15 Students with 93 Percent GPAs Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Fifteen seniors joined Phi Beta Kappa honor society on Dec. 5. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Fifteen seniors joined Phi Beta Kappa honor society on Dec. 5. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Fifteen students from the Class of 2013 were elected to early-decision membership in Phi Beta Kappa during an initiation ceremony Dec. 5. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest surviving Greek letter society in America, dating back to 1776.

Sociology major Evan Okun accepts his Phi Beta Kappa papers from Class Dean Louise Brown, PBK chapter secretary and marshall. Okun teaches a class at the juvenile detention in Middletown, which examines literary technique and societal inequality through rap songs.

Sociology major Evan Okun ’13 accepts his Phi Beta Kappa membership papers from Dean Louise Brown, PBK chapter secretary and marshall. Okun teaches a class at the juvenile detention in Middletown, which examines literary technique and societal inequality through rap songs.

The organization’s Greek initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by his or her major department. He or she also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and have achieved a grade-point average of 93 percent. Members of the Fall 2012 class all have GPAs of 94.48 percent or above.

Sally Bachner, president of the Connecticut Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and associate professor of English, said for students elected in the fall, it is an especially exacting selection process and the election is an extremely prestigious one, because admittance is based on a student’s performance at Wesleyan only through their junior year.

“The students gathered here today represent a broad range of learning and commitment to excellence in a major, in some cases two or more majors, or a major that combines several disciplines,” she said, during the initiation ceremony. “These new members’ accomplishments during their years at Wesleyan should be a source of pride to themselves and to their families.”

Bachner was joined by the chapter’s vice president Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology; chapter treasurer Steven Horst, chair and professor of philosophy; chapter secretary and marshall Louise Brown, dean for academic advancement/dean for the Class of 2013; and chapter historian Lorna Scott, assistant to the vice president for student affairs.

The elected students and their majors are:

Benjamin Abravanel, English and psychology; Evan Baum, chemistry; Julianne Edwards, biology, molecular biology and biochemistry, Science In Society; Scott Greene, chemistry; Katherine Marcus, neuroscience and behavior; Evan Okun, sociology; Hannah Reuman, neuroscience and behavior; Brenna Windsor Sansom, economics, mathematics; Nathan Shane, music; Gavin Wei Ming Swee, East Asian studies, history; Rebecca Vaadia, biology, neuroscience and behavior; Mary Vallo, English, neuroscience and behavior; Ging-ji Nathan Wang, chemistry; Alex Wilkinson, English; and Kaitlin Zelman, biology, molecular biology and biochemistry, neuroscience and behavior.

PBK's initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

PBK’s initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

The students gathered here today represent a broad range of learning and commitment to excellence in a major, in some cases two or more majors, or a major that combines several disciplines,” Bachner said. “These new members’ accomplishments during their years at Wesleyan should be a source of pride to themselves and to their families.”

Photos of the initiation ceremony are below:

English major Alex Wilkinson '13 pursued and fulfilled the requirements for the Writing Certificate. He is currently working on a critical English thesis that examines how Faulkner's characters mediate their own personal histories through a communally inherited Southern past. He served for three semesters as a writing tutor, and is currently an executive editor of The Argus, and Editor-in-Chief of The Argus Magazine.

English major Alex Wilkinson ’13 pursued and fulfilled the requirements for the Writing Certificate. He is currently working on a critical English thesis that examines how Faulkner’s characters mediate their own personal histories through a communally inherited Southern past. He served for three semesters as a writing tutor, and is currently an executive editor of The Argus, and Editor-in-Chief of The Argus Magazine.

Chemistry major Nathan Wang '13 is a Freeman Asian Scholar from Hong Kong.  He is writing a thesis on the synthesis of mechanically-interlocked polymers. He plans to attend graduate school for materials chemistry.

Chemistry major Nathan Wang ’13 is a Freeman Asian Scholar from Hong Kong. He is writing a thesis on the synthesis of mechanically-interlocked polymers. He plans to attend graduate school for materials chemistry.

English and neuroscience and behavior double major Mary Vallo '13, seated in center, studies translation initiation in yeast, and last year she worked on a project that investigated a stem cell treatment for epilepsy. She volunteers with Wesleyan Science Outreach and is working as a course assistant for an introductory biology class.

English and neuroscience and behavior double major Mary Vallo ’13, seated in center, studies translation initiation in yeast, and last year she worked on a project that investigated a stem cell treatment for epilepsy. She volunteers with Wesleyan Science Outreach and is working as a course assistant for an introductory biology class.

East Asian studies and history double major Gavin Swee '13 is a Freeman Asian Scholar from Singapore.  He is writing a senior thesis on Singaporean Chinese Orchestra Conductor Tay Teow Kiat, which explores issues in Chinese identity, diaspora, as well as Chinese and Singapore history and society. Swee hopes to teach history and English literature in Singapore.

East Asian studies and history double major Gavin Swee ’13 is a Freeman Asian Scholar from Singapore. He is writing a senior thesis on Singaporean Chinese Orchestra Conductor Tay Teow Kiat, which explores issues in Chinese identity, diaspora, as well as Chinese and Singapore history and society. Swee hopes to teach history and English literature in Singapore.

Neuroscience and behavior major Hannah Reuman '13 is writing a senior thesis on the effects of a ketogenic diet on a mouse model of autism.  After graduation, Hannah hopes to further develop her clinical research skills before applying to physician assistant programs. Aside from academics, she is co-coordinator of the WesReads/WesMath tutoring program, which partners with two elementary schools to provide mathematics, reading and writing enrichment.

Neuroscience and behavior major Hannah Reuman ’13 is writing a senior thesis on the effects of a ketogenic diet on a mouse model of autism. After graduation, Hannah hopes to further develop her clinical research skills before applying to physician assistant programs. Aside from academics, she is co-coordinator of the WesReads/WesMath tutoring program, which partners with two elementary schools to provide mathematics, reading and writing enrichment.

Music major Nathan Shane '13 studied a wide variety of music at Wesleyan including Georgian and Bulgarian choral polyphony, South Indian singing, Balinese and Javanese Gamelan and Sacred Harp. His Wesleyan thesis argues that classical music educators should teach improvisation.

Music major Nathan Shane ’13 studied a wide variety of music at Wesleyan including Georgian and Bulgarian choral polyphony, South Indian singing, Balinese and Javanese Gamelan and Sacred Harp. His Wesleyan thesis argues that classical music educators should teach improvisation.