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Teresa Franzen, who recently graduated from Black Hills State University, has been selected to receive a $5,000 fellowship for graduate study from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Teresa Franzen, who recently graduated from Black Hills State University, has been selected to receive a $5,000 fellowship for graduate study from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Franzen, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and history last year, will continue her graduate education at BHSU where she is enrolled in the Master of Science in Strategic Leadership program. Franzen has excelled academically; she was the top ranking student for her graduating class in December 2009, with a 4.0 grade point average.

Franzen was one of only 57 students in the nation to receive the prestigious fellowship. Each of the more than 300 chapters of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi across North America and the Philippines chooses one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the fellowship awards. Franzen, who was chosen to represent Chapter 307 at BHSU, was recognized at the annual Phi Kappa Phi initiation ceremony held recently on the BHSU campus. Franzen was the only student from South Dakota to receive this highly competitive fellowship.

Franzen, who returned to college two decades after graduating from high school, says her educational experience changed her life and she aspires to be a leader.

“Twenty-two years after high school, and after raising two amazing daughters, I started college. The idea of going back to school was both frightening and exciting. Hard work and perseverance paid off. This fall, I’ll start graduate school, thanks in large part to the generous fellowship award from Phi Kappa Phi,” Franzen says. “Our nation and our culture are in need of leaders. My goal is to stand between injustice and innocence, to promote common sense, accountability, excellence, and self reliance in the most effective ways I can. The education I have received, and the education I am yet to receive will serve me well in attaining these aspirations.”

BHSU premiered its Master’s Degree is Strategic Leadership two years ago. The first students in the program earned their degrees this spring. The degree is taught entirely online which allows working adults the flexibility they need to pursue a graduate degree balancing family and career obligations.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The Society has awarded approximately $12.7 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $800,000 is awarded annually to qualifying members and non-members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad scholarships, member and chapter awards, and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated into Phi Kapp Phi. Some of the organization’s notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, NASA Astronaut Wendy Lawrence, writer John Grisham, and opera singer Renee Fleming.