Florida State senior Sandra Salonen, a four-year member of the women’s golf team, earned the prestigious Femina Perfecta Medallion for the second straight year in 2020 as voted on by her teammates and presented by the Florida State Department of Athletics and the Seminole Boosters.
Since 2005, one female from each of Florida State’s women’s athletic teams has been presented with the Femina Perfecta Award, established to honor the student-athlete who best embodies the FSU motto of Vires, Artes, Mores. The Latin words for strength, skill and character are found on the university seal and reflect the values of what it means to be a true Seminole.
“Winning this award is an amazing honor,” said Salonen. “It is a very special award because the winner is chosen by your teammates. My goal is to always be the best teammate and person for those around me. I hope to leave a positive impact and make people smile.”
The Finland native has been a member of three NCAA championship teams during her career as a Seminole. She will graduate on May 1 with a degree in Sport Management.
“My favorite part of being an FSU golfer has definitely been my team, my coaches and getting to represent such a great school,” said Salonen. “I would have not done anything differently because these four years were definitely amazing. I got to experience everything. I got to play for FSU, I met some amazing people and was involved with different things.”
Salonen’s initiative and determination shine through her accomplishments both on the course and in the classroom.
She is a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll (2017-19), earning a spot on Florida State’s prestigious Dean’s List in three different semesters including during the fall of 2019. A member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) at Florida State for the 2018 and 2019 academic years, Salonen has been a model representative of the Garnet and Gold.
The Femina Perfecta Medallion recognizes student-athletes who have demonstrated superior leadership qualities by pushing the boundaries of women’s empowerment. The award inspires others to support one another and helps foster an inclusive, open and prosperous environment.
“I love the opportunity to recognize our women’s sports programs,” Senior Associate Athletic Director Vanessa Fuchs told Seminole Productions at the Champions Beyond the Game Ceremony. “We’ve got one of the strongest female athletics departments in the country, so to be able to celebrate the achievements of these women is really special.”
For Salonen, it is especially meaningful to earn this honor voted on by her teammates because of the individual nature of the sport of golf.
“I’ve always loved golf because it is an individual sport but it can get a little lonely sometimes,” Salonen said. “I’m so thankful to have had such great teammates. Our dynamic has always been really good and even though everybody comes from different countries and backgrounds, we all come together as one.”
Amy Bond, Florida State’s Head Coach, agrees with Salonen on the importance of the award to the Seminoles’ superior group of female athletes.
“The great thing about winning the Femina Perfecta is that it is voted on by your teammates and only your teammates,” said Bond. “Sandra has tremendous leadership qualities and takes great pride in being someone her teammates can confide in when needed. Over the years she has showed that she is not afraid to speak up, lead and challenge her teammates. Her winning the Femina Perfecta for both 2019 & 2020 just goes to show how much she is respected and loved by her teammates. This is a great honor for her and one she should be extremely proud of.”
Despite the abrupt end to the nationally ranked Florida State women’s golf team’s seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salonen is thankful for the impact she was able to make throughout her Seminole career and plans to carry on the award’s traditions in her future endeavors.
“This has been a tough adjustment for sure that our season and my senior year came to the end like this so every little special moment makes it worth it,” Salonen said. “… I’m just proud that I have lived up to my values in life and I plan to continue to be the best version of myself and to make other people happy.”