South Dakota State University senior Laura Selman has been named the 2020-21 recipient of the Carol Peterson Leadership Scholarship, presented by the university’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Selman, who hails from Colman, is a nursing major and also serves as a first sergeant in SDSU’s U.S. Army ROTC detachment. She graduated from Chester Area High School.
In addition to being named to the dean’s list as a freshman, sophomore and junior with a 3.95 GPA, Selman received the National Sojourners Award in 2019, the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award in 2018, and the Department of the Army Superior Cadet Award in 2018.
As a participant in the Cadet Coalition Warfighter Program during July and August 2019, Selman worked with Malawi’s military to strengthen ties between Malawi and the United States. She led CPR/lifesaving classes with local police, led military science classes with peers and completed Malawi's ground airborne training as a squad leader. Selman said these leadership experiences have taught her the importance of communication and compassion.
“Key skills like time management, organization, discipline and responsibility were quickly discovered through my time with ROTC. However, the most essential skills ROTC has taught me is communication and compassion,” Selman said. “As for compassion, I truly believe the best leaders are ones who care about the end state and most importantly, their people.
“It is easier for people to come together and work toward a common goal if they feel like they are truly important and cared for. Through ROTC, I learned the significance of building a positive environment where the people feel valued and appreciated,” she continued. “Another important part of compassion is tolerance. I learned people make mistakes. They might even make lots of mistakes, but they don’t mess up on purpose. A leader’s job is to meet their followers where they are currently at and work with them to achieve more. Everyone has potential, and the best leaders inspire and help those around them reach their potential.”
Selman’s future career goals upon graduation are to work on a medical surgical floor at a U.S. Army base. After some experience, she would like to become a family nurse practitioner.
Peterson was dean of the College of Nursing from 1977-87 and then became the provost and vice president of academic affairs until retiring in 2009.
Eligibility for membership in Phi Kappa Phi is based on class standing. Second semester juniors in the upper 7.5% of their class, seniors and graduate students who rank in the upper 10% are invited to be members.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, which was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.