The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS) has announced that 38 MIT undergraduate sophomores and juniors have been named as the 2021 Burchard Scholars.
Candidates for the Burchard program are nominated by their professors and selection is competitive. All students chosen for the program have demonstrated excellence and engagement in the humanistic fields, but can be majoring in science, design, and engineering fields as well as in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
With the Institute planning a return to campus operations in the fall, the 2021 Burchard Scholars will once again be able to engage in the program’s distinctive dinner series. At each evening, a distinguished faculty member gives a presentation on leading research, after which the scholars, joined at small table groups by several MIT faculty members, discuss the ideas over an elegant dinner. During the course of the calendar year, the scholars also attend several cultural events in the Boston metropolitan area.
Honing the art of discussion
The Burchard Scholars program is designed to provide promising students a challenging and friendly arena in which to hone skills for expressing, critiquing, and debating ideas with peers and mentors. In the course of their conversations, the scholars develop respectful, adaptable approaches to engaging in complex intellectual discussions.
Speakers at previous seminar events have included Institute Professor Daron Acemoglu, an economist, discussing artificial intelligence and the future of work; Kenda Mutongi, professor of history, reflecting on law in post-colonial Kenya; and Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science, speaking on nuclear security issues. The Burchard cultural events and field trips have included premieres at the Boston Lyric Opera, a post-concert backstage visit with cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and a visit to a newly acquired photography collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Enthusiasm and aptitude
It is perhaps no surprise that a high percentage of the MIT students who receive Rhodes, Marshall, and other major scholarships and fellowships are former Burchard Scholars.
“These students are an extraordinary group of MIT undergraduates," says Margery Resnick, associate professor of literature and director of the Burchard program. “They are thoughtful, smart, and enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss a wide range of ideas with faculty and fellow students.”
2021 Burchard Scholars and their fields of study:
Hillary Diane Andales, sophomore in physics
Gabriella Aponte, sophomore in chemistry and biology
Prosser Cathey, junior in mathematical economics and political science
Alana Chandler, junior in materials science and engineering
Curtis Chen, sophomore in computation and cognition
Laura Chen, junior in biological engineering
Maggie Chen, junior in brain and cognitive sciences
Claire Cheng, junior in computer science and engineering and in music and theater arts
Zachary Chin, junior in chemistry and in electrical engineering and computer science
Pedro Colon, sophomore in chemistry and in biology
Ryan Conti, sophomore in mathematics
Amelia Dogan, sophomore in urban science and planning and in computer science and humanities: American studies
Rujul Gandhi, junior in linguistics and philosophy and in electrical engineering and computer science
Swapnil Garg, junior in mathematics
Malik George, junior in biological engineering
Miles George, junior in biological engineering
Stacy Godfreey-Igwe, junior in engineering and in humanities: Africa and African diaspora studies
Ananya Gurumurthy, sophomore in economics
Emily Huang, junior in electrical engineering and computer science and in political science
Ibuki Iwasaki, junior in art and design
Sahithi Madireddy, sophomore in biology
Isha Mehrotra, junior in chemistry and biology
Naomi Michael, junior in mechanical engineering
Karna Morey, junior in physics
Rajiv Movva, junior in computer science and engineering
Atharv Oak, sophomore in computer science and molecular biology
Vaishnavi Phadnis, junior in biology
David Spicer, sophomore in political science and in philosophy
Peter Tone, junior in theater arts and in computer science and engineering
Kathryn Tso, junior in materials science and engineering and in history
Max Williamson, junior in computer science and engineering
Kelly Wu, junior in chemical engineering
Westley Wu, sophomore in chemistry and biology
Megan Xu, junior in biological engineering
Jeffery Yu, junior in mathematics and in physics
Daniel Zhang, junior in biology
Diane Zhang, sophomore in computer science and molecular biology
Julian Zulueta, sophomore in biological engineering