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2008 Burchard scholars selected

Twenty-six sophomores and juniors have been selected as Burchard scholars in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences for 2008.

The awards, named after the school's first dean, John Ely Burchard, are given to students who demonstrate unusual abilities and academic excellence in the areas embraced by the school. According to Dean Deborah Fitzgerald, overseer of the Burchard Program, the students selected in the 22nd year of competition for the awards "are from exciting and diverse backgrounds and are a remarkable group of gifted young scholars."

The Burchard scholars and a rotating group of faculty will be invited to a series of dinners, beginning in February, at which an MIT faculty member or visiting scholar will present work in progress, followed by a discussion. This will allow students and faculty members to mix and will give students, especially, an opportunity to engage in the kind of intellectual exchange that characterizes scholarship in the humanities, arts and social sciences. The emphasis throughout the program will be interdisciplinary.

The selection committee consisted of Margery Resnick, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures; Rebecca Faery, director of first-year writing, writing and humanistic studies; Wyn Kelley, senior lecturer of literature; Thomas Levenson, professor of writing and humanistic studies; Jane Dunphy, director of ELS, foreign languages and literatures; Michael Ouellette, senior lecturer of music and theater arts; Janet Sonenberg, professor of music and theater arts; and Dean Fitzgerald as chair.

This year's Burchard scholars are as follows:

  • Alona Birjiniuk (junior, chemical-biological engineering)
  • Tewfik Cassis (sophomore, management science)
  • Stephanie Chan (sophomore, brain and cognitive sciences and physics)
  • Matthew Cohen (sophomore, brain and cognitive sciences)
  • Jean Cui (junior, humanities and engineering)
  • Mihai Duduta (sophomore, materials science and engineering)
  • Bronwyn Edwards (junior, nuclear science and engineering)
  • Erin Fitzgerald (junior, biology)
  • Matthew Gethers (junior, biological engineering)
  • William Gibson (sophomore, biological engineering and philosophy)
  • Emily Ho (junior, biology)
  • Samuel Hollander (junior, civil engineering and history)
  • Yi Huang (junior, biology)
  • Seo Hyung Kim (sophomore, mathematics)
  • Akira Kobayashi (sophomore, electrical engineering and computer science)
  • Courtney Lane (junior, biological engineering)
  • Carmel Mercado (junior, biology)
  • Benjamin Park (sophomore, physics)
  • Adam Paxson (junior, mechanical engineering)
  • Niyatee Samudra (sophomore, brain and cognitive sciences and physics)
  • Matthew Serna (junior, brain and cognitive sciences)
  • Allison St. Vincent (junior, environmental engineering)
  • Gabriel Torres (junior, electrical science and engineering)
  • Veena Venkatachalam (junior, chemistry and physics)
  • Xiaowen Zhang (junior, management science and mathematics)

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 6, 2008 (download PDF).

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