Mackenzie Kong-Sivert of Bioscience High School was Named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program

Posted by Community Relations at 10/1/2014

Mackenzie Kong-Sivert of Bioscience High School was named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.  She is Bioscience’s second National Merit Scholar, since the school opened in 2006.

National Merit semifinalists qualify by being among the highest-scoring entrants in each state in the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT.)  The 16,000 semifinalists this year represent less than one percent of the 1.4 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools who take the PSAT. National Merit Finalists are highly coveted as prospective students to every college and university in the country.

Kong-Sivert was disappointed when she scored a 99% on a portion of the PSAT, and did not qualify for the National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, until she learned that sophomores were not eligible. The second time was the charm for Kong-Sivert, who has a 4.7 GPA, and hopes to attend Harvey Mudd College in California to study computer science and engineering. She has been the lead programmer for the Bioscience Robotics team every year. She was also the top scorer in the District at the State Academic Decathlon last year in the Honors Division, and led Bioscience to its first State appearance in 2013. Kong-Sivert has had a summer internship with ASU neuroscientists, testing brain plasticity drugs for stroke and Parkinson’s on rats. She is fascinated with the structure and function of the brain, and would like to work with artificial intelligence, an academic field of study which generally studies the goal of emulating human-like intelligence. In her spare time, she has played violin in the West Valley Youth Orchestra, and volunteers for Amnesty International.

About 90% of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists become finalists, according to the NMSC. Kong-Sivert joins Sarah Dendy of North as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists from Phoenix Union this year.