Cameron Woman Nominated for Merchant Marines
A Moore County woman has received a high-level nomination in her attempt to be among an elite group of applicants to enter the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this fall.
Last week, Cameron resident Kirsten Votaw was one of nine North Carolina students chosen to attend the Academy, one of five service academies in the country. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who each year hosts an "Academy Day" function for middle and high school students interested in applying to a service academy, made the announcement.
"Congratulations to this year's nominees, who are truly among the best of the best," >said Hagan. "These young men and women have distinguished themselves in the classroom, on the athletic field and within their communities. I wish them the best of luck as they continue the application process and I commend them for seeking a world-class education while serving our country."
As some of the most selective institutions of higher education in the country, the U.S. Service Academies require applicants to receive a nomination from a member of Congress in addition to meeting eligibility and entrance requirements.
"To be honest, I was hoping for West Point, but I am thrilled to be nominated for entry into the United States Merchant Marine Academy," she said. "My family has a military background, and it is natural for me to be interested in a military career. I've grown up with it."
Votaw's mother Penny is an Army veteran while her father, Travis Votaw, is an active-duty serviceman.
A senior at Western Harnett High School in Lillington, Votaw will graduate as a midshipman when she completes the four-year course.
"It's a long process, but it's not unlike applying at any other college," she said. "I wrote essays, sent three letters of recommendation, and SAT scores in as a part of the requirements."
Votaw said she attributes a successful interview with Hagan representatives as the main reason she was nominated.
"I am an outgoing, smiling, bubbly-type person, and am comfortable speaking to others," she said. "One question they asked me was how I am preparing myself for life at a service academy. I told them that I believe
"I am well-rounded, having been in a number of clubs in school. I said that I try to keep my fitness up by competing in school sports, and that academically I am in the top 10 percent of my class."
Votaw is a member of the Beta Club, the Future Farmers of America, and the "Green Team" environmental club. She is also a drummer in the high school band. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D in biochemistry.
"While there is no guarantee I will be selected for entry into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I am grateful to my parents and to family friend Jen Hartsock for their support and encouragement," she said. "I couldn't have gotten this far without them."
Votaw competed against 400 applicants statewide for a spot in one of the five service academies. Each state has an assigned number of appointees proportionate to its representation in Congress.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is charged with training officers for the Merchant Marine, branches of the military, or the transportation industry. The other service academies are the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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