15 Seniors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Olivia DrakeDecember 3, 20208min
phi beta kappa
Fifteen seniors were inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society on Dec. 2. Phi Beta Kappa means “love of learning is the guide of life.”

During a virtual ceremony on Dec. 2, 15 members of the Class of 2021 were inducted early decision into the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

The oldest scholastic honor society in the nation, Phi Beta Kappa at Wesleyan is limited to 12% of the graduating class each year.

Fall-semester election is based on grades through the end of a student’s junior year and fulfillment of the General Education expectations. The minimum grade point average for the fall election is 93, and students are nominated by their major departments.

“Your families, teachers, fellow students, and others at Wesleyan couldn’t be prouder,” Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 said during the initiation ceremony. “We’re delighted to recognize your achievements, even in this world of Zoom, and acknowledge your good work and your strong character. I am honored to be among those who honor you today. Thank you for your many contributions to Wesleyan, and congratulations on this extraordinary achievement.”

The students and their major(s) are below:

Jacob Barabas, College of Social Studies, economics
Kian Caplan, neuroscience and behavior, science in society
Julia Gyourko, history
Do Hyeok Jeon, mathematics and computer science, physics
Harrison Adam Karp, economics
Jake Kwon, biology, English
Jack Kwon, College of Integrative Sciences, molecular biology and biochemistry
Kate Luo, chemistry, neuroscience and behavior
Rosa Munson-Blatt, feminist, gender and sexuality studies, science in society
Sarah Bohlen Norden, science in society
Kellen O’Brien, physics
Eleanor Raab, government
Olivia Siegal, psychology, Russian, East European and Eurasian studies
Maya Vaishnaw, molecular biology and biochemistry, psychology
Hongjia Zhang, philosophy, physics

phi beta kappa
Olivia Siegal ’21 is a research assistant in the Cognitive Affective Personality Science Lab, and is currently conducting a study on the impact of emotion on memory for her senior thesis. On campus, Siegal also has served as a writing mentor and workshop tutor for the Writing Workshop. She enjoys 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature, writing short stories, and playing the guitar and ukulele.
Jake Kwon ’21 is a research assistant in Professor Laverne Melón’s lab, studying gendered differences in disorders associated with alcohol exposure, and is also a writing mentor. He’s passionate about engaging with the underserved, particularly the uninsured within the immigrant community.
Kellen James O'Brien is a physics major and data analysis minor. He is currently writing a thesis about the work he has done with Professor Sher's research group on charge carrier recombination in solar cell materials. After graduation, he hopes to continue his education in a physics PhD program. In his free time, he sings in a cappella groups and dances.
Kellen O’Brien ’21 is currently writing a thesis about the work he has done on charge carrier recombination in solar cell materials. After graduation, he hopes to continue his education in a physics PhD program. In his free time, he sings in multiple a cappella groups and dances.
This semester, Kate Luo ’21 is working as a teaching assistant for both organic chemistry and biochemistry. She is the financial manager of the Asian American Student Collective, coordinator of WesBAM, and enjoys playing the violin and teaching Zumba. She hopes to become a physician.
Jacob Barabas ’21 was a member of the Wesleyan Mock Trial Club and Boxing Club, and this semester he is the economics preceptor for the College of Social Studies and is enjoying a musical theater class. After Wesleyan, Barabas will work at Cornerstone Research, an economic consulting firm where he interned last summer.
Julia Gyourko ’21 is the tournament director for the Wesleyan Debate Society and hopes to pursue a career in law after graduation. She is a recipient of the Briggs Prize for excellence in intercollegiate debate and the Scott Prize for excellence in modern language. Next semester, she will complete an extended paper on the semiautonomous state of Carpatho-Ukraine.
Do Hyeok Jeon ’21 is a recipient of Wesleyan’s Freeman Asian Scholarship. He’s a member of the Wave Transport in Complex Systems Group, where he investigates scattering properties of a nonlinear photonic limiter under the guidance of Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics. He was invited as a plenary speaker in the National Collegiate Research Conference, and has been awarded the Karl Van Dyke Prize in Physics from Wesleyan for his academic performance.
Several Wesleyan faculty and staff, and families attended the virtual ceremony.
Several Wesleyan faculty and staff, families, and friends attended the virtual ceremony. Karen Collins, Edward Burr Van Vleck Professor of Mathematics and president of the Connecticut Gamma PBK Chapter, hosted the event.