Return to Headlines

National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists

This month, 16 State College Area School District high school students were named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.

 

National Merit semi-finalists are selected based on their scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). Approximately 16,000 students out of 1.6 million entrants in the scholarship program become semi-finalists. Finalists will be announced in February.

 

Willow Martin, Natalie Parkinson,Quincey Steidle, Silu Shen, Yifan Lu, Lucas Monroe, Jupiter Ding, Liz Orlova, Stacy Cremer,  Get to know SCASD’s current honorees with the following profiles:

 

Stacy Creamer

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is English because the medium of written language holds a special place in my heart.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I spend my free time practicing my instruments (guitar, bass, cello) and writing poetry.

What book are you currently reading?

“100 Years of Solitude”- García Márquez

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy seeing my friends and learning about subjects I find interesting.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to become a clinical psychologist.

 

Hanna de Lorenzi

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is German because I really enjoy learning about other cultures and improving my ability to communicate in languages other than English. 

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

My two main hobbies are dance (at Centre Dance) and cooking/baking. 

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently rereading “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy spending time with my friends, learning new things, and feeling a sense of accomplishment when I succeed. 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to go to college and study biomedical sciences (in some capacity), attend medical school, and hopefully become a dermatologist. 

 

Jupiter Ding

What is your favorite subject and why?

Science. I enjoy studying the laws and phenomena that form the basis of the natural world.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Trombone and Quiz Bowl.

What book are you currently reading?

“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

What do you most enjoy about school?

I can work with my teachers as well as collaborate with my peers in order to learn new ideas and expand upon what I already know.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to study astrophysics in undergraduate and graduate school.

 

Betsy Hunter

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is math. I love working through problems by applying larger concepts, and enjoy the beauty of mathematical patterns, especially when real life is so messy.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I quite like to dance! I don't pursue it seriously, but it's one of my favorite forms of self expression.

What book are you currently reading?

“The A.B.C. Murders” by Agatha Christie

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy the camaraderie of students who all come from different places but are working towards similar goals together in class.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to attend college, and hope to continue to study math to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for it. I also hope to help work towards a more sustainable future, no matter what direction my career takes me.

 

Chris Kopp

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is math because I like the combination of structure and freedom.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I enjoy reading and hiking.

What book are you currently reading?

I'm reading “The Shadow Rising” by Robert Jordan. It's the fourth book of “The Wheel of Time.”

What do you most enjoy about school?

I like working with my friends and learning new things.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to go to college and study science and I hope that leads me somewhere exciting.



Iris Li

What is your favorite subject and why?

Math, because I like exploring the relationships between and within variables.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes?

I enjoy reading works of fiction and memoirs. 

What book are you currently reading?

“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

What do you most enjoy about school?

Forensics and student government because they empower student voice.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to find a career that's personally fulfilling and helps others.


Joy Liu

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is history because I like exploring the nuances and mysteries behind the personal stories of individuals in the past.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I love to compose music on my guzheng, an ancient Chinese instrument, by parodying traditional music and remixing modern songs to sound classical. I also love to write short stories and poems in my free time.

What book are you currently reading?

I am reading “The Name of the Rose.”

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy unexpected dad-puns in lectures.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I would like to go to college after high school and then move out to California.

 

Yifan Lu

What is your favorite subject and why?

Chemistry - I love messing around with different substances and exploring our world from a molecular level.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I like playing basketball and learning new songs from all kinds of genres on the piano.

What book are you currently reading?

I'm not currently reading any books, but the last book I read was “A Dance with Dragons” by George R. R. Martin.

What do you most enjoy about school?

I most enjoy the clubs and the communities/friendships that come with them.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

(Hopefully) get accepted into college and make an impact on the world in a STEM-related field.

 

Willow Martin

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is biology. I love learning about how the pieces of living things work together to form something that can grow and use energy and live -- it absolutely fascinates me. I also enjoy lab work, field work, asking questions about the world around me, and attempting to answer them, or at least gain a better understanding of how life works and of the world around me.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

I love kickboxing and painting. 

What book are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading “La Toile d'Araignée Dans le Rétroviseur,” though very slowly because it is in French.

What do you most enjoy about school?

I love learning. I'm one of the few people who prefers school to summer, and it's because I am constantly learning or creating something new in school, while during the summer it is harder to structure my time in a way that is as educational and rewarding as State High classes. From science to English to French to math to art, I love to learn about anything and everything.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

In the future I plan to go to college, hopefully Cornell University, then spend at least two years doing volunteer work for the Peace Corps before going to graduate school and eventually finding a research-based career. I want to continue with art, community service, Girl Scouts, kickboxing, and poetry for as long as I possibly can.

 

Lucas Monroe

What is your favorite subject and why?

Social studies, because I'm really into psychology, sociology, civics, political science, etc. Not history, though.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Performing with State High Thespians and dancing with Centre Dance.

What book are you currently reading?

Tolstoy's “War and Peace.”

What do you most enjoy about school?

It's great to be able to see my friends every day, and the school provides some really unique opportunities with electives and clubs that are also really fun.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to go into early childhood development, but I also hope to continue my passion in performing.

 

Alex Mullen

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is math/physics because I like seeing how things work

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Ultimate frisbee and robotics.

What book are you currently reading?

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.

What do you most enjoy about school?

I most enjoy getting outside and playing frisbee whenever possible! Also, I like to learn.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

Hopefully I will go to college in a STEM field and get to play frisbee on the way. Other than that, I'll see what happens.

 

Liz Orlova

What is your favorite subject and why?

Any history subject - I see history as one big narrative, and I love seeing the continuities and lasting effects of historical events. 

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Travel, knitting, attempting the New York Times crossword. 

What book are you currently reading?

“IQ84” by Haruki Murakami 

What do you most enjoy about school?

The opportunity to study a wide variety of subjects and discover what I'm interested in, in a supportive environment. 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I plan to pursue a double major in finance and psychology in college. 

 

Natalie Parkinson

What is your favorite subject and why?

Chemistry because I like suffering and investigating the world around me.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Swing Dance Club (shameless plug) and quoting Harry Potter.

What book are you currently reading?

“Anna Karenina”

What do you most enjoy about school?

I love seeing my friends and taking aesthetically pleasing notes.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to live a long, happy life with people and work I love.

 

Silu Shen

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is mathematics because I see it as puzzle-solving; each problem has its own tricks or methods, and I really enjoy finding the solution to each one. I also enjoy its versatility in application, from applied sciences to abstract concepts.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Listening to music, solving puzzles.

What book are you currently reading?

“A Brief History of Time” (by Stephen Hawking)

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy school because it provides me a place to collaborate with my peers about our mutual academic interests, especially in the clubs that I participate in (such as Math Club, Science Bowl, etc).

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to become a university professor because it will allow me to both learn and pass on knowledge.

 

Quincy Steidle

What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is physics because I like being able to see real-world applications of the concepts I am learning in class, particularly in things like driving and sports.

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Baseball is by far my primary interest, but I also enjoy my job, teaching parkour/ninja warrior classes to kids.

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently in the middle of "Night School," by Lee Child.

What do you most enjoy about school?

Aside from lunch, I really enjoy my Advanced Journalism class because I like writing about events that I find interesting and being able to share them with other people.

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I would like to study engineering or physics and play college baseball. I also hope to study abroad for a semester in Germany.

 

Emily Wang

What is your favorite subject and why?

Math, because I really enjoy how stripped down and methodical it usually is. It's the foundation of a lot of science, as well as other fields. I've also always loved to do competition math and apply more creative problem solving techniques. 

What are your preferred hobbies/pastimes? 

Recently, I've gotten back into reading, but I also play the flute and enjoy watching YouTube videos in my free time. 

What book are you currently reading?

“A Very Large Expanse of Sea” by Tahereh Mafi.

What do you most enjoy about school?

I enjoy that high school really allows you to explore your interests, but also forces you to take classes you may not initially be interested in. I've benefited a lot from taking more humanities classes, including history and government classes that eventually motivated me to keep up with current events and politics. 

What are your plans (or hopes) for the future?

I hope to major in Materials Science in college and possibly earn a PhD degree after. My dream job is being a professor.

 

In the picture above:

Row 1 (top): Willow Martin, Natalie Parkinson,Quincey Steidle, Silu Shen
Row 2: Yifan Lu, Lucas Monroe, Jupiter Ding, Liz Orlova
Row 3: Stacy Cremer, Joy Liu, Christopher Kopp, Hannah de Lorenzi
Row 4: Iris Li, Emily Wang, Alex Mullen, Betsy Hunter