34 Men, 11 Women Make Phi Beta Kappa

Election Is First Since Merger

In the first election since the Harvard and Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa chapters were merged, 11 female and 34 male seniors were elected.

Before the merging of the two committees this July, the Alpha and Iota Chapters were each separately allowed to elect up to twenty-four students, so the gender break-down was usually about even.

But a list of the names released Wednesday by the newly formed Alpha Iota Chapter revealed the discrepancy, which shocked some students.

"I'm surprised I definitely don't have that impression that the student body is made up that way," Piyra Aiyar '96 said.

Professor of English and Comparative Literature James Engell, the president of the Alpha Iota Chapter, downplayed the importance of any gender gaps at this stage of the elections, arguing that the male female ratio that really counts is the final ratio that comes after the third election.

The Alpha-Iota Chapter, made up of faculty and students, elects seniors for Phi Beta Kappa according to grade point average as well as other considerations.


There are three rounds of elections for each class, one in the spring of the junior year, one in the fall of the senior year and one in late spring for graduating seniors.

This is the second round of Phi Beta Kappa elections for the Class of 1996.

"GPA is used as a rough indicator, but letters of recommendation are also considered," Engell said.

At the end of the three elections for a certain class approximately 10 percent of the class is elected.

The committee considered 96 applications for as many as 48 spots.

Regardless of the gender breakdown, students said they were honored to be elected.

"I'm ecstatic. It's definitely an honor because I know a lot of my classmates elected Phi Beta Kappa last year and it's been quite an honor to be associated with them," said Peter S. Cahn '96, who is also a Senior Class Marshall.

Others were not as elated.

"[It is] not an earth shaking event," said Manjul Bhargava '96. "We feel like we're paying $40 for the honor," he said, referring to the charge that comes with joining Phi Beta Kappa.

The students elected are Meredith Alexander, Michael I. Gordin and Chimene I. Keitner from Adams; Kyung-Hwa Rhee, Antonio Rodriguez, Jun S. Song, Hisayo M. Suzuki, and Kristen VanAmberg from Cabot; Peter S. Cahn, Bert I. Huang, and Mark Wu from Currier; Natan J. Leyva from Dudley; Bryan M. Hooks and Jessica E. Nord from Dunster; Gregory M. Ku, Joshua M. Sabloff, and Elizabeth A. Urban from Eliot; Thaddeus B. Kousser and Patrick I. Purdon from Kirkland; John D. Heller and Eugenia Lao from Leverett; Swaine L. Chen, Steven A. Engel, and Michael J. Puri from Lowell; Jill A. Corcoran, Anne O. Decker, and Michael I. Schwartz from Mather; Emerson H. Liu, Sanjay Shetty, and Canh P. Vu from Pforzheimer; Barak Ben Gal, Manjul Bhargava, Kiran S. Kedlaya, Lenhard Lee Ng, Thinh Huy Nguyen, Adib R. Pasha, Adam Kempton Webb, Timothy P. Yu, and Noah T. Zinkin from Quincy; Steven W. Hetts, Brian D. Koh, David B. Lat, and Elizabeth J. Riemer from Winthrop.

The student totals for each of the houses are nine for Quincy, five from Cabot, tour from Winthrop, three for Adams, three from Currier, three from Eliot, three from Lowell, three from Mather, three from Pforzeimer, two from Dunster, two from Kirkland, two from Leverett, and one from Dudley