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Phi Beta Kappa Names Juniors

National Honor Society Accepts 24 Members of the Class of 2011

By Eric P. Newcomer, Crimson Staff Writer

The Class of 2011’s “Junior 24”—the first 24 members of the Class to be elected to Harvard’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa—were announced yesterday.

A selection committee for Harvard’s branch of the national honor society reviewed undergraduates’ grade point averages and then invited high-ranking students to apply for induction. The application includes two letters of recommendation from students’ professors.

The new inductees represent a range of Houses and concentrations. Six of the students reside in Winthrop House, three study Social Studies, and three others concentrate in Economics.

While none of the students interviewed for this story were willing to reveal their GPA, the group contains some of Harvard’s most studious and academically motivated undergraduates.

“When I was growing up, as a kid, my dad...always encouraged me to get 100s in high school,” Christopher W. Higgins ’11 said.

Another inductee, Sophie Cai ’11, a chemical and physical biology concentrator, will spend her summer researching retinal regeneration, which she has been doing since her freshman year.

New inductees articulated slightly different philosophies that they said contributed to their earning of the recognition.

“I find it very difficult to sit in a class and not know what’s going on to a very deep extent,” said Jerry L. Kung ’11, an applied mathematics concentrator. “I try to take classes that interest me. I think that’s the major reason I’ve been able to motivate myself.”

Kung’s brother, John K. Lai ’05, was also elected as a member of the Junior 24 when he was at Harvard.

Lila G. Brown ’11, an environmental science and public policy concentrator, said that while she was excited about the honor—she said she called her mother—in the end, the academic distinction has a limited value.

“My perspective is—this might be a little meta—it’s just a label,” Brown said. “It’s really exciting. But it means very little about who I am as a person.”

Every year, 24 students are inducted into the society in the second semester of their junior year. Forty-eight more are chosen in November of their senior year, and about 90 more are elected just before graduation.

The twenty-four students named Phi Beta Kappa yesterday are Nicholas O. Bodnar, Lila G. Brown, Sophie Cai, Edith Y. Chan, Marco Chan, Ama R. Francis, Anne L. Goetz, Nell S. Hawley, Meng Xiao He, Taylor J. Helgren, Christopher W. Higgins, Darius S. Imregun, Sundeep S. Iyer, Eli J. Jacobs, Alexander S. Karadjian, Jerry L. Kung, Iya Megre, Arjun R. Ramamurti, Marsha Sukach, Pramod Thammaiah, Arnav Tripathy, Rui Wang, Allen Yang, and Helen H. Yang.

—Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at

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