Maier receives National Merit Scholarship

Jenae Marshall, News Writer

Becoming an astronaut is senior Keaton Maier’s dream job. Maier recently became a National Merit Scholarship recipient, will bring him one step closer to this dream. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a program that recognizes academically talented students across the nation. The process started when Maier was a junior and took the PSAT, a precursor to the standardized ACT and SAT tests. Based on the score he earned, he was named a National Merit Semifinalist and had to fill out an application to advance in the competition to become a finalist. All winners of the Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. Maier progressed through the scholarship process and was awarded a corporate-sponsored merit scholarship from Rockwell Collins. This award can be used at any college Maier wishes to attend.

“Keaton is a very talented student who uses his abilities to accomplish his goals,” Xavier guidance counselor Dave Schemmel said. “The best prep for this type of scholarship is by taking tough classes, and Keaton has excelled in the toughest classes our school can offer.”

Maier plans on attending Iowa State University to study Aerospace Engineering. His current plan is to graduate from college with a STEM degree and work in a related field.

“If I follow the course I am currently on (aerospace engineering), I could expect job opportunities all over, but places like Boeing, NASA, and SpaceX catch my interest,” Maier said. “Additionally, and this is where it gets exciting to me, if I do continue with aerospace, and especially if I pursue graduate school, I would like to apply to become an astronaut.”

Maier says the requirements to be an astronaut include having a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, three or more years of related professional experience, and passing the astronaut physical test. He knows it is hard to be accepted but thinks it would be an honor to apply and have that opportunity.

Maier is one of the few students who has received this award since Xavier High School opened.

Jenae Marshall

News Writer