Maumelle student Maggie Culp was elected Commissioner of State Lands recently during the 2017 session of Arkansas Girls State held at Harding University in Searcy.


The daughter of Betsy Culp and Jason Culp said she learned to never give up and to stand strong during the weeklong camp.


Maggie, who just completed her junior year at Maumelle High School, volunteers at the Arkansas Veterans Hospital and is a manager at Shine Boutique. Following high school, she plans to pursue a degree in marketing and a career in public relations. This week may not have been her only time to seek public office, though: she said one dream job would be to serve as mayor.


Maggie selected Caroline Latture of Cabot and Kalli Stephens of Bella Vista as her staff.


Caroline, the daughter of Mike and Konnie Latture, works for her school’s yearbook and is involved in theatre. Outside of her time at Cabot High School, she is a competitive horseback rider. She plans to study dental hygiene at the University of Arkansas, and said she enjoyed learning more about the state’s government and meeting new friends and peers at Girls State.


Kalli is the daughter of Travis and Kelli Stephens and a student at Bentonville High School, where she plays on the volleyball team. She’s also a member of the Fort Smith Juniors Volleyball Club and plans to pursue the sport in college, where she will major in kinesiology for a career as a physical therapist. She said Girls State taught her how to voice her opinions and be a better leader.


The three young women spent the day in the Commissioner’s office learning its day-to-day functions and visiting with staff about the different positions in the office.


“Girls State is an excellent and unique opportunity for young women to be exposed to public service and leadership in their state government,” said Commissioner John Thurston. “I am proud that my office is able to participate in the education of these young women and hope that they consider choosing a career in public service,” he added.


A mythical state created by the Americanism Committee of the American Legion Auxiliary in 1937, Girls State was introduced to Arkansans in 1942. Its goal is to provide training for Arkansas high school senior girls in the fundamental aspects of citizenship and practical government. Approximately one thousand girls from across Arkansas attend the conference every year.