus on medicine and science research. She was a top five worldwide finalist in the 2012 Google Science Fair. Honored in the 17-18 age group, Naidu created a project titled, “From Models to Medications: Identification of Medication Leads for Treating Methamphetamine Addiction.”
 In 2011, she earned first place in biochemistry in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Naidu has served on the City of Beaverton’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board. In that role, she attended the Congress of Cities and Exposition Conference in Boston in Nov. 2012, where she served as a youth keynote speaker. In March 2012, she accompanied Mayor Dennis Doyle and city councilors to the Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. Those conferences are coordinated by the National League of Cities. Naidu serves on the NLC’s Council for Youth, Education and Families.

In 2010, she was a winner in Beaverton’s “If I Were Mayor” contest in the video category. Her video focused on traffic congestion and cleaning up the city’s methamphetamine-related crimes. It also emphasized government transparency and the importance of working together to solve city issues.

At Valley Catholic, she has served on the Serving Our Community student club and is editor-in-chief of Valiant Pride, the high school newspaper.