National Merit semifinalist: James Dambro | Palo Verde High School



■ What college do you plan on attending and for what major?

Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., has a major that combines hard sciences with sociology and economics. It's called Science, Technology, and Society. I hope to use its Public Policy Analysis emphasis to effect change.

■ What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

As a member of the elected board for National Honor Society, I'm in charge of math tutoring for proficiency preparation. I am co-captain of the Varsity Quiz team and a Lincoln-Douglas debater on the Palo Verde Forensics Team.

■ What do you do for fun?

I enjoy reading all kinds of genres but mostly science fiction and fantasy. Video games are sort of a passion of mine as well.

■ In detail, how did you prepare for the PSAT?

After taking the practice PSAT, I used the College Board website to analyze where I could improve, using their resources to study those sections. I also took a few more practice tests as well as studying from a PSAT book.

■ Why are grades so important to you?

I recognize the fact that grades are important in analyzing competitiveness and college admissions, but grades themselves are not as important to me as learning and knowledge. Even if my grades are OK, if I feel that I'm not doing my best to master the material, I am motivated to do better.

■ What's your favorite movie and book?

My favorite book is probably a series, either Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling or the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. My favorite movie is "Forrest Gump."

■ What's a guilty pleasure of yours - such as a TV show, movie or hobby - and why are you ashamed of liking it?

I have to say I really enjoy watching "Glee," "A Very Potter Musical," and the "Vlog Brothers." Not ashamed to admit it, either!