Early Phi Bete inductees announced

by Maggie Shnayerson | 11/3/99 6:00am

The Phi Beta Kappa academic society inducted 23 seniors yesterday for outstanding academic achievement over three years at Dartmouth in a ceremony at President Wright's House.

The 23 students were: Shreeram Akilesh, Stefan Andreev, Matthew Benedetto, Andrew Berglund, Michael Brigg, Sidney Carter, Joanne Chang, Debbie Chyi, William Congdon, David DiPetrillo, Susanne J. Falbee, Jason Giordano, Thad Glowacki, Heather Huffman, Sadiq Malik, Benjamin Malkin, Michael Pyle, Robert Ristagno Jr., Matthew Schlough, Joshua Thomas, Andrew Thompson, Gina Vazquez and Jessica Yeh.

Dartmouth's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1787, is the fourth oldest in the country, following the College of William & Mary, Yale and Harvard University. The society's purpose, stated in its Constitution, is to "encourage friendship, morality, and literature among students and graduates of American colleges," and its members rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating class.

The top 20 students in each senior class who have completed at least eight terms of enrollment at the college are eligible for early membership in the fall. This year, there were 23 students because of ties in grade point averages.

Students are inducted to the Society in the fall and again in the spring at graduation.

Fall induction is particularly venerable, because fewer students are named, while in the spring, more than 100 are inducted into the Society at graduation.

In the spring, the Society officers compile the averages of the top tenth of each of the last three graduating classes. Students who have grade point averages lower than that average are ineligible for induction.

The cumulative average required of students this year for membership is 3.74.

Society Secretary Kate Soule, a Phi Beta Kappa member herself, called the accolade "an ongoing honor for the rest of (one's) life," and described the honor as a distinction which can be extremely valuable when applying to graduate schools and jobs.

"Phi Beta Kappa looks really good on your resume. [Future employers] think 'wow--that's really excellent,'" Soule said. "It shows that you're a good worker."

"I'm definitely excited about it--it's nice after three years of really hard work," said honoree Andrew Berglund '00, a physics major.

Though membership in the society may be impressive on resumes, not all inducted students think that membership will make an important difference in their success applying to grad schools or for jobs.

"It can't hurt -- I don't know how much of a difference it can make, though," said honoree Andrew Thompson '00, an engineering major.

Jessica Yeh '00, a history major, said on average she studied four to five hours at night alone throughout her years at the College.