McCutchen awarded $2000 scholarship
Blair senior Matt McCutchen has been awarded the Siemens Foundation's Award for Advanced Placement for the 2006-2007 school year. The Siemens Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that also runs the prestigious annual Siemens Westinghouse Competition, awards students from around the nation each year for their success on science and math College Board AP exams.
The Siemens Foundation presented senior Matt McCutchen with the award along with $2,000 in scholarship money for being the top male student in the state of Maryland to earn the greatest number of scores of five on the Biology, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science AB, Environmental Science, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and Statistics AP Exams.
McCutchen, who is in the Science, Math, and Computer Science Magnet Program, is also a member on Blair's computer team and was a finalist in this year's Intel Science Talent Search science competition.
In addition to earning scores of five on five of the eight eligible tests, McCutchen also took the US Government, English Language and World History tests, but plans to center his future studies on the sciences. "While I still appreciate English and social studies on a general level, I look forward to the opportunity to focus my future studies on the sciences," said McCutchen.
According to McCutchen, the CollegeBoard's AP program can be very beneficial to students in helping them advance in a particular area of study. "I have a lot of respect for the AP program. Its curricula are thorough and rigorous and its tests are probably the best-written tests I have ever seen," he said. "However, I see it as not an end but a means to the end of more advanced study in one's area of interest."
Another advantage is that passing scores on AP tests may exempt students from taking certain courses in college. "A good AP record is one factor that can help a student get into the right college and can give him or her flexibility to take more challenging and interesting material in college," said McCutchen.
The annual Siemens Awards for AP are presented to up to two potential winners from each state, one male and one female. In addition to the state awards, two national winners are awarded $5,000 college scholarships. Students can win the AP Awards only once, with the exception that state winners are eligible for the national award in future years.
To be eligible, students must have obtained grades of five on at least three of the above eight exams and must be enrolled in a high school in the spring when the award is announced. High school or home-schooled students who have taken AP exams during the previous school year are also eligible, but the exams they take during the current year are not factored into their scores. In the case of two students achieving the same number of scores of five, composite test scores are used as a tiebreaker.
McCutchen believes that the AP tests that he has taken during high school is beneficial and will enable him to focus more on his future. "A good AP record is one factor that can help a student get into the right college and can give him/her flexibility to take more challenging and interesting material in college," he said. McCutchen explained that he only needs to take one more core class at the University of Maryland and has been placed ahead in the subjects he is interested in.
The Siemens Foundation also awards high schools and high school teachers in math, science and technology for excellence on AP tests. Besides McCutchen, the other winners from the state of Maryland were teacher Joyce Bailey, who is the head of the Global Ecology Program at Poolesville High School, and Faith Zhang, who is a student a Centennial High School in Ellicott City in Howard County.
The Siemens Awards for AP require no application or nomination process. The College Board identifies the top students, teachers and high schools in each state, according to the Siemens Foundation's website.
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