Bronxville, N.Y. – Bronxville High School senior Julia Keating has been named a National Merit Semifinalist and is one step away from competing for a National Merit Scholarship.
Keating, 17, a Bronxville resident, was the only student from her high school to reach the semifinal round.
"I was told the cutoff was really high this year, so being named feels that much better," said Keating. "My older brother was also a semifinalist, so there is always a little competition there as well."
The program is run by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., which begins with a pool of 50,000 candidates and is winnowed to 16,000 semifinalists. According to the website, in February, 15,000 finalists will be announced, and in March, some 9,600 scholarships of varying amoounts will be awarded.
Keating's favorite subjects are math and science, and, while she is unsure what she wants to study in college, medicine could be an option, she said.
"Because I like science so much, I created a science program for middle school students at the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club called Everyday Einstein," said Keating. "They really don't have many opportunities to do science projects, so I set up experiments and help them write up lab reports."
Keating entered the competition by taking the 2011 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. She recently sent in her personal essay and grades to qualify for the final round and compete for one of many scholarships.
"It would be really great for me and my future if I could move on to become a finalist," said Keating. "Even though I know the competition is tough, I'm still really excited to have gotten this far."