Phi Beta Kappa Elects 48 Seniors to Society

In the second of three selection rounds, 48 members of the Class of 2003 were tapped to be inducted to Harvard’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

The chapter first elects 24 juniors, then 48 seniors in the autumn of senior year. In the spring of senior year, enough seniors are elected so that up to 10 percent of the graduating class earns membership.

Alpha Iota of Massachusetts—the official name of Harvard’s chapter—is the society’s oldest national chapter.

Although grades play an integral role in the process, much weight is placed on extracurriculars and breadth in the choice of classes.

“They prefer a student who does well on a variety of subjects to a student with all As in only one subject,” said Alpha Iota Chapter Secretary J. F. Coakley ’68.

“It wasn’t really something I was expecting but I was definitely pleased to receive it,” said new member John S. Chorba ’03, a chemistry major who is one of the directors of Habitat for Humanity and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

But the honor comes with a price tag.

“I received a letter telling me I was selected. My first reaction was that I was kind of annoyed that they were asking me to pay a $50 fee.” said Bernd H. J. Beber ’03, a government concentrator. “It’s supposed to be a good thing and then they ask you for money?”

The numbers of people elected each time is proportional to the number of people concentrating in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

In this installment, 24 are social sciences concentrators, 10 are humanities and 14 are natural sciences.

In narrowing down to 48 students, the registrar’s office produces a list of 96 students, from which the society selects half.

“These people are told that they are eligible and they get two references from faculty members preferably and sign a statement that says they don’t mind if their transcripts are looked at by a committee of senior faculty members and students who are already in,” Coakley said.

The seniors selected are:

• From Adams House: Gregory R. Blank ’03, Chorba, Tanner T. Fahl ’03, Brandon T. Fail ’03, Barat Samy ’03 and Rachel V. Zabarkes ’03.

• From Currier House: Amy R. Davis ’03, Ceridwen Dovey ’03, Joseph A. Hearn ’03, Mitul B. Kadakia ’03, Hayang S. Kim 03 and David Y. Xiao ’03.

• From Dunster House: Beber, Jeffries L. Oliver-Li ’03, Melis Sancaktar ’03 and Rachel S. Weinerman ’03.