PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, September 11, 2014

National Merit Semifinalist Announced

Dunn’s Kacie Nelson Named Semifinalist in 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program

September 11, 2014 - Los Olivos, CA - Kacie Nelson of Dunn School is among a handful of students in Santa Barbara County to be newly named 2015 National Merit Semifinalists. The honor is given to approximately 16,000 high school seniors each year. About 1.4 million juniors take the PSAT, which serves as the initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

According to material provided by the National Merit Scholarship Program, Dunn’s Kacie Nelson joins four Cate students, one San Marcos High School student, and nine Dos Pueblos High School students as the Semifinalists in Santa Barbara County.

Kacie, of Solvang, recently participated in UCSB’s Research Mentorship Program, working under a graduate student in the department of Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology for six weeks. For five weeks she researched the gene mutation that causes polycystic kidney disease. In her last week she prepared and gave a presentation on her work to other program participants.

“It’s been amazing being in a lab with people who love science,” said Kacie of the experience. “I kind of thought that maybe I wanted to get my PhD and work in a lab, but I never thought that I’d want to do it in biology. Working here this summer has shown me how much biology is connected to the real world and I know now that I want to work on real world things that are helpful.”

The National Merit Semifinalist designation is a nice step forward in Kacie’s academic goals.

Dunn is a college-prep private school for grades 6 – 12 located in Los Olivos, California. On our idyllic 55-acre campus we bring together talented teachers who inspire students to become sharp thinkers, creative doers and confident leaders. As a boarding and day school, Dunn forms a strong community – a small school where teachers become mentors and friends. It all adds up to a spectacular environment in which to discover your passions, build unshakable confidence, and learn to make an impact in the world. For information, visit

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