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Military News (Jan. 5, 2011)

Senator Kent Conrad has nominated nine North Dakota students for appointments to the nation's prestigious service academies, including Alex Sjothun of West Fargo to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

A student at West Fargo High School, Sjothun has been inspired by a long line of relatives who served in the armed forces. His goal is to study aeronautical engineering and become a fighter pilot.

Other students and their educational institution are: Joshua Blevens, Fargo, and John Labuhn, Ellendale, both U.S. Air Force Academy; Zane Markel, Bismarck, Sara Fundingsland, Minot, and Thomas Grotenhuis, Fargo, all U.S. Naval Academy; Michael Nelson, Minot, Chase Buning, Grand Forks, and Ashley Zeitvogel, Grand Forks, all U.S. Military Academy.

Conrad said he is "proud to nominate these students to our military academies.  These young men and women are some of the best and the brightest. They are a credit to both North Dakota and our nation."

The armed service academies require potential students to be nominated by either a member of congress or the vice president as the first step in a long application process.  Final appointments are determined by the academies, selecting from a nationwide list of nominees.  Once accepted, the students are given scholarships to the distinguished educational institutions as well as a full military appointment.

To learn more about service academy nominations, visit Senator Conrad's website at