EVANSTON, Ill. — National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners were announced May 2 by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. They were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors.

These scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university. NMSC finances most of these single-payment scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees.

All finalists competed for these awards. To select scholarship winners, a committee of educators appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

California recipients include:

• Akiko I. Shimizu of Anaheim, a student at Canyon High School in Anaheim. Probable career field: environmental engineering.

• Sierra Lynn Katow of La Canada, a student at La Canada High School. Probable career field: computer science. Scholarship underwritten by 3M Company.

• Mark Y. Nishimura of Palo Alto, a student at Palo Alto High School. Probable career field: engineering.

• Ayako C. Kuki of San Marcos, a student at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad. Probable career field: anthropology.

• Julien J. Kawawa-Beaudan of Tiburon, a student at Redwood High School in Larkspur. Probable career field: engineering.

• Amy S. Ishiguro of Walnut Creek, a student at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek. Probable career field: biomedical engineering.

For more information on the scholarship program, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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