Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor announces her 2020 nominations to U.S. military academies

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Washington, November 30, 2020 | comments

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced 24 students representing more than a dozen local high schools received nominations for admission into our nation’s military academies: Air Force (USAFA), Navy (USNA), Army (USMA) and Merchant Marine (USMMA).

“Every year I am proud to nominate a diverse group of high school seniors from the Tampa Bay area to attend our nation’s prestigious service academies,” Castor said. “These impressive students are tomorrow’s leaders, and I’m encouraged that our best and the brightest want to serve America.”

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Castor held her annual Academy Day virtually.

Receiving a nomination to one of our nation’s military academies is an essential step towards receiving an appointment to the academies. Nominations are earned based upon each student’s interview with Castor’s Nomination Committee, their academic record, participation in extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership qualities. Because of the stringent application requirements, many students begin working on what it takes to apply as early as their first year of high school.

Based upon the process established by federal law, all U.S. military academies, except the Coast Guard Academy, require either a service-connected or Congressional nomination (from their member of Congress, U.S. Senator or the Vice President of the United States). Parents and students interested in the nomination process can work with their school guidance counselors and find more information at

“I’m grateful for the time and effort my Nomination Committee puts in every year to thoroughly review each application and meet with each student individually, but especially so this year as we adapted to a virtual process,” Castor continued.  “Tampa Bay is a patriotic community, and our committee is proud of our role in developing the bright young leaders that will shape the future of America’s armed forces and our nation.”

Castor will announce official appointments at a later date after being notified of appointments by the academies. Today’s announcement is the conclusion of Castor’s 2020 competitive nomination process. The nominees who receive an appointment from a U.S. military academy will attend their respective academies in the 2021-2022 school year.

U.S. Rep. Castor granted her nomination to the following students for one or more of the U.S. military academies:

Cooper Jackson, Cambridge Christian School – USMA

Leo Sterns, Gaither High School + Valdosta State – USAFA

Zachary Cottongim, Hillsborough High School – USNA, USMA

Olivia Kasper, Hillsborough High School – USNA

Nicole Garcia, Jefferson High School – USAFA

Jonas Jonsson, Jesuit High School – USMMA

Ian Aguilar, King High School – USAFA, USNA

Gabrielle Hernandez, Middleton High School – USMA

Lauren Piacitelli, Middleton High School – USAFA, USMA

Michael Hodgson, Mitchell High School – USNA

Ian McGary, Plant High School – USNA, USMA

Evans Taylor, Plant High School – USNA, USMA

Vance Dimmick, Plant High School – USMA

Thomas Nagle, Plant High School – USAFA

Aidan Lindsey, Plant High School – USMMA

Margaret Courtney, Robinson High School – USAFA, USMA

Sara Arroyave, Robinson High School – USAFA, USNA, USMMA

Maxwell Mondo, Sickles High School – USAFA, USNA

Luke Barrow, Sickles High School – USMA

Shreyas Kallimath, Sickles High School – USAFA

Kinaree Adkins, Singapore American School – USNA

Conner Aeschbach, South County High School – USNA

Sohan Khanvilkar, Steinbrenner High School – USAFA

David Hoyt, Tampa Catholic – USMA



Rikki Miller

Press Secretary

Office of Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14)

ph: o. 202-225-3376 / c. (202)-344-9419 

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Click here for Congresswoman Castor’s website




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