Phi Beta Kappa Announces 'Senior 48' for the Class of 2014

The names of the 48 seniors elected to Harvard’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa this semester were announced on Friday by Jeffrey Berg, assistant director of the Harvard College Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

This election cycle marked the second opportunity for members of the Class of 2014 to join the prestigious honor society.

In April, a group of two dozen students, then juniors, were named as this year’s Phi Beta Kappa “Junior 24.” A third group of likely 96 seniors will be chosen this coming spring.

“I think there are a lot of people who probably deserve it a lot more than I, but obviously it’s a great honor, and I was very excited,” said David A. Levary, an applied mathematics concentrator in Cabot.

Eliot House resident and East Asian Studies concentrator Midori Takasaki said she was in disbelief when she heard that she had been chosen.

“It didn’t seem real when I got the email,” Takasaki said.

Adams and Lowell had the most seniors elected this semester with eight apiece, while Pforzheimer, Dunster, and Dudley had the least with one student each. Six of the selected students concentrate in applied math, the most common concentration in this year’s group. In contrast, social studies was the most popular concentration in the first round this past spring, with five of the 24 students concentrating in that subject.

While seniors are selected primarily based on their grades, the committee also considers the difficulty and diversity of courses taken. In addition to their transcript, candidates submitted a letter of recommendation from a professor.

Barry J. H. Tng, a mathematics concentrator in Currier, said that although the committee’s decision process is somewhat unclear, he thinks that the range of classes he has taken outside of his concentration may have helped him stand out as a candidate.

Takasaki, who said she considered as many as 10 different concentrations before settling on East Asian Studies, also said that diversity in her coursework may have pushed her ahead.

“I think I’ve always had a lot of different academic interests, and I think I still do just genuinely like learning about different academic subjects,” she said.

Several members of the most recent group of seniors selected to join Phi Beta Kappa said that younger students should choose courses based on their content rather than on their workload.

“I think you should just work hard and study what you’re interested in, and good things will come if you’re excited about what you’re learning,” Levary said.

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.

A complete list of the members of the Class of 2014 elected to the ‘Senior 48’ is below:

Leslie B. Arffa, History
Marc F. Shi, Neurobiology
Nina Sokolovic, Neurobiology
Connie S. Zhong, Neurobiology
Jamie J. Ashton, Social Studies
Charlotte Chang, Psychology
Shelby Lin, Applied Mathematics
Kavya Shankar, Economics

Laura M. Hogikyan, Classics
Min J. Lee, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
David A. Levary, Applied Mathematics

Barry J. H. Tng, Mathematics
Kevin B. Hirata, Government
Eric Westphal, Economics
Xiaojing Yang, Psychology

Cassandra E. Euphrat Weston, Literature

Akhil Mathew, Mathematics

Victoria A. Baena, History and Literature
Midori Takasaki, East Asian Studies
Katrina A. Williamson, Engineering Sciences
Toan D. Phan, Applied Mathematics

Samantha A. Berstler, English
Rumur J. H. Dowling, English
Scott S. Yu, Statistics
Eric Y. H. Chung, Government

Elizabeth H. Byrne, Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
Sylvia M. Warren, Statistics
Kyle J. Kost, Applied Mathematics
Judy Park, Social Studies
Aaron E. Watanabe, Government

Miriam R. Farkas, Linguistics
Yale W. Fan, Physics
Isabel M. Vogt, Mathematics
Matthew A. Wagner, Engineering Sciences
David G. Miller, Social Studies
Friederike Reuter, Economics
Benjamin M. Scuderi, Applied Mathematics
Beatrice A. Walton, Government

Julie C. Yen, History
Ian C. Boothby, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Sherrie Wang, Biomedical Engineering

Bliss F. Leonard, Social Studies

Levent Alpoge, Mathematics
Kenny Yu, Computer Science

Michael F. Cotter, History
Kevin Sun, English
Katryna Cadle, Anthropology
Janet J. Lu, Applied Mathematics

Note: Arffa, Baena, Scuderi, Cotter, and Sun are Crimson editors.


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