Photo by Jim Boyle

From left to right: Noah Paulsen, Mya Yoder and Gabriel Livingston. The three Elk River High School Class of 2021 graduates were named National Merit Scholarship winners this year.

by Jim Boyle


Three Elk River High School seniors from the Class of 2021 were named National Merit Scholarship winners.

Noah Paulsen, Gabriel Livingston and Mya Yoder all went through the rigorous application process and were rewarded for their effort.

Paulsen, 18, of Elk River will attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, to major in statistics and political science.

Livingston, 17, of Elk River, will attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, to major in biomedical engineering and minor in computer science.

Yoder, 17, of Elk River, will also attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, to major in computer science and software engineering.

The hardest part was becoming a semifinalist, of which there are about 16,000 of them across the United States. About 15,000 become finalists.

Some receive scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Others receive them from universities. And all of these students qualify for additional scholarships.

Paulsen, Livingston and Yoder are all receiving $10,000 recurring scholarships from the university in addition to one-time scholarships of between $1,000 and $2,500.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced scholarship winners in waves.

Paulsen and Yoder were awarded $2,500 National Merit Scholarships that are supported by National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s own funds. These scholarships were announced in April.

Over 3,100 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities were announced June 2, including two being awarded to students who reside in Elk River.

Amy L. Hoskins, who attends Blaine High School and is interested in a career in linguistics, has been awarded a scholarship to the University of Minnesota. Livingston, who attends Elk River High School, also received a scholarship from the University of Minnesota.

An additional group of scholars will be announced on July 12, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2021 competition to about 4,000.

This year, 160 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 85 private and 75 public institutions located in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

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