WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced today that she has nominated 41 Iowa students to be considered for appointments to United States Service Academies.

“I am proud to nominate these deserving Iowa students for admittance to our U.S. Service Academies,” said Senator Ernst. “This nomination is a critical part of the admissions process, and it is my honor to assist them in achieving their goal of serving our great nation. These exemplary young Iowans have exhibited leadership skills, dedication to academics, and commitment to their communities, and I look forward to seeing all they will accomplish.”

Each year, Senator Ernst has the honor and responsibility of nominating Iowa students to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

To learn more about service academy nominations, click here.

Below is a complete list of the students nominated by Senator Ernst for the Class of 2022.

United States Air Force Academy

Kevin Brisker, Wilton

Cory Critchlow, Carlisle

Olivia Cowart, Dubuque

Jolynn Harris, Des Moines

Christine Hess, Shelby

Joseph Kenkel, Panama

Sheryl McGowan, Sioux City

Mallory Nesmith, Cedar Rapids

Cody Meyers, Pacific Junction

Jacob Mulcahy, Ankeny


United States Naval Academy

Chaz Clark, Pleasantville

Jared Johnson, Urbandale

Ian Kennedy, Stuart

Katherine McAllister, New London

Max Oberman, Clive

Joshua Paskach, Des Moines

Kyle Puttmann, Orange City

Wesley Sebetka, Chelsea

August Taylor, Villisca

Patricia Teggatz, Hampton


United States Military Academy at West Point

Adam Bender, Cedar Falls

Hunter Carey, New Hampton

Eleanor Drexler, Bettendorf

Drew Graves, Iowa City

Peter Greer, Iowa City

Carli Hansen, Adel

Payton Hart, Riverside

Brianna Hartman, West Des Moines

Sierra Howardson, Danville

Victoria Johnson, Marshalltown

Claire Jones, Council Bluffs

Jaxon Jones, Forest City

Caleb Kleman, Cedar Rapids

Nicholas Krabbenhoft, Denver

Robert Phillips, Sioux City

Austin Rognes, Ankeny

Connor Urquhart, Ankeny

Luke Whitman, Des Moines


United States Merchant Marine Academy

Nathan Betts, Dyersville

Katharina Commins, Altoona

Jarred Gaudineer, West Des Moines


Senator Ernst received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University where she joined the university’s ROTC program. After graduating, Ernst was commissioned as an officer in U.S. Army Reserves, and after a few years in the Reserves, transferred to the Iowa National Guard. In 2003, she served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Senator Ernst retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard after 23 years of military service.