Senior awarded National Merit Scholarship, full-ride to Texas A&M

by Joseph Sweeney | editor-in-chief

Over 3.5 million high school students take the PSAT every year, but only a select few qualify for National Merit Scholarships. Senior Kaitlyn Hawkins is one student who qualified for such an opportunity.

“It was around October or November, they sent out the official list of recipients and I was on it,” Hawkins said. “They just got back to me in late February. They also want your extracurriculars, your leadership experience, they wanted me to write an essay about something that I found really impactful or really meaningful in life. And then that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t a super winded application.”

Hawkins was selected from the top 1% of high school students who took the PSAT as juniors. Hawkins plans to attend Texas A&M University with a full-ride scholarship from the Craig and Galen Brown foundation.

“At first, I was drawn to it because of the Aggie networking, which is basically, when your employer or your employer’s employer is an Aggie, and they see that you graduated from A&M,” Hawkins said. “As an engineer, they’re more prone to hire you because they know the education was at a really high level. It was also ranked top 10 in the country for engineering schools.”

Hawkins intends to study mechanical engineering, and hopes to work in the robotics field.

“When I was younger, my favorite characters in like TV shows or films would be the inventive ones, the ones who were making machines or designing things like that,” Hawkins said. “I think it’s really interesting to see how far we can push the limits of the human body with robotic augmentation.”

Hawkins is a member of the marching band where she plays the piccolo, and was selected for the 2022 Texas all-state band. She is also a Hispanic merit scholar. During her pursuits, Hawkins chose to focus on the big picture rather than strictly on standardized tests.

“When I was in eighth grade, I actually did a lot of PSAT practice, but ninth through eleventh, I didn’t do a lot of SAT specific practice,” Hawkins said. “Instead, I just kind of made sure that I was paying attention in class, so that it becomes more of a common sense application than a specific memorization of some kind of technique.”

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