EVANSTON, Ill. — National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners were announced May 4 by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).
The Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program. They include the following students, two from Orange County and two from the San Francisco Bay Area:
• Francis K. Matsuda of Menlo Park (San Mateo County), who attends Menlo Atherton High School in Atherton. Probable career field: Medicine.
• Jean A. Okamoto of Yorba Linda, who attends Esperanza High School in Anaheim. Probable career field: International business.
• Junya Takahashi of Lafayette (Contra Costa County), who attends Acalanes High School in Lafayette. Probable career field: Medicine.
• Raku Watari of Newport Beach, who attends Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach. Probable career field: Materials science.
National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. They were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. These scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
NMSC finances most of these single-payment scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees.
All finalists competed for these awards. To select scholarship winners, a committee of educators appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and the recommendation written by a high school official.
The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s high school graduating seniors.