There are those who have a penchant for being able to problem solve.

Take Amanda Walck, for example, who views the great unknown as a challenge to be deciphered.

That inquisitive nature has catapulted the Palmerton Area High School junior into the stratosphere of academic excellence.

Recently, Walck received a national honor for superior academic achievement after she was selected for membership to the National Society of High School Scholars.

The NSHSS recognizes top scholars and invites only those students who have achieved academic excellence.

The announcement was made by NSHSS Founder and Chairman Claes Nobel, a senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

"On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and commitment that Amanda has demonstrated to achieve this level of academic excellence," Nobel said. "Amanda is now a member of a unique community of scholars - a community that represents our very best hope for the future."

Walck said she was thrilled once she had received notification of the distinction.

"I was really excited when I saw it in the mail," said Walck, 16. "It was just exciting."

James Lewis, NSHSS president, said in a prepared statement that its students such as Walck who set the bar high.

"Our vision is to build a dynamic international organization that connects members with meaningful content, resources, and opportunities," Lewis said. "We aim to help students like Amanda build in their academic successes and enhance the skills and desires to have a positive impact on the global community."

Membership in NSHSS entitles qualified students to enjoy a wide variety of benefits, such as scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, free events, member-only resources, publications, participation in programs offered by educational partners, online forums, personalized recognition items, and publicity honors.

Formed in 2002, the NSHSS recognized academic excellence at the high school level and encourages members of the organization to apply their unique talents, vision and potential for the betterment of themselves and the world.

Currently, there are more than 530,000 Society members in over 160 counties. The NSHSS provides scholarship opportunities for deserving young people.

Walck said she believes her 3.7 grade point average, combined with her many volunteer efforts, are what enabled her to achieve the impressive honor.

"I'm a very well-rounded person," she said. "And I do a lot of volunteer work."

Among the organizations Walck said she volunteers with include Girl Scouts, her church youth group, and Horses and Horizons TLC.

In her spare time, Walck tends to her horse, Trooper, and likes to read.

But, it's in the classroom where Walck has made her mark.

With an affinity for science; more specifically, biology, Walck has been able to excel in the classroom.

"I love it," she said. "I like the sense that there's not always an answer."

Walck said she plans to parlay her love of biology into a career at some point.

"I'd like to major in biology or microbiology," she said. "My plan is to go to school in Texas, because they have nine med schools."

A trip to the National youth Leadership Forum on Medicine conference in Texas this past summer only served to further her interest in the field, Walck said.

"I wasn't looking to go into the medical field at all, but it was one of the best experiences in my life," she said. "They were talking about oncology, which sparked my interest."

Walck is the daughter of Carl and Robin Walck of Bowmanstown.

For more information about NSHSS, visit www.nshss.org.