By Cliff Summerhill
Earlier this year, seniors John Cole Lomax and Henry Palmer were awarded the National Merit Scholarship, an esteemed award granted to just 2,500 students across the country annually.
“This award is an amazing honor that I am so grateful for,” Lomax said. “It is also a point to keep striving from. This scholarship highlights the start of my college career, but I look forward to striving for more in college.”
“This helps me to validate my dedication to my studies over the past four years and motivates me to work even harder in the future,” said Palmer.
During their junior year at Brophy Prep, Lomax and Palmer took their first step toward applying for the National Merit Scholarship Program by simply taking a test. But this test was no easy feat, according to the pair.
With support from their families and an abundance of self-guided studying, they both took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, or as it’s more commonly referred to, the PSAT. Each year, more than 1.5 million high school students take the PSAT, with only about 50,000 being selected to move forward after achieving higher than average test scores.
From there, the program selects approximately 17,000 semifinalists from around the nation to compete for the scholarship. Once selected, the students apply to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, determining which students are selected as National Merit Finalists.
Thanks to school recommendations, solid academic marks, essays, and other successes, Lomax and Palmer were selected as National Merit Finalists. In addition to a Certificate of Merit (and bragging rights), the students were awarded a $2,500 scholarship to the college of their choice.
“I am ecstatic to have been awarded this scholarship,” Palmer said. “I understand how selective the process was, and I believe this helps to validate all of the hard work I put into my courses and studying for the PSAT over the years.”
“I am sure that all of the winners will be striving to excel in college and change the world,” Lomax shared. “It is exciting to imagine how all of us are trying to make the world a better place during college and after.”
This fall, Lomax will attend the University of California, Berkeley, and major in electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in aerospace engineering. After college, he plans to pursue a career as an aerospace engineer.
“I hope to design and develop unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs],” Lomax shared. “UAV swarm technology is introducing a new opportunity in AI that I believe can be used to improve the quality of life for people around the world.”
Palmer will attend Stanford University and will major in biomedical engineering.
“I plan to work somewhere in the biotech sector, possibly for a startup and eventually working toward starting a biotech company of my own,” Palmer said.
These future engineers are another testament to the saying “hard work pays off.”