Margaret Colton and Heather Culbertson, seniors at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, have been named finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship competition.
They are two of nearly 15,000 students across the U.S. to receive this honor from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They are eligible to receive scholarships from the corporation for fall 2016.
Colton and Culbertson, residents of Homewood, are members of the H-F International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. They were named semifinalists in September 2015, based upon test scores on the PSAT/NMSQT test, which they took in fall 2014.
They both say the challenging science classes they took at H-F helped them choose a career path into science.
Culbertson, the daughter of Don and Katherine Culbertson, will double major in biological chemistry and applied mathematics at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. She looks forward to a career as a genetics researcher.
“The most influential experience I had was sophomore year when I took both AP biology and AP chemistry,” says Culbertson. “It was so much fun to take challenging classes that I enjoyed so much and that was what made me want to go into biochemistry. Taking both classes at the same time really gave me insight as to how they were connected.”
Colton, the daughter of Anne and Bob Colton of Homewood, will major in biology or microbiology. She is considering enrolling at the University of Chicago. She plans for a career in research or in health-related public policy.
Colton says she also benefited from taking AP biology and also microbiology at H-F — two courses that showed her the career opportunities available to her in science — but enjoyed her other subjects and extracurricular activities as well.
Both students participant in H-F’s music programs. Colton is in Viking Band and Culbertson is in Viking Choir.
“I also would like to give credit to my band director, Mrs. (Sarah) Whitlock, and my speech coach, Ms. (Janine) Stroemer, who have instilled a sense of responsibility in me and a motivation to constantly better myself,” Colton added.