Two Hilliard seniors recently received $2,500 National Merit scholarships.

Two Hilliard seniors recently received $2,500 National Merit scholarships.

Matthias Heinz of Davidson High School and Alan Li of Darby High School were among the 2,500 recipients named by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

Heinz and Li were selected from of a pool of more than 15,000 finalists.

Both are valedictorians of their graduating classes.

Heinz will attend Ohio State University in the fall. He said he plans to study physics.

"I look forward to going to Ohio State University and beginning and all the opportunities I will have in an independent academic setting," Heinz said.

His career goals include becoming a professor, as well as being able to research such subjects as the design, creation and application of carbon nanotubes.

"The behavior of particles (and) researching at the subatomic level" interests me, Heinz said.

Li will attend the University of Miami in Florida.

He plans to study biology and chemistry while preparing to become a physician.

"But I'm not sure yet about my specialty," Li said.

National Merit Scholarship winners were the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies, according to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

Criteria considered included academic records, difficulty level of subjects studied, scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school, community activities, an essay written by the finalist and a recommendation written by a high school official.