North Students Qualify as National Merit Commended Students

Posted by Community Relations Department at 10/23/2013

Taylor Heimbichner, Timothy Chen, Gina Jozef and Nevan Madrid qualified as National Merit Scholarship Corporation Commended students, based on their scores on the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT.)  Since 1990, North High has had 116 National Merit Commended students.

Heimbichner also qualified as a National Achievement Scholar semifinalist, as a high-achieving African-American, and Sasha Hawkins was a National Achievement Outstanding Participant.      Madrid and Michael Pineda were named National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars.  These scholarship programs are sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.   All of the students are International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates.

Taylor Heimbichner enjoys physics, calculus and chemistry because “everything has a logical reason supporting it and they contain important information applicable to the real world.”  He is the lead programmer and was the Most Valuable Junior on last year’s North Robotics team.  In his spare time he is teaching himself to program and volunteers at the Arizona Science Center.  Heimbichner is considering studying physics or computer science at California-Berkeley or Michigan and eventually earn a doctorate for a career as a physicist or computer scientist.  Heimbichner is one of only 12 National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists in Arizona.

Timothy Chen has already had a taste of college, attending a secondary school program in Harvard last summer, and Cornell Summer College in 2012.  The experience was humbling, he said, but inspired him to step up.  He enjoys biology and chemistry because he can apply the concepts to real world situations.  He has participated in Home-Staying, a foreign exchange program; concert band and West Valley Youth Orchestra playing flute and piccolo; Interact Club, Academic Decathlon, Math club and golf team.  He plans to major in biology or biomedical engineering, and is considering Johns Hopkins, Washington Univ. in St. Louis or Harvard.  His career goal is to become a biomedical engineer.

Gina Josef loves math because there is always one exact answer, but her life is a little more adventurous.  This past summer she spent 45 days sea kayaking through the Inside Passage to Alaska.  She has been diving since she was in 8th grade, and she is on the North swimming and diving team.  Josef is in drama, Best Buddies club, National Honors Society, Student Government and played tennis for two years.  Her passion is community service, volunteering with her mother in the National Charity League for various organizations.  Her list of colleges includes Dartmouth, Duke, Brown, Cornell, Rochester, Boston Univ., Northwestern and Stanford.   Her anticipated areas of study are pre-med, psychology and engineering, and her career interests are psychiatrist or engineer. Her brother was a NMSC semifinalist two years ago.

Nevan Madrid followed brothers Sean and Colin to North’s IB program.  He is involved in the school’s robotics team, drama and plays viola for the Phoenix College Orchestra.  His favorite classes are physics and chemistry, and he hopes being named a Hispanic Recognition Scholar will help him pay for college.  He expects to attend University of Arizona, majoring in material sciences and engineering.

Michael Pineda travels 90 minutes by bus to get to the North IB program, and has become a master at time management, trying to complete homework whenever he has free time.  He is up at 5 a.m., is the captain of the North Swim team, plays on the tennis team, has competed in chess and track and field, and is an active member of the robotics team.  Pineda is also the President of the National Honor Society and member of the Interact Club. He has participated in the Barrett Summer Scholars program at ASU, the Joaquin-Bustoz Math-Science Honors program at ASU, High School Latino Leadership program in Washington, D.C. and Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science at MIT.  Pineda’s top two college choices are Stanford and MIT.  He would like to study aerospace engineering, materials engineering or nuclear/energy engineering.

Sasha Hawkins has always had an interest in psychology, but her creativity attracts her to writing and art, as well.  She is also athletic, lettering in track and field as a sprinter for the Mustangs the last two years.  She is proud to pursue being the first person on her mother’s side of the family to attend college.  She is considering Arizona, Oregon State, Washington and Stanford.  She wants to major in psychology and sociology and become a psychiatrist someday.