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Harvard’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Alpha Iota, announced the election of 24 members of the Class of 2002 to its ranks last week.
The elite “Junior 24” are elected each spring by a committee of current Harvard chapter members, including members of the faculty and previously elected students. Two more groups of students will be elected from the Class of 2002 next year.
Albert H. Cho ’02, a Social Studies concentrator in Adams House, said he was surprised and honored to be elected to the society.
“I’d read about it before,” he said, “but I never thought that I’d be a member.”
Other newly elected members to the society were unfamiliar with the organization before being elected, but said they were still very pleased.
Abigail G. Doyle ’02 said she knew almost nothing about Phi Beta Kappa prior to her election, though both her parents are members.
“It’s just something that they said, oh yeah, we were in that too,” said Doyle, a chemistry concentrator in Kirkland House. “It was definitely an honor.”
Initial nomination for election to the society is based entirely on grade point average.
“We receive from the registrar the people who have the very highest GPAs in the College,” said chapter vice president Diana L. Eck, a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies.
Qualifying students are then elected in the areas of the sciences, social sciences and humanities on the basis of academic transcripts and two letters of recommendation from faculty members.
Committee members look closely not only at faculty recommendations, but also at the breadth of a student’s academic program, and the difficulty of courses taken, said Eck, who is also the co-master of Lowell House.
“When you’re talking about the junior 24, everyone is up there in the14.68,” said Eck, in reference to Harvard’s 15-point grading scale. “In the case of our chapter we take great deal of care in having letters of recommendation from faculty, breadth of coursework taken...and the difficulty of courses.”
No interviews are required.
The newly elected members are Cho, David S. Freeman and Joyce C. Keck from Adams House, Ashley S. Evans, Andrew L. Lynn, Benjamin L. McKean and Sue K. Paik from Cabot House, Lauren E. Baer and Sarah E. Little from Dunster House, Adam C. Weiss from Eliot House, Doyle and Heather E. Boesch from Kirkland House, Dorothy A. Fortenberry, Jonathan A. Kelner and Esteban A. Real from Leverett House, Paven Malhotra from Lowell House, Emily Buck from Mather House, Michael Gerber, Jonathan M. Gribetz, Naamit M. Kurshan and Travis J. Schedler from Pforzheimer House, Stephen E. Sachs from Quincy House, and Ravi V. Shah and Ariel H. Simon from Winthrop House. Baer and Sachs are Crimson executives, and McKean is a Crimson editor.
Harvard President-elect Lawrence H. Summers has invited the newly selected members to a dinner this Sunday as part of his efforts to learn more about the Harvard community.
Schedler, a mathematics concentrator in Pforzheimer House, said he was excited to be meeting with Harvard’s new president.
“I don’t know that I’m ever going to get another chance to have dinner with Summers,” he said.
Established in 1781, the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest continuously operating chapter of the academic honors society in the country.
—Staff writer Camberley M. Crick can be reached at email@example.com.
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