The prestigious Joseph F. and Martha P. Nelson Scholarship offered at Black Hills State University has been awarded to Cassidy Kotelman, Brookings High School senior who will graduate this May and attend BHSU in the fall. She plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry at BHSU and attend medical school upon graduation.

The Nelson Scholarship provides full tuition and fees for 16 credit hours per semester and is renewable without reapplying, as long as the student maintains required academic performance. In addition, the award provides a meal plan and double occupancy room in a residence hall.

Kotelman has taken rigorous science and math courses during high school including honors chemistry, human anatomy, and advanced placement statistics. She has earned a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) all four years of her high school career and has been active in various organizations. She is a member of her high school Spanish Club, the National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and has volunteered with the Special Olympics.

She earned second place in her local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter’s Voice of Democracy Literacy Contest. The national contest, open to high school students, requires entrants to write and record a three to five minute essay on an announced patriotic theme. Kotelman’s essay answered the question "Does America Still Have Heroes?" and was judged on originality, how well the question was answered, as well as the delivery of the essay while being recorded.

In addition to being successful in the classroom, Kotelman is an outstanding athlete. She earned the Varsity Athletic Scholar Award in basketball, volleyball, track, and softball. She was named the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Outstanding Female Athlete; was recognized by the South Dakota High School Basketball Coaches Association as Academic All-State for girls basketball; was a two-year member of the Eastern South Dakota All-Conference First Team in basketball; was a member of the South Dakota Stars Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Travel Basketball Team as well as the Junior Olympic National Volleyball Team; was the team captain for basketball and volleyball; and has won numerous other athletic-related awards.

BHSU has also signed Kotelman to play basketball for the Yellow Jackets this fall. “Kotelman is a very versatile player, which makes her a tough match up,” said Mark Nore, head women’s basketball coach at BHSU.  “We love how hard she plays and the type of teammate she is. We are very excited about her as an addition to the University and to our program.”

The full-ride Nelson scholarship is available to a high school graduate who has not previously attended a post-secondary institution. To be eligible, the student must be majoring in biology, chemistry, physical science, environmental physical science or mathematics; be in the upper 10 percent of his/her class; earn a minimum ACT composite score of 28 or SAT of 1,260; and have completed at least three years of both mathematics and laboratory science, with a fourth year in one area, earning grades of a B or higher in each.

For more information on the Nelson Scholarship or establishing a scholarship endowment at BHSU, contact Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement at BHSU, at 642.6385 or email Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu.