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Phi Beta Kappa Selects New Members at UW

April 23, 2021

America's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), has selected 31 new members-in-course for the University of Wyoming chapter, based upon their demonstrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

“To be elected, a student needs to show a balanced liberal arts education that accords with the national stipulations, and which we verify by examining every candidate’s transcript in detail,” says Eric Nye, emeritus professor in the UW Department of English and chapter secretary. “It is the one distinction prospective employers and graduate schools are swift to notice.”

Nye says members cannot apply or be nominated to PBK, but are selected by faculty members in the chapter. Membership is limited to those in the top 10 percent of the graduating class, but Nye says PBK members at UW are typically in the top 3 to 4 percent. The UW chapter sponsors lectures, scholarships and other academic activities, and last November it celebrated the 80th anniversary of earning its charter.

The chapter normally holds a traditional induction ceremony for the new members, their families, friends and faculty, but it has been canceled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PBK selects new members every year from each of its 290 chapters nationwide. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. college graduates are chosen. Members have included 17 U.S. presidents and 42 Supreme Court justices. There are nearly 100 faculty and staff resident members in UW’s chapter, Alpha of Wyoming.

Because it is so unusual for students to be elected as juniors, the four juniors elected this year each will receive a $1,000 Louise A. Lee Johnson Memorial Scholarship. They are:

-- Chandra Frank, of Casper, who is studying statistics and Spanish.

-- Emi Glass, of Torrington, who is studying international studies.

-- Zoe Skoric, of McLean, Va., who is studying international studies.

-- Angela Zhu, of Laramie, who is studying zoology and physiology as well as environmental and systems science.

The 27 new senior PBK members at UW, listed by hometowns and majors, are:

Bellingham, Wash. -- Katrina Ivers, anthropology.

Buffalo -- Emmaline Velasquez, history.

Casper -- Hanna Hall, English; Brianna Hunter, elementary education and Spanish; and Morgan Walsh, philosophy.

Cheyenne -- Shannon Gallion, French and Spanish; Corey Gonzales, international studies; Liam Guille, molecular biology and physiology; Samantha Jurkowski, psychology; and Sarah Weidler, geography.

Fort Collins, Colo. -- Nathan Wise, political science.

Fremont, Neb. -- Addison Gloeb, English.

Gillette -- Jessica Brennan, art; and Tiffany Killpack, Spanish and marketing.

Green River -- Katelyn Moorman, English.

Greybull -- Shayne Mazur, English.

Jackson -- Kylie Anderson, political science; Elizabeth Chambers, sociology and communication; and Riley Liljestrom, English and art history.

Lakewood, Colo. -- Nicole Fanning, English and history.

Lander -- Madison Pantuso, art education and Spanish.

Laramie -- Olivia Dorrell, English; Paul Gonzales, physiology; Clemence Laffaille, environmental geology and geohydrology; and Lauren Regnell, zoology and physiology, and music performance.

Powell -- Nicole Sanders, psychology and international studies.

Wheatland -- Emily Wright, international studies.

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