MTSU student earns $5K fellowship from national ho...

MTSU student earns $5K fellowship from national honor society

The nation’s oldest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines has awarded a $5,000 fellowship to an MTSU scholar.

Natalie Musselman, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in May 2017, was one of only 57 scholars at institutions with active chapters of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi to receive a fellowship. This is the fifth consecutive year that an MTSU student has received the award.

Natalie Musselman

“I was completely shocked, but ecstatic, when I was told that I had received the award,” said Musselman. “When I was applying, it felt like a long shot, but I tried to remain hopeful and submit the best application I could.”

The Murfreesboro native, who minored in psychology, said her goal is to become specialized in either pediatrics or neurology.

“I’m also very interested in the research aspects of rehabilitation, and, after practicing as a physical therapist, I may go back to school for my (doctorate) in rehabilitation science,” said Musselman.

Musselman said the money will pay for almost all of her first semester of graduate school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. If all goes as planned, she will receive her doctorate in physical therapy at the conclusion of the three-year program.

“Students in the doctor of physical therapy program are encouraged to refrain from working if possible due to the program’s time commitment,” Musselman said. “Between tuition and living expenses, usually people leave the program with debt, and I’m so thankful I can lessen the amount I’ll have when I leave school.”

Phi Kappa Phi’s fellowship program awarded 51 fellowships of $5,000 and six $15,000 scholarships this year. The selection criteria include graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine. Membership is by selection only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and the top 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. 

To learn more about Phi Kappa Phi and its membership and financial aid opportunities, go to, or contact MTSU chapter president Dianna Rust at 615-898-5235 or

— Gina Logue (