LAYTON -- Hope Harrison, a senior at Northridge High School in Layton, was named a winner of the 2011 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, a national award recognizing top achievers on Advanced Placement math and science exams.
The highest-scoring male and female students from each state are selected as recipients of a $2,000 college scholarship. The award was established in 1988 to support outstanding students in hopes of nurturing tomorrow's scientists and engineers.
"These students lead the nation in performance on Advanced Placement math and science courses, and we are proud to recognize them for their academic excellence," said Jennifer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation.
Harrison was recognized for taking three math and science AP tests last year: statistics, physics electricity magnetism, and physics mechanics. She received a score of 5 on each of them, the highest score possible.
Having spent months of class time and extensive hours studying for each of the rigorous tests, Harrison felt confident going into the math exams, but was a little worried about physics, not completely sure she would even pass. But she didn't let that affect her the day of the tests.
"The tests are important, but even if you fail, it's not the end of the world, because you can retake them the next year if you want," she said.
Harrison is currently preparing to take another five AP tests this year.
Her best advice for anyone studying for an AP test would be to go onto the College Board's website to look at the past year's questions and do as many as possible.
Harrison attributes her success to her enjoyment of math and applying those skills to science.
"I like math better than English, because it's easier to figure out if you have the right answers," said Harrison. "There is an easy, logical way to move from one thing to the next."
Harrison was interested in math at a young age, even learning how to program computers at age 12.
Her dad started teaching her number systems and how to count in binary, at which point she started doing some small computer programs. When she got a little older, she was offered an internship as a computer programmer, a job she still holds.
Often, high AP scores can be used as actual credits at college, though Harrison probably won't use hers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where she has been accepted for this fall's term.
"I want to take the MIT version of the class, because it will be so advanced," she said.
In her eyes, the AP tests have helped her prepare for college, she said, because:
"Now I will actually know what the MIT professors are saying."