Winner of $10,000 Schlenker Scholarship to pursue biomedical engineering

IMG 6321JOHNSTON, Ia. (April 24, 2024) — In a surprise announcement, Johnston High School senior Maanit Sheth was on Wednesday named the recipient of the 2024 Raymond and Marie Schlenker Scholarship — a $10,000 scholarship awarded to one JHS senior each year through the Johnston Community School Foundation. 

Sheth will use the scholarship toward his studies in biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa. His goal is to be a research and development scientist, and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

“By investing in my professional development, this scholarship would empower me to become an influential scientist who will contribute to advancements in biomedical engineering, improving the lives of millions of people, he said.

IMG 6309AP Chemistry teacher Jennifer Lehman said Sheth has an unwavering commitment to community service, an exceptional aptitude for science, an impressive level of detail-oriented problem solving, a disciplined approach to learning, an innate curiosity and a strong capacity for mentorship through his work coaching middle school swimming.

“Throughout my 25 years of teaching, I have encountered very few students who have exhibited such a genuine passion for learning, dedication to community service, and commitment to making a positive impact on the world to the degree of Maanit,” Lehman wrote. “I feel he is one of the top students to have graduated from Johnston High School in several years.” 

Sheth said his membership in the Technology Student Association has had a major influence on him. He served as State President of Iowa TSA. Through this organization, he was introduced to technological events including 3D modeling, dragster design and bioengineering. He cultivated his interest in biotechnology and joined a community of student engineers at Johnston High School. He was recently among 10 JHS students at the State TSA Conference who qualified for nationals, which will be held June 26-20 in Orlando.IMG 6313

“Words cannot explain the significance of this activity in my life as it has molded the person I am today,” he said.

Sheth’s journey hasn’t been without difficulties. Since his family moved to Johnston in 2011, they have been on the cusp of having to move back to India. His dad worked as a contractor for 13 years and would jump between companies, getting a temporary visa anywhere between 6 months and 3 years. As a contractor, one small mishap at work could lead to him losing his job. But a year ago, his dad got a green card and a full time job at Wells Fargo.

“The stability of my dad’s career has allowed me to dream of completing a biomedical engineering degree,” Sheth said.

The Schlenker Scholarship was first awarded in 2009 with a generous gift bequeathed from the estate of Raymond and Marie Schlenker. The Schlenkers had no children of their own but asked that the Johnston Community School Foundation use the gift to continue to benefit students of the Johnston Community School District. To further the Schlenker legacy, the Foundation established a $10,000 scholarship to be given annually to one Johnston high school senior. 

High school seniors can apply for the scholarship between March and April each year. Between the Schlenker scholarship and classroom grants, JCSF has donated nearly $1 million to the students and educators across the Johnston Community School District.

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