Five CNMI residents to attend US Coast Guard Academy
A record five CNMI residents have received appointments to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program.
Pution Palacios-Camacho, Kyle San Nicolas, Noah Mesa, David Igisomar, and Seiji Gonzales completed the rigorous application process, which included a full college application, physical fitness test, and comprehensive medical exam to meet the high bar for acceptance. They will all attend a college preparatory school for one year and, upon completion of that program, will automatically gain an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2026, to enter the New London, Connecticut school in the summer of 2022.
Palacios-Camacho, 17, is from Dandan and is a graduate of Mount Carmel School. She is the daughter of Velma Palacios and Paul Camacho, and intends on majoring in Marine and Environmental Science at the academy.
Mesa, Igisomar, and Gonzales are all graduating seniors from Kagman High School.
Mesa, 17, hails from San Vicente and is the son of Tania Atalig and Peter Mesa. He intends on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
Igisomar, 17, from Kagman, is the son of Antonia and Rajendra Shrestha. He intends on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
Gonzales, 17, is the son of the late Charlene Suzuki Gonzales, and John “Bolis” Gonzales. From Sadog Tasi, he intends on majoring in Management. His older brother, now Cadet 3rd Class Genzo Gonzales, is currently a rising sophomore at the Coast Guard Academy and also attended the CGAS program.
San Nicolas, 20, graduated from Kagman High School in 2019. After a year at the Northern Marianas College receiving high marks, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in May 2020 and is currently serving onboard USCGC Campbell homeported in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. While serving there, he completed a multi-national exercise in the Arctic Circle, conducting operations off the coast of Greenland, and also completed a counter-narcotics patrol off the coast of Central America, combatting the shipment of illicit drugs entering the United States. He is the son of Beatriz Tanate San Nicolas and Donald San Nicolas of Kagman, and intends on majoring in Marine and Environmental Science.
Acceptance to the Coast Guard Academy is less than 10%, and only two residents from the CNMI have ever graduated—Lt. Commander Christine Torres Igisomar (2008), and Lt. Freddy Hofschneider III (2013). Igisomar currently serves as the military aide to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz. Hofschneider recently took command of the USCGC Maui, homeported in Manama, Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
These new five appointments mark a turning point in the visibility of the Coast Guard Academy as a college opportunity for high-performing CNMI students.
Typical selectees to the academy achieve 3.7 or higher GPAs in high school, are leaders on sports teams and show character through participating in community and extracurricular activities. Applicants must be no older than 23 on the day they arrive at the Coast Guard Academy; must be unmarried and have no dependents; must be a U.S. citizen; and have no medical conditions that would prevent them from serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Cadets are provided a fully funded $400,000 education, which includes tuition, room and board, food, uniforms, books, complete medical and dental care, and all military benefits such as access to military commissaries and exchanges. Cadets also receive a monthly stipend of about $1,000.
Upon graduation, cadets receive their Bachelor of Science degree in their chosen major and a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard. They are required to serve as officers for five years after graduation, though the Coast Guard has the highest office retention rate among all the other U.S. military services.
One of the biggest differences between the Coast Guard Academy and the other federal service academies is that there is no requirement for a congressional nomination, so there is no limit to the number of residents from the CNMI that can get accepted any given year. For those wishing to increase their chances of acceptance, applying during the Early Action period with a deadline of Oct. 15 is highly encouraged. Those who wish to apply should contact Igisomar at Christine.T.Igisomar@uscg.mil. (PR)