I'm a Tulsa Kid: Harper McIntyre
McIntyre is a senior at Edison and a National Merit semifinalist
Education is one of the most powerful tools that can be used to change the world. Edison Preparatory High School student Harper McIntyre took advantage of every resource provided to her to help her become a National Merit semifinalist. Harper learned that reaching her dreams is a lot of hard work (and even more studying), but all worth the work.
Q: What is a National Merit semifinalist?
Harper: National Merit is a scholarship program that you qualify for based on your junior-year PSAT score. In April of your junior year, you find out whether you qualified for recognition from the program. In September, two-thirds of the 50,000 who qualified are Commended, while the remaining one-third move on to be semifinalists. Then, you have to submit an application to be considered for Finalist status. Once you are named a finalist, which happens around February, you can be selected for scholarships from National Merit, businesses, or colleges. I just found out that I made it to Semi-Finalist.
Q: How did you feel when you found out you were a semifinalist?
Harper: When I found out I was a semi-finalist I was very happy, and a little surprised. I had to try to keep myself from smiling all day.
Q: How did the teachers at Edison prepare you for this?
Harper: In my junior year, for about a month before we took the PSAT, our assistant principal had our English and math teachers give us time to practice on Khan Academy (which I highly recommend) a few hours a week.
Q: What is your most difficult class?
Harper: This year AP Statistics and AP Government have been the most time-consuming, but I wouldn’t say that any of my classes are hard, at least not yet. Check back with me towards the end of the semester; I’m sure I’ll have a different answer.
Q: What is your favorite class?
Harper: My favorite class is Differential Equations. It is the first year the class is being offered at my school, and there are only six of us. Right now we are working on a project where we design our own Mars colony.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Harper: As of right now I plan on going to a college up north or on the East Coast. If I get in to an Ivy (League school) that would be incredible, but I would also enjoy Macalester in St. Paul, Minnesota. I want to major in environmental studies or something along that line. My dream job would be to work for the United Nations on their sustainability initiatives, but before that I would like to work for a non-profit or government on local levels implementing policy to try to reverse environmental issues.
Q: What advice do you have for students who will be starting high school and want to be academically successful?
Harper: Get organized! From the start, plan out the classes you want to take, activities you want to participate in, when to take your ACT, SAT, and subject tests, research colleges and career paths, and get yourself a planner. It is important to stay on top of your classwork and learn how to manage your time, because once you become an upperclassman, you will thank yourself for having those habits. Make sure you take the most challenging courses you can, but don’t stretch yourself too thin by trying to do it all (trust me on this one). There will be many late nights, piles of homework, stress, and deadlines, but if you stay on top of it, you will be fine. Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough - DO THE EXTRA CREDIT! Also work with your counselor at school. Ms. Stalcup is mine at Edison, and she’s been great!
Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
Harper: I enjoy reading, photography, traveling, and doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’m interested in sustainability and learning about how humans are affecting the environment, ecosystems, and our health and how to fix it.
Q: Where are your favorite places to study around town?
Q: Who inspires you?
Harper: I’m inspired by a friend of mine named Gracie Rule. She is currently studying at Vanderbilt to become a lawyer so that she can get into politics and one day become president. Her mother is my youth group leader, and I’m always asking her about how Gracie managed to be so successful in high school. Amazing test scores, cancer research with a college professor, president of numerous clubs, hundreds of volunteer hours, incredible student, great person - she is everything I strive to be, and I have looked up to her for many years now.
Q: What took you to Asia this summer? And where did you go?
Harper: I studied Chinese for the past few years, so this summer I decided to take a two-week language intensive trip to Beijing sponsored by OU’s Confucius Institute. We stayed on the Beijing Normal University campus and took language classes, culture classes, and went on excursions around the city to see its landmarks. It was an incredible way to practice my language skills, experience a new culture, and see many famous historical sites. I tried some new foods, improved my Chinese, and had quite a few interesting adventures.
Q: What is a fun fact about you?
Harper: I was named after Harper Lee, one of my mom’s favorite authors.