3 students named National Merit Scholarship recipients

Three St. Croix Valley students were named corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship recipients, officials with the Evanston, Ill,-based company announced earlier this week.

Erik Eitzman of Lake Elmo and Andy Ylitalo of Stillwater, both Stillwater Area High School students and home-schooled student Jessica Shaklee of Stillwater, were among the first group of National Merit Scholarship winners announced.
The three are recipients of The National Merit 3M scholarship, awarded to children of 3M employees.

Eitzman, Ylitalo and Shaklee are three of 1,000 recipients in the first group of winners in the National Merit Scholarship program. The National Merit Scholar finalist process is long, beginning in October 2011 when students take the PSAT. From there, 50,000 high-scoring students are chosen and are asked to be referred to two colleges of their choice by the organization.

After that 34,000 students are commended while 16,000 students are named semi-finalists and then the finalists are named in February. By the end of the year it’s expected that 8,000 students will receive National Merit Scholarships.

The National Merit Scholarship corporation said that most of the first round awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000 and recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

The probable career fields the students plan to pursue include Actuarial Science for Eitzman, Biochemistry for Shaklee and Chemical Engineering for Ylitalo.t