National Merit semifinalist: Shanel Wu | Clark High School


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

I haven't received any admission decisions yet, so I can only hope I'll get into the California Institute of Technology or the University of Southern California and study physics, a subject that is applicable while being abstract enough to twist my mind delightfully.

■ What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

Robotics, co-captain of Varsity Quiz, We the People, chamber orchestra, and I volunteer through National Honor Society.

■ What do you do for fun?

I am currently working my way through the "Assassin's Creed" series.

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

In my sophomore year, I took an SAT prep course and took the SAT at the end of that school year. It was just a matter of retaining those test-taking skills until October.

■ Why are grades so important to you?

They're not. Grades are important only to those who have control of my future right now, but they're meaningless numbers to me.

■ What's your favorite movie and book?

My favorite movie is "Airplane!" and book is "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel.

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

I am of such impeccable moral fiber that none of my actions merit any guilt. I do, however, give in to the consumerist impulse that I've been indoctrinated with and go shopping.