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One of the 2024 Westminster High School graduates who walked across the stage last Friday has an out of this world goal - a plan to get to outer space.
Makayla Galler has been attracted to the idea of space travel since she was a child and thanks to the CTE and STEM programs in Westminster Public Schools she is taking a major step towards becoming an astronaut.
This spring, she was awarded a full ride JROTC scholarship through the U.S. Navy to attend Arizona State University in the fall. The scholarship covers tuition, room, board, and books. The approximate award of the scholarship: $200,000.
“This is a big step in the right direction,” proclaims Galler. “My number one goal is to be an astronaut.” She wants to see the earth and all of the solar system from a completely unique and different perspective.
Initially, Galler started high school remotely, but while taking “in person” JROTC classes and training at Westminster High School she became so impressed with the STEM and CTE pathways at Westy that she enrolled as a traditional student in her senior year.
During her early teen years, Galler learned to fly planes and even got her pilot's license for small craft airplanes. She moved past flight training to her own solo flight. But that wasn’t all. She also got into piloting drones while in high school and joined the WHS Drone Soccer Team. Her teams have won a number of national and international competitions including coming in 2nd place in Seoul, South Korea. The team won big in San Diego this year too.
Aerospace Engineering Teacher Robbie Ferguson says, “Makayla is a force to be reckoned with. I have never met a student who has been so determined and hard-working.”
CTE Administrator Lottie Wilson is also a fan. “Makayla sets no limits on her learning and her future goals to be an astronaut,” she recently wrote. “She is a leader in aviation already – inside and outside of the classroom. We can’t wait to see where her passion and dedication takes her!”

While space exploration is enjoying a boom with the advances in new technologies and SpaceX, Galler has her sights set on the moon, Mars, and beyond. Her plan is to participate in the U.S. Navy for 10 years as either a pilot or serving on a submarine. Both options would get her accustomed to working in confined spaces - a necessary prerequisite for serving on the International Space Station. Then, to the Moon. Then, to Mars….and beyond!


High school girl receiving an oversized check from a man in U.S. Navy uniform on a high school stage