The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has named 35 exceptional MIT undergraduates as Burchard Scholars for 2016. The award honors sophomores and juniors who demonstrate academic excellence in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as in science and engineering.
Burchard Scholars can come from any school or department of the Institute, and this year’s honorees major and minor in a range of disciplines, including civil engineering, literature, chemistry, political science, electrical engineering, music, physics, mathematics, biology, media studies, and economics.
"What binds the group together," says Margery Resnick, professor of literature and director of the Burchard program, "is a powerful curiosity about ideas. The Burchard scholars are some of MIT’s liveliest undergraduates,” she adds. “Selection is extremely competitive, and the students chosen are unafraid to wrestle with new ideas.”
Ideas, leadership, and dinner seminars
Named in honor of the school's first dean, John Ely Burchard, the Burchard Scholars Program brings undergraduates together with distinguished members of the faculty for a series of eight dinner seminars that reflect the range of research in the school. Past gatherings have featured talks on: how American social policies really work; the politics of aid to Haitian trauma survivors; what philosophy tells us about how to make big decisions; U.S. grand strategy in foreign policy; and the art of discovery.
“The Burchard dinners are, for faculty and students alike, an oasis in our busy lives,” Resnick notes. “I look forward to every dinner as the powerful ideas generated by our faculty are reflected upon, challenged, and enjoyed by this wonderful group.”
The arts of intellectual give-and-take and leadership
The Burchard gatherings are famous not only for presenting leading-edge research, but for building a warm, supportive community, and giving students experience in the arts of intellectual give-and-take and leadership — skills students value for success in every field.
“Engaging and engaged are defining characteristics of MIT's Burchard Scholars,” Resnick says, noting that many past winners have gone on to receive other distinguished honors, including Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman scholarships and fellowships.
Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, will congratulate the new class of Burchard Scholars at a reception to be held in their honor in February.
The Burchard Scholars for 2016 are:
Wajeeha Ahmad '17, mathematics with a minor in applied international studies
Alaisha Alexander '18, mechanical engineering
Emmanuel Azuh '18, electrical engineering and computer science
Mary Clare Beytagh '18, biology
Archis Bhandarkar '18, biological engineering
Kevin Castro '17, aeronautics and astronautics
Lilly Chin '17, electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in mechanical engineering
Thomas Cowan '17, mechanical engineering
Teresa de Figueiredo '17, materials science and engineering
David Dellal '17, mechanical engineering with a minor in French
Keeley Erhardt '17, electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in applied international studies
Daniela Ganelin '18, mathematics
Aaron Hammond '17, electrical engineering and computer science and literature
Lisa Ho '17, electrical engineering and computer science
Lisa Kong '18, materials science and engineering
Jing Li '17, economics and mathematics
Sophia Liu '17, chemical engineering and biology
Everett Malone '17, comparative media studies and literature
Nicholas Matthews '17, electrical engineering and computer science and literature
Katherine Nazemi '17, political science and mathematics
Paige Omura '17, chemical engineering with a minor in anthropology
Valerie Peng '17, mechanical engineering
Claire Robinson '18, mechanical engineering
James Rowan '17, mathematics
Alyssa Smith '17, humanities and engineering
Stephen Tang '17, chemistry
Sophia Tigges '18, earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences
Dana Vigue '17, biology
Hallie Voulgaris '17, mathematics with a minor in music
Katherine Weishaar '18, architecture
Sarah Wharton '17, brain and cognitive sciences
Emily Widder '17, aeronautics and astronautics
Tiffany Yeh '17, materials science and engineering
Austen Yueh '17, electrical engineering and computer science
Olivia Zhao '18, economics
Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Director: Emily Hiestand
Communications Associate: Daniel Pritchard