Phi Beta Kappa society inducts top 20 seniors

by JOHN FINE | 11/9/06 6:00am

The 20 members of the Class of 2007 with the highest cumulative grade point averages were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa honor society's Dartmouth chapter in a ceremony at President Wright's house on Wednesday.

This year's new inductees are Jacob Anderson, Hannah Burzynski, Frederick Hitti, Colleen Kelly, Davida Kornreich, Tyson Kubota, Christine Lahens, George Leung, Nathan Lo, John Milliken, Matthew Pech, Mitchell Pet, Nikolas Primack, Alison Riep, Alexander Rupert, Jeremy Schneider, Andrew Seal, Benjamin Taylor, Yuni Yan and Brian Zhao.

In a departure from past years, only five women were inducted early into Phi Beta Kappa.

English professor Cynthia Huntington, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literature professor Dennis Washburn and biology professor and Associate Dean for the Sciences C. Robertson McClung were all officially elected honorary members of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa during the ceremony.

Lo, who is a biochemistry major and English minor, said he found inspiration for his achievements from the students and professors at Dartmouth.

"I think that I've actually learned the most from the people I'm around," he said. Lo said that when he first came to Dartmouth, he was focused on just completing the premed track, but that the experience of taking a class with English professor Donald Pease, Jr. broadened his outlook.

"That was one point at Dartmouth in which I realized that I should look at more things," he said.

Kornreich, a history major with a religion minor, echoed Lo's praise for Dartmouth's faculty.

"I came in freshman year and I had a lot of trouble and a lot of my professors freshman year were really open and available for me," Kornreich said. "That really set the tone for Dartmouth. I realized how easy it is to go to office hours and to talk to professors, and that has definitely helped me."

Students learned of their election to Phi Beta Kappa about a month before Wednesday's ceremony.

"I didn't really want this or expect this or anything," Lo said.

Kornreich advised underclassmen to try to find a balance between academics and their other interests.

"Don't work too hard because you'll stress yourself out and make yourself crazy," she said.

Phi Beta Kappa is the largest and oldest academic honor society in the United States and the first society to have a Greek letter name. The organization was founded in 1776 by five students at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

"Phi Beta Kappa's biggest reason for being is to champion the liberal arts and sciences and it's been that for over 200 years, but it's even more important now as this sort of specialization is happening," said Patrick Farmer, chapter relations coordinator for the national Phi Beta Kappa society.

Farmer said that although many students just put Phi Beta Kappa on their resume, Phi Beta Kappa clubs exist all over the country, allowing members to pursue volunteer and social opportunities.

"Employers notice that and if the employer was himself or herself a Phi Beta Kappa that's exciting," Farmer said.

The honor society awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Prize to juniors with the highest cumulative average after five terms at the college. This year's winners were Nicholas Christman '08, Jean Cowgill '08, Tomi Jun '08 and Daniel Mahoney '08.

Phi Beta Kappa will induct other members of the Class of 2007 who attain a GPA of 3.75 or higher this spring.

Taylor, Cowgill and Jun are members of The Dartmouth staff.

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