Upper Arlington News

Siemens Foundation award

UAHS student honored for top AP scores


Juggling high school courses and school activities is a challenge for any student, but Upper Arlington High School senior Benjamin Kompa may have juggled more than most.

Kompa has completed 15 Advanced Placement courses during his high school career and recently won a national award and $2,000 scholarship from the Siemens Foundation for scoring the most top scores of 5 in those courses. Kompa scored a 5 in 13 of the 15 courses.

The foundation annually recognizes the top two achievers in each state in Advanced Placement STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses.

The other state winner is senior Sarah Yu, from Dublin Jerome High School.

Kompa said winning a Siemens Foundation award is a goal he is happy to reach.

"I was really happy when I won the award," he said. "It has been a goal since my sophomore year. It's great to be recognized for all of my hard work."

Kompa began taking AP courses in his freshman year, when he completed two courses, then took six courses his sophomore year and seven during his junior year.

He currently is taking college courses at Ohio State University, so he will graduate from high school with 100 college credits.

Each year since 1998, the Siemens Awards have gone to one female and one male student from each state who score the greatest number of top marks on exams in AP courses for biology, calculus BC, chemistry, computer science A, environmental science, statistics, physics C mechanics and physics C electricity and magnetism, said Diane Tsukamaki, from the College Board.

"It is a very prestigious award," Tsukamaki said. "Science and math are so important and these students are taking advanced classes. The awards are a way to recognize the students' hard work. The Siemens Foundation is very supportive of STEM and has a number of different programs."

The College Board partners with the Siemens Foundation in recognizing the AP students, Tsukamaki said.

Kompa said his favorite AP course was chemistry.

In addition to his advanced courses, however, he also has managed to fit in a number of school activities. As a member of the In the Know trivia team at Upper Arlington, he and the team won the March Madness In the Know Trivia competition Feb. 11 at COSI, competing against 63 other high school teams.

Kompa also runs track and field and is a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2010 and was a 2011 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad finalist, where he was recognized as one of the top chemistry students in Columbus.

Although Kompa currently attends OSU, he has yet to decide which college he'll attend after graduation.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offered him a full scholarship, but Kompa said he also is considering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a couple of other schools.

So how does he juggle all of his courses and activities?

"Time management is important," he said. "If I'm very busy, I will make up a detailed schedule for myself. I try to know when I'm going to be busy and not so busy, so I try to get ahead on work so it doesn't all pile up."

He said the key to getting high scores on AP courses is "really trying to learn the material" during class time.