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Seten chosen for Rhodes Scholarship

Hattie Seten, 2020 Rhodes Scholarship finalist

South Dakota State University senior Hattie Seten became the university's second recipient of the Rhodes scholarship, announced Saturday. SDSU's first Rhodes scholar, Maj. Gen. Alan A. Nord ’52, earned a master’s degree in general chemistry from Oxford.

The Rhodes scholarship is a fully funded postgraduate award for students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. This scholarship seeks students who are “young leaders of outstanding intellect and character, who are motivated to engage with global challenges.”

Seten, one of two selections from District 13, would like to pursue master’s degrees in global governance and diplomacy and one in refugee and forced migration studies. The Sioux Falls native and Sioux Falls Lincoln High School graduate currently is majoring in political science, global studies and Spanish and serves as the Students’ Association president.

Seten has already lived in Marrakech, Morocco, and Amman, Jordan, studying Arabic under a U.S. Department of State National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship and a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. She was also a fellow in the Public Policy and International Affairs Program at Princeton University this past summer and completed an internship with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in 2019. Her career goals include working with the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer.

After hearing about a South Dakotan being selected for the honor in 2015, Seten admits she forgot about the honor. However, a discussion with Connor Haaland, a 2020 SDSU graduate and 2020 Rhodes scholar finalist, convinced her it was worth the time and effort to apply.

"I kept doing what I loved at South Dakota State University and at the beginning of the school year, Connor said, 'Hattie, you really need to apply for the Rhodes scholarship,'" Seten said.

Since the recipients were announced by district and then alphabetically, Seten was nervous. "I didn’t think my name was going to be called and when they called my name second, I was just so stunned. It felt like such an honor."

“This year’s American Rhodes scholars—independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—reflect the remarkable diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States ... These young Americans will go to Oxford next October to study in fields broadly across the social, biological and physical sciences, the humanities, and public policy. They are leaders already, and we are confident that their contributions to public welfare globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers,” said Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said of this year’s class.