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Phi Beta Kappa elects 110 seniors

Traditionally held on campus in lecture hall, 2020 election process takes place over Zoom in light of COVID-19 pandemic

By
Staff Writer
Thursday, May 7, 2020

On April 19 and 20, 110 seniors were elected to the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, wrote Chapter Administrator Mary Jo Foley ’75 in an email to The Herald. Phi Beta Kappa is one of the oldest academic honors in the country that recognizes “outstanding academic accomplishment in the course of a broad liberal education,” according to the University’s website.

Seniors who are eligible for election must have completed 28 courses within seven semesters on campus with a minimum of 23 classes in which a student receives an A or “S with distinction” by the end of the seventh semester, according to Phi Beta Kappa election procedures. Additionally, two-fifths of these courses must be in the arts, humanities, social sciences and/or pure mathematics. To accept the invitation, students must pay a $135 one-time initiation fee.

In the junior member election in February, 40 members of the class of 2021 were elected to the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, The Herald previously reported.

Customarily, the election process is held in a lecture hall, where senior chapter members who were elected as juniors last year participate as electors. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ten electors participated in the process over Zoom. In an email to The Herald, Richard Rambuss, chair of the Department of English and president of the Rhode Island Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, wrote that for this year’s election, “(a) line was added to the usual confidentiality agreement: electors promised not to record the meeting.”

Many students were surprised by the news of their election, and said that they had not been actively working toward the Phi Beta Kappa designation while taking classes at the University. 

Anna Hunt ’20 wrote in an email to The Herald that prior to her election, she had not been very aware of the honor and mainly credits her academic success to self-motivation. “I was not actively working towards or thinking about (Phi Beta Kappa) or other distinctions having to do with GPA during my time at Brown,” Hunt wrote.

Brianna McFadden ’20 was also surprised by the news, and had heard of Phi Beta Kappa only from one mention of it on Dear Blueno, a student-run Facebook page that solicits and posts anonymous submissions. After receiving the email notifying her of her election, she had to research the honor. 

Harry Chalfin ’20 said the news has not yet sunken in because he is still occupied with completing his coursework for the semester. “I’m sure that as I actually wind up completing things two weeks from now and all of my work will be over, then I will be able to step back and appreciate the hard work that I’ve done over the last four years,” Chalfin said.

The Rhode Island Alpha chapter has not yet determined how the formal initiation process for this semester will change in light of COVID-19 and the postponement of Commencement for the class of 2020 to next year, Rambuss wrote. 

“Whatever happens, I am very much looking forward to the day when the entire class of 2020 can come back to Brown’s campus and have a proper commencement ceremony and participate in the activities that we normally do during that week and weekend,” Chalfin said.

Those elected are as follows:

Jacob P. Alabab-Moser ’20 (former Herald Senior Staff Writer)

Alexander Alverson ’20

Suzanne Sophia Antoniou ’20

Zahra F. Asghar ’20

Harini Balakrishnan ’20

Paige Daniela Banks ’20

Aliosha Pittaka Bielenberg ’20

Aubrey Anne Calaway ’20

Harry S. Chalfin ’20

Benjamin Patrick Chiacchia ’20

Bu Geun Cho ’20

William Douglas Colwell ’20

Elana Rae Confino-Pinzon ’20

Nicholas Selfridge Conroy ’20

Rachel Amelia Danner ’20

Julian Benedikt DeGeorgia ’20

Noah C. Duncan ’20

Maria Yuvati Eyzaguirre ’20

James M. Feinberg ’20

Gabrielle Maria Ferra ’20

Jared M. Finn ’20

Morgan Yeager Florsheim ’20

Michael Grant Flynn ’20

Kyra Rose Foose ’20

Leah Rose Goldman ’20

Alec Jacob Goldstone ’20

Jonathan L. Gomez ’20

Liam Rayne Greenwell ’20

Connor Gregory ’20

Xingjian Gu ’20

Galen Popolow Hall ’20 (Herald Staff Columnist)

Alexander Kent Harrison ’20

Anna Kathryn Hunt ’20

Rohan Dev Jha ’20

Xiaoyu Jiang ’20

Olivia Sophia Kan-Sperling ’20

Aaron Robert Keeling ’20

Evan Thomas Kindler ’20

Hugh Klein ’20

Zoe Alexandra Koss ’20

James Calvé Kunhardt ’20

Sophie Rae Kupetz ’20

Daniel Louis Kushner ’20

Sofia Nicole La Porta Drago ’20

Victoria Robinson Lansing ’20

Anna Zane Lehman-Ludwig ’20

Weng Yin Isaac Leong ’20

David Dugery Liu ’20

Nathan Chaim Mainster ’20

Jackson Forcier Markey ’20

John Pierre Mayer ’20

Cameron Michael McCartin ’20

Grace Frances McCleary ’20

Claire A. McEwen ’20

Brianna Rose McFadden ’20

John Leeman Metz ’20

Eric Andrew Mischell ’20

Noah Byck Mlyn ’20

Ethan M. Morelion ’20

Aneeqah H. Naeem ’20

John David O’Donnell ’20

Samuel Brown Oliphant ’20

Samuel William Orenstein ’20

Huayu Lulu Ouyang ’20

Christopher Bishop Packs ’20

Jack Brendan Patterson ’20

Ananya Poddar ’20

Sokret Pond ’20

Alexander Kamran Rafatjoo ’20

Blaise C. Rebman ’20

Christina Monique Reed ’20

Emily Lai Rehmet ’20

Bennett Harry Reisner ’20

Jeremy Chung Hoon Rhee ’20

Chloe Anna Joelle Rosenberg ’20

Ella Scholz ’20

Verda Seneor ’20

Calista Shang ’20

Isabel LeMaster Shaw ’20

Anita X. Sheih ’20 (former Herald Senior Editor)

Jonah David Shrock ’20

Shoshana Gayle Simons ’20

Dhruv Singh ’20

Catherine Callahan Steele ’20

Daniel Joseph Steinfeld ’20

Kelley Reesman Tackett ’20 (former Herald Copy Desk Chief)

James Augustine Tango ’20

Jim A. Thompson ’20

Yuan Tian ’20

Galen Tiong ’20

Harriet Louise Tisch ’20

Jenna Lauren Tishler ’20

Jason Charles Togut ’20

Shayna Tien Hsia Toh ’20

Kelsey Rose Turner ’20

Hayley Alexandra Uno ’20

Theodore Aubrey Vial ’20

Joshua Fine Waldman ’20

Sarah Sue Wang ’20 (former Herald Senior Editor)

David Aaron Wingate ’20

Kelvin Wong ’20

Julian Woo ’20

Murong Xu ’20

Xinyue Xu ’20

Ruitian Yan ’20

Amber Yildizel ’20

Glenn Yu ’20

Carmen Emily Zegura ’20

Hanzhang Zhao ’20

Jie Zhou ’20

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