Faith, honor go hand in hand for Stanford scholarship winner from Hamilton
By Thomas Wiedmann | Correspondent
David Liedtka, 21, of Hamilton Square has been selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and will get a full scholarship to pursue graduate studies in computer science at Stanford University. With more than 3,600 candidates, Liedtka was one of 49 scholars chosen.
“It’s an honor to be selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. It’s humbling that the selection committee felt comfortable investing in my potential to make a difference in the world and in the future,” said Liedtka.
Liedtka, a 2014 graduate of Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, and a midshipman 1st class senior in the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., said his accomplishments stem from a lifelong relationship with his Catholic faith.
“Catholic school provided me with a structured environment and a sense of community that I doubt I would have found anywhere else,” said Liedtka, a member of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. “At its core, Catholic social teaching is all about treating others with love. When you treat others with the love and respect that every human deserves, you really can’t go wrong.”
“St. Gregory the Great School and Notre Dame High School provided me with nurturing environments, encouraged learning, exploring different areas of academics, and prioritized developing students into well-rounded individuals,” he continued.
Not only has Liedtka’s faith contributed to his success, his education and training at the Naval Academy served as a guideline for his work ethic and conduct. As a midshipman, Liedtka served as a 22nd Company commander, a Trident Scholar, a member of the track and field team as a javelin thrower, and interned at the National Security Agency as well as Maui High Performance Computing. He notes that his time at the Naval Academy helped define his accomplishments.
“The most pivotal lesson I learned at the Naval Academy is the importance of putting those you lead, first,” Liedtka said. “People recognize when you make them a priority, and when they know you have your best interests in mind, a unit operates more cohesively.”
With eyes on the future, he hopes to return to the Navy as a cryptologic warfare officer upon earning his masters degree. In the meantime, Liedtka is keen to make the most of Stanford’s educational opportunities.
“I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of being at a world-renowned university,” he said, citing the institute’s prestigious faculty, including former secretary of state Dr. Condoleezza Rice and physician-author Dr. Abraham Verghese. “There are many lessons to learn from the faculty and their experiences, and I hope to incorporate those lessons into my own life.”
With the future holding much promise, Liedtka says his family’s support remains his key driving force, especially that of his parents, Dave and Jill.
“My mom and dad are principled and understanding, and have always been great role models,” he said.