Robert Henning is impressive. A senior at Mission Hills High School, he is the only student in the San Marcos Unified School District to be chosen as a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist – joining the elite ranks of less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors who qualify nationwide for this distinction. However, this is the least of his accomplishments.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition and gathers 1,700 of the top, young scientific minds. Not only was Robert one of six students from San Diego County chosen to attend this prestigious event, he came away with the second place award in the Best of Category. His project involving an auditory device that can directionally filter sound led to an opportunity to continue his research this past summer at Texas Tech University as part of the Clark Scholars Program. Appointments for the Clark Scholars Program are very competitive with only 12 students out of 343 being chosen.
During the seven-week scholars program, Robert worked closely with a faculty member and, through an independent project, created a prototype for his revolutionary hearing aid device – a device that can help hearing aid users point at a sound source and filter out surrounding noise.
Out of all of his accomplishments – an outstanding G.P.A., science fair awards, being part the MHHS Robotics Team – Robert said, “I’m the most proud of my research and work on the hearing aid assistance device. I’m currently working on getting a provisional patent.”
Sara Montooth, a counselor at Mission Hills High School, said, “I’m literally sitting in awe of what he does on his own time. He’s done this, and he’s only a senior in high school. It’s exciting to see where he’ll go in his life.”
Principal Courtney Goode, echoing Sara’s sentiments, added, “I’m proud that in addition to his hard work, Mission Hills High School provides the kind of academic and social environment that helps a student like Robert flourish.”
National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. Until then, Robert plans on applying to college (his top choice being MIT) and applying to give the valedictorian speech at graduation.