Scholarship Recipients

The 2012 Scholarship recipients


Elizabeth (Liz) Boatman, UC Berkeley, Materials Science & Engineering
          (Reed Scholarship)

Liz is a materials scientist who is studying fossil bones. Her work is extraordinarily interdisciplinary, sitting between the lines of inquiry of the modern scientific and medical communities and the inquiries of paleontologists.
She researches the chemical and structural changes that occur within dinosaur compact bone as a result of fossilization. Careful analysis of the hierarchical structure of bone has the potential to elucidate critical elements of vertebrate evolutionary pathways. Further, developing methods for characterizing fossil bones and interpreting the consequences of fossilization has the potential to provide the engineering community with an entirely new expanse of unique, functionally optimized bone tissues that may provide critical insight for bio-inspired fabrication of high-strength, high-toughness composite materials.

But she has not confined herself to the lab; she has led a five-week project-based research curriculum with high school students and has given homework help for elementary-school children at a local women's shelter. She was also elected by the Graduate Assembly as the student representative to the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, where she votes side by side with deans and faculty on student-related issues and policies.

Samuel Bockenhauer, Stanford, Physics

Sam's bachelor's degree from Wisconsin included a double major in physics and English literature, for which he earned the highest possible distinction of comprehensive honors. Fascinated by science throughout his life, he is working on his Ph.D. in physics at Stanford.
Sam is examining G Protein-Coupled Receptors, whose sensitivity makes them critical drug targets for a host of human ailments, ranging from heart disease and diabetes to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. GPCRs are dynamic, complex actors, not simple on-off switches. Therefore it is important that he is watching them in real time through the ABEL trap.

He has also made important contributions to a large effort at Stanford to improve the pedagogy in introductory physics courses, has worked building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and played first violin in the University of Bristol chamber orchestra and in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Symphony Orchestra.

His professors note that he has "a high level of creativity and new ideas" and a "corresponding gift for communicating his work."


Jocelyn Chin, Stanford, Medicine

Jocelyn is investigating how to make heart transplants safer in the long term for patients and in developing preventive therapies for aortic root aneurysm and novel non-invasive imaging technologies. The work promises to revolutionize how we care for patients with Marfan syndrome and other aneurismal diseases. In one of her research projects, she found that the commonly used diabetes drug Metformin could potentially have a new use in making heart transplants safer for patients. Her engineering background has given her an understanding of cutting-edge technology, allowing her to translate advances in engineering to patient care.

Using Mandarin and Spanish, Jocelyn has been able to speak to many immigrants at the free clinics where she volunteers about the importance of getting early testing for cancer and receiving life-saving vaccines. She has also been creating networks and partnerships with faculty and students from the Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, UC Davis, and UCLA to increase awareness of lifestyle medicine at top medical institutions.

Her letters of recommendation note that she is an "intelligent, motivated, and charismatic individual, mature and confident without being arrogant. . . . She also has an excellent sense of humor."


Brooke Gardner, UC San Francisco, Molecular Biology

Brooke is working on her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at UCSF. Her research focuses on unfolded proteins. Its primary goal is to understand how a particular unfolded protein response (UPR) sensor protein, Ire1, is activated in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and to use this knowledge to identify small molecule modulators of the UPR that could have therapeutic value for treating such diseases as cancer, inherited forms of diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus far, her work has elucidated a novel mechanism for Ire1 activation by direct binding to misfolded proteins. She hopes/expects that the research will facilitate studies of the UPR's role in those diseases and potentially found a new class of pharmaceuticals designed to modulate the UPR pathway.

Her personal goal, as she wrote in her application, is "to bring science within everyone's reach. Science is not elitist; it is an approach and an exploration, and it can be done by anyone." Consequently, Brooke has worked to make science accessible by participating in community outreach programs. The classes she taught in the Science and Health Education Partnership program (UCSF and San Francisco School District) "not only improved the clarity of my teaching and thinking, but also allowed me to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with two third-grade classes that normally wouldn't have a chance to see cells through a microscope, set up a chemical reaction, or extract DNA from strawberries. . . . I look forward to helping create a world where everyone sees him or herself as a scientist."

Her professors note that she is "bright, curious, thoughtful, and perceptive, allowing her to zero in on the key questions and ignore the peripheral issues and details that distract so many students." She has made "truly remarkable discoveries . . . as a student." Her efforts illustrate the "two great strengths of Brooke as a scientist: her ability to identify critical questions and the energy and resourcefulness she shows in pursuing her goals."


Robert Judson, UC San Francisco, Biomedical Sciences

Rob is working on understanding the mechanisms by which each cell type, or cell fate, is woven, and further, how to manipulate these. His interests are in "functional systems" biology--using current technologies to take a snapshot of these complex systems (genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, etc.) and developing new technologies to manipulate entire networks of genes at once in a controlled fashion. His research has so far exploited the evolutionary advantages of microRNA to this end. Understanding these systems is the technological key for fulfilling the promise of regenerative medicine.

In addition to his laboratory research, he has developed an interest in studying the methods with which academic researchers discuss and critique published data and has co-founded an organization, The Journal Lab, focused on researching these interactions. One of his professors wrote that The Journal Lab "has the potential to be a disruptive technology; it could fundamentally alter the way scientists interact, form collaborations, and present findings."

Another noted that he is "remarkably independent in conceiving, designing, executing, and interpreting his experiments. Indeed, . . . Rob is one of those rare students whom it is best to leave alone and let them define where they want their science to take them."


Abigail (Abby) Kirchofer, Stanford, Earth Energy & Environmental Sciences

As Abby noted in her application, the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing society. The long-term solution involves transitioning from carbon-based to renewable energy sources. In the short term, effective carbon capture and storage will be needed. Abby is working on CO2 capture via gas-solid adsorption as a potentially viable CO2 separation technique for CO2 capture.

Abby's aim is to apply environmental sciences toward the protection of our natural resources by working to prevent and mitigate the spread of contaminants from energy production. Her career goal stems from both her long-term commitment to work toward sustainability and environmental justice and her aptitude for applying mathematics and science to real-world problem solving. She left Stanford with her B.A. and a determination not to return to school to focus on environmental studies until she had better defined her career goals. She worked with a major philanthropic foundation and then taught high school mathematics for two years. She left teaching to become an environmental scientist in order to gain hands-on experience in environmental consulting. This work anchored her idealistic goals in reality, giving her practical experience in engineering solutions to pollution mitigation.

As an oceanography intern, she spent six weeks at sea, sailing, conducting oceanographic research, and studying nautical science and oceanography and working as assistant ship engineer. Working for the Fish and Wildlife Research Unit as a field researcher in Colorado, she surveyed high-altitude regions for potential butterfly habitat, spending the summer backpacking and conducting field surveys above tree line to find and map suitable habitat.

According to her professors, "for her, course material is not simply to be learned and then forgotten, but is meant to be applied to real-world problems." She has "impressive research capabilities" and "sets high standards for herself."


John Lambert, UC Davis, Anthropology

John is examining late Paleoindian mobility and settlement-subsistence in the western Great Lakes. His data are gleaned from reanalysis of extant archaeological collections, a regional survey, and excavation of a number of intact sites. The project combines research from several different fields, including geology, geochemistry, palynology, and archaeology. Insights gleaned from this research may shed light on the adaptive strategies employed by foragers faced with similar environments and will flesh out our understanding of the spatial patterning in lithic toolkit variability and the human behavior that underlies it. His study can also serve as an important testbed for hypotheses about the behavior of colonizing populations in other regions and more generally will help reveal the ways in which human groups cope with the type of extreme environmental change witnessed at the end of the last ice age. While an empty continent was advantageous in some ways, it was challenging in others.

In addition to his studies, John served as co-instructor of the Davis archaeological field school in 2010 and is directing the K-12 archaeological outreach and co-organizing the archaeological monograph series.

His professors note that he is "a promising young scholar" who is "very organized" and "highly motivated" and "an astounding teaching assistant."


Rebecca Munson, UC Berkeley, English

Rebecca's dissertation--"Shakespeare Offstage: The Reception and Appropriation of Shakespeare, 1590-1660"--traces the process by which Shakespeare's plays created foundational historical models that shaped England's developing sense of its own past and provided a medium for exploring questions of government. It reclaims the years 1642-1660, when the theaters were closed, and shows that Shakespeare's "death" during that period is nothing more than a convenient fiction inasmuch as the plays were circulating within a community of readers and sometimes being performed privately. It also studies the influence, both immediate and lasting, of Shakespeare's plays on the drama of his successors.
Her thesis challenges the entrenched view of Shakespeare's earliest reception and illustrates that the received belief has obscured an important area of influence. The dissertation spans several periods of historical study and proposes a literary-historical narrative based on continuity rather than rupture. Her research is distinguished not only by its unusual critical framework and its broad historical span, but by a strong basis in bibliographic evidence.

Rebecca has also made her mark as an organizer and supporters of others' work, reviving and coordinating the Townsend Humanities Center's Early Modern Working Group. She was also short-listed for the 2011 Paris Literary Prize for her novella _Lafayette Square_ and was one of thirteen finalists for an international competition held by the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris.

Her professors note that she goes "beyond the call of duty in her reading" and that "everything she touches ends up looking refreshed and new"; she "combines the skills of the most rigorous historian with the sensitivity to language associated with the best critics."


Jason Nagata, UC San Francisco, Medicine

Jason's research focuses on global undernutrition, food insecurity, and obesity. Working in Guatemala and Kenya, he is using mixed anthropological and epidemiological methodology. He plans to work toward the attainment of the first UN Millennium Development Goal: the eradication of extreme hunger on this planet.

In an earlier essay he wrote that "biomedical innovations often target individual problems with specific drugs and technologies but fail to appreciate the interconnectedness of health and society, of illness and environment. In order to improve the health of all, we must shift away from individualism and work collaboratively to address human health in the broadest context." It is this thesis that informs his work.

Locally, Jason has demonstrated his commitment to underserved care and his passion for public health nutrition through service to the San Francisco Unified School District and related research through the UCSF Department of Pediatrics. His research demonstrated that a free fresh fruit distribution program at an underserved, ethnically diverse San Francisco high school was associated with a decrease in soft drink consumption over a two-year period compared to a similar school without such a program.

His professors call him a natural-born leader, a remarkable researcher, and a genuine community partner. "He is amazing."


Micha Rahder, UC Santa Cruz, Anthropology

Micha's research investigates the creation of scientific knowledge enabled by remote sensing technologies and geographic information systems and the ways in which this knowledge is used and transformed in application by conservationists. Her work straddles the disciplinary borders of anthropology, science and technology studies, critical geography, and environmental studies. In her dissertation, she focuses on the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, where conservationists' excitement about remote sensing stands in stark contrast to their fears about the destruction of the region's forests. Remote sensing and GIS are changing how people see and protect forested landscapes; but the ecological, social, and political effects of these technologies remain unexamined.
Her work addresses the following questions: What political and material effects do remote sensing and GIS have in the reserve, and how do the people producing, using, or being described by these sciences grapple with these effects? How do these technologies figure into the production of "natural" landscapes and social difference? What new possibilities for contestation or collaboration are emerging along with the rise of remote sensing and GIS technologies in Guatemalan conservation? Her hope is that the project will in some way aid Guatemalans in their daily struggles to protect their forests and improve the lives of their communities.

Her professors note that she is quick to gain technical mastery, knows how to seize on key problems (as well as potential solutions), and is an adept field worker. She is "an intensely curious and creative thinker who devours new ideas and uses them insightfully and imaginatively" and is "very smart, self-motivated, astute, driven, and caring." She is also a rugby coach.

The 2011 Scholarship recipients

  • Noël Bakhtian, Stanford, Aeronautics and Astronautics (Reed Scholarship)

    Nöel has always wanted to be an astronaut. As she wrote in her application, "I see the exploration of space as an attempt to answer the ultimate questions concerning our origins and significance in the universe while laying down a framework for our future." She has a B.S.E., Engineering, from Duke; a M. Phil. from the University of Cambridge; and a M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, from Stanford.

    One of her professors called her "highly motivated, hardworking, uniquely gifted, and a natural organ­izer." Another noted that Nöel "challenged me good-naturedly when I glossed over important details." Still another noted her "irrepressible and endearing enthusiasm" and her "coherent vision of purpose for her career the likes of which I have never observed in a student."

  • Maya de Vries, UC Berkeley, Integrative Biology

    The title of Maya's dissertation explains her investi­gation: "Testing Form and Function: Ecological and Morphological Specialization in Mantis Shrimp." Her early results already run counter to the expecta­tion that form follows function in suggesting that "smashers" actually consume a wider range of prey types than "spearers" do. Much of her research is done in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Galeta Marine Lab.

    Letters of recommendation note that Maya is "bright, creative, resourceful, dedicated, and unusu­ally hard-working," "curious and inquisitive with outstanding interpersonal skills" (she was adept at involving local Panamanian students and support staff in her research program), and that she "was fearless . . . in conducting her field experiments in crocodile-laden waters and in truly challenging liv­ing conditions."

  • Jenny Lane, UC Santa Cruz, Ocean Sciences

    Jenny is studying algae blooms (i.e., "red tides"), which seem to be expanding globally and causing more economic losses than had been thought.

    Her research shows that both ocean upwelling and river flow are influential in causing the algae blooms. The research has primed a ground-breaking statewide effort at a time of significant funding shortfalls, with the California Ocean Protection Council awarding $792,000 for implementation of her models as part of a California-wide effort to de­velop a harmful algal bloom forecast system.

    According to her professors, Jenny is "constantly asking What is the big picture?" She is doing "truly interdisciplinary work at the interface between pol­icy, management, and science." She is "a dream student."

  • Michael Levien, UC Berkeley, Sociology

    Michael is investigating "The Land Question: Special Economic Zones and Accumulation by Dis­possession in India." His study contrasts two strate­gies of development: state-led high modernization revolving around massive projects (e.g., dams) and market-driven projects associated with Special Economic Zones. Basi­cally, this is a study of conflicts over land, land use, and government policies, dispossession with and without develop-ment that benefits the original land­owners.

    His professors call him a "consummate, intrepid, imaginative ethnographer," a "tireless researcher and devoted theorist," and a person who "weds in­tellectual sophistication and civic idealism with economic and political realism."

  • Feng-Yen Li, UC San Francisco, Biomedical Sciences (M.D./Ph.D.)

    Feng-Yen's dissertation is "The Etiologies of Primary Immunodeficiencies," in which she defines the molecular basis of immunodeficiency in chil­dren with congenital abnormalities of the immune system. Her research has led to the discovery of a second messenger role for magnesium in biology that is particularly important for T-cell activation and the development and function of a normal im­mune system in humans.

    As her professors note, she is a "tenacious, creative researcher" and is "flexible in her thinking." Even more important, she has made "one of the most im­portant discoveries in the past several years" in this area. "Her work will lead to a revision of the text­books."

  • Shane Morrison, Stanford, Medicine

    In his opening statement, Shane noted that "the ini­tial impetus for my career in medicine . . . [came from] the death of the man who raised me: my grandfather. In fact, a five-gallon metal pail became my primary inspiration." This pail, which held his grandfather’s catheter bag, served as a physical re­minder of his prostate cancer.

    Shane's current work is on treating diabetic wounds through gene therapy. He combines a passion for scientific research with an interest in public health, often volunteering in public health clinics.

    His professors call him "clear thinking, energetic, and enthusiastic," with "great initiative and creativ­ity," "impeccable integrity," and "extraordinary en­ergy and enthusiasm." There are "not enough superlatives to describe Shane."

  • Wei-chun Wang, UC Davis, Psychology

    His focus is on the physical components of be-havior: using neuroimaging and neuropsychologi­cal methods to test the hypothesis that the perirhinal cortex contributes to conceptual priming. "His research has challenged strongly held beliefs in our field."

    His professors note that he combines "drive, mental horsepower, and creative spirit." He is "modest, friendly, easy-going" and an "independent thinker [yet a] team player" who is "an exceptionally clear communicator" "liked by everyone in the lab."

  • Chelsea Wood, Stanford, Biology

    Chelsea is studying the impacts of fishing on tropi­cal marine ecosystems. As she noted in her applica­tion, "Fishing is among the most economically important human uses of the world's oceans, but it may come with costs [we haven't] accounted for." Her research takes advantage of the presence of a pristine, unexploited fish community on Palmyra Atoll, where she is monitoring experimental treat­ments that simulate "pristine" and "fished-out" con­ditions on the atoll. She hopes that her work will permit the development of baselines for ecosystem function and service provision throughout the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, the Republic of Kiribati, and other Pacific island groups.

    "Exceptional" was often used in her letters of rec­ommendation: "exceptionally talented," "exception­ally motivated," "simply exceptional." Her "logical and technical rigor" was also commended.

The 2010 Scholarship Recipients

Shah Ali, Stanford, Medicine
Chantal Frankenbach, UC Davis, Music
Harold (Hal) Haggard, UC Berkeley, Physics
William Love Anderegg, Stanford, Biology
Alexis Peri, UC Berkeley, History
Margaret Peters, Stanford, Political Science
Lilliana Radoshevich (Reed Scholarship), UCSF, Biomedical Sci.
Johnny Tam†, UCSF (& UCB), Bioengineering

† Application through UCSF, not UCB

Shah Ali (Medicine, Stanford) is in his second year of graduate study, working toward a career in academic medicine. He is studying coronary artery disease and the cellular loss that results following acute myocardial injury. Some of his research will look at the possibilities of cell transplantation therapy.
Outside the classroom and lab, Shah has been part of a team that developed patient education presentations for the Stanford free clinics and for a Palo Alto homeless shelter. In addition, showing that his interests extend beyond science and medicine, he and a colleague organized trips to live-arts performances to bring together students and faculty in appreciation of the healing power of art.

His professors noted that he is self-directing and charming and has a wonderful sense of humor, a genuine thirst for knowledge, an amazingly sharp wit, and a keen understanding of satire and irony.

Chantal Frankenbach (Music, UC Davis) is examining the dislocation of dance from Western art music. In her dissertation, "Disdain for Dance, Disdain for France: Choreophobia in German Music Criticism," she shows that German music critics characterized dance as "feminine and French," and therefore not "pure" music. She herself is a professional dancer.

As part of her work in the prestigious Professors for the Future program, she devised a project, "Behind the Scenes in the Work of a Professor," to give graduate students a better understanding of the work of a professor and how the work differs at different institutions. A second workshop focused on how to publish in the humanities.

Her professors called her an extremely creative thinker and an exceptional scholar, adept at synthesis and dedicated to her students and colleagues.

Harold (Hal) Haggard (Physics, UC Berkeley) is studying the implications of quantum mechanics and its relation to the theory of relativity. The heart of his thesis is "a description of the geometry arising out of the spin network that involves nine spinning particles." In addition to his Ph.D. from Berkeley, he will be receiving an international Ph.D. through the Universita degli Studi de Pavia, Italy.

Hal is one of the three graduate student co-founders of the Compass Project at UC Berkeley. This project works to "increase the health, diversity, and competitiveness of the physical sciences at Berkeley by cultivating students’ interest in science and supporting them through their college years. . . . [It also] exposes undergraduates to current research and helps them engage and participate in research themselves."

His professors note his impressive research achievements, extraordinary sense of community involvement, and broad intellectual interests.

William Love Anderegg (Biology, Stanford) is testing the physiological mechanisms of climate-induced forest mortality. He is studying the sudden aspen decline (SAD) that has swept across Colorado, several other western states, and parts of Canada. Through his research he seeks to "demonstrate the direct link between climate change and tree mortality . . . and make strides toward predictive models of forest mortality."

"Bill is a renaissance man. Besides his science, he also excels in music and writing." He took up the guitar because he couldn't carry his piano into the field, and he has written a fantasy novel that so impressed his favorite fantasy-novel writer that the latter placed it with his own agent.

His professors note that he is creative, grasps ideas quickly, and rapidly sees errors in logic. He is a mature thinker who "will not do science in silence."

Bill has a website that discusses his projects, which currently (November 2010) are:
1. Mechanisms of climate-induced forest mortality
2. Complex ecosystem responses to climate scenarios
3. Climate expertise in the media

Read more here

Margaret Peters (Political Science, Stanford) is studying the politics of globalization, with a special focus on the politics of immigration. She is looking at the two periods of globalization in the modern era (1820-1914 and the post-World War II era) and the immigration policies during those periods. Specifically, she is examining the "continued relative closure of the U.S. border to immigrants after World War II." Her goal is to contribute fact-based research instead of research with a policy agenda to policy makers and the general public.

She has received a scholarship from the U.S. Dept. of State (Critical Language Program) and a Gerald R. Ford award for research in public policy. She was also chosen to participate in the National Science Foundation REU Program in Mathematics.

Her professors call her smart, intellectually tough, technically far above the mean, and creative, having "a subversively creative mind."

Lilliana Radoshevich (Biomedical Sciences, UCSF) is studying the role of autophagy in cancer. A driving force in her research is the potential that what she finds could solve serious human health problems. She is also committed to bridging the gap in understanding between the scientific community and the general public.

She designed an adult education course, "Demystifying Molecular Biology," and volunteers in community education through the Science and Health Education Partnership between UCSF and the San Francisco Unified School District, co-teaching lessons with middle-school teachers in urban schools. Having helped vaccinate and tag bighorn sheep during her own middle-school years, she believes in a hands-on approach to science.

Her professors note that she has a great nose for important questions and is meticulous, self-critical, self-directed, and able to see the big picture.

Johnny Tam (Bioengineering, UCSF) is investigating retinal capillaries in early-stage diabetes, using noninvasive techniques that he invented. His study opens up the patient pool that can be potentially investigated for both clinical practice and basic research in disease mechanisms. He is interested in directing the development of applications for medical imaging. He is licensed as an Engineer-in-Training and has received his Certificate in Management of Technology from the Haas School of Business and Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Outside the classroom and the lab, Johnny has been actively involved in the Institute for Science and Engineer Educators, which trains graduate students how to be effective teachers. As an undergraduate, he was vice-president and chair of the External Relations Committee of the Undergraduate Investment Society.

His professors note his passion, dedication, curiosity, and ambition as well as his foresight and courage to go beyond the confines of his discipline.

Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President, Scholarship

The 2009 Scholarship Recipients

Esther Cole, Ecology, UC Davis 
"Landscape Control of Disease Dynamics in a High Alpine System" 

Esther is studying how changing climate may be affecting disease dynamics as snowmelt comes earlier and minimum temperatures rise. She has done extensive work in Ecuador, where her work generated several important discoveries, including the discovery of a new species of frog, genus Cochranella. She will complete her fieldwork in the Trinity Alps here in California. As she writes, "This research will generate novel insights into how changing climate will influence natural disease regimes, potentially resulting in the extinction of native species." 

Her professors called her "smart, articulate, self-confident," "a wonderful field biologist, incredibly well-organized," "intellectually nimble," and a woman with "a sense of humor and irony." 

Jordan Gans-Morse, Political Science, UC Berkeley
"Out of Chaos? Business Elites and Property Rights in Russia" 

"The collapse of the Soviet Union presented social scientists with a daunting set of challenges. . . . Comparativists . . . sought to develop theories capable of explaining transitions from tradition to modernity, underdevelopment to development, and authoritarianism to democracy." Jordan's dissertation research analyzes why institutions that protect property develop in some countries but not others, why some laws and regulations remain mere scraps of paper. He focuses on the interest-group politics underlying institutional formation. He hopes to uncover valuable insights into the institutional foundations of economic prosperity. He was in Russia at the time of the Awards Banquet, testing the preliminary predictions of his model. 

His professors noted his "extraordinary potential" and his "quiet determination and commitment" and they think that "his research holds the promise of improving the foundations on which policy prescriptions can be made." "He is a rising star in the field." 

Emily Jacobs, Neuroscience, UC Berkeley
"Individual Differences in Cognition: Genetic and Hormonal Influences on Prefrontal Function" 

Emily is determined to pursue science in combination with humanitarian values. Her research centers on how dopamine functions in the prefrontal cortex. As she put it, it's a Goldilocks and the three bears scenario: you don't want too much or too little dopamine – just enough. The key goal of her project is to understand how individual differences in baseline dopamine levels in adolescents lead to greater susceptibility to depression, early-onset schizophrenia, and ADHD. Being committed to sharing her work with the public ("secret knowledge . . . is less than science"), she helped found S.E.E. (Science Everyone Everywhere), a nonprofit organization aimed at bringing science and the public a step closer together. She also works with a "brain fitness" campaign in San Francisco geared toward raising awareness about the health benefits of staying mentally and physically active as we age. 

Her professors commended her "maturity and curiosity," "dedication to service," and "boundless energy" ("bottle it and we could solve the worldwide energy crisis!"). Everyone noted that she is more like a colleague than a student. 

Mariangela Lisanti, Physics, Stanford (Norall Family Scholarship)
“Physics Beyond the Standard Model at the LHC” 

As Mariangela noted in her application, the Standard Model of particle physics cannot explain dark matter and dark energy in the universe, and says nothing about the gravitational force or how elementary particles obtain their mass. She works on building and studying extensions of the Standard Model that address these fundamental issues. "Whether scientists explore the unimaginably large or the inconceivably small, they strive to comprehend some aspect of the unknown. The fact that the same fundamental laws of physics can explain dramatically different scenarios is nothing short of amazing; for instance, the same forces that explain how an ant is able to lift a crumb off the ground can also explain the interactions of particles a few seconds after the Big Bang." Mariangela worked at the Tevatron collider at Fermilab, outside Chicago. That work resulted in "a sea change in how to design searches for new physics." 

She is "a role model for women students," "an effective mentor," and "a clear and organized speaker who can lay out the most complex arguments in a way her audience can grasp." 

Laurel Seely, Literature, UC Santa Cruz (Elizabeth B. Reed Scholarship)
"The Transition to Postsocialism: Cultural Discourses of Bosnian Identity, 1980-Present" 

Laurel's title is standard academese. The first paragraph of her application is not. "In winter 2008, the city of Sarajevo coated its sidewalks with a substance designed to prevent people from slipping on ice, an event that provoked outrage among some of Bosnia's Serb and Croat politicians. The problem: the coating was green, a color associated with Islam." In her work, Laurel uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the intersection of culture and politics in transformations of identity in postsocialist Bosnia. Her dissertation examines transformations of Bosnian identity effected through key cultural products. By presenting and analyzing materials that are lesser known or difficult to access (she has also translated Bosnian literary works into English), she aims to make a variety of texts available for the first time to English-speaking scholars. 

Her letters of recommendation cite her "personal independence, perseverance, originality of thought, and her no-nonsense hard work." She is "critically innovative," "a model of the best kind of contemporary literary and cultural studies." 

Amelia Wolf, Biology, Stanford
"Strategic Trade-offs in Ant-Plant Mutualisms Worldwide" 

"Can a tree emulate James Dean, or bear a resemblance to George Burns? . . . James Dean famously lived fast and died young; Burns persisted in the limelight for years and years. Different trees, too, follow these divergent life trajectories," burning out after a short and productive life or fading away after persisting and reproducing for many years. Amelia works on ant-plant mutualisms that occur in tropical regions worldwide, including the neotropics. Her work in Costa Rica is yielding information similar to what she found in Kenya. Such cross-continental comparisons are rare and valuable, because they can help determine the degree to which ecological processes are generalizable. She is also an avid photographer and last year had a photograph (of giraffes in Kenya) published on the cover of Science (11 January 2008). 

She was recommended for her "endurance, creativity, and imagination, and a willingness to take risks." She is a "broad, creative, synthetic thinker, and highly motivated." Her "wholly original research has already yielded amazing results."

The 2008 Scholarship Recipients

This year, PBKNCA awarded nine $5,000 scholarships out of twenty-three applicants from the nine northern California schools. My thanks to the scholarship committee: Jeff Fenton, Lynne Fovinci, Jean James, Gerry Richards

Joanne Sandstrom

Manisha Bahl (Elizabeth Buttler Reed Scholarship), UC San Francisco (Medicine), is working on a new, non-invasive method of diagnosing non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease, a common cause of chronic liver disease in North America. A goal of future work is to lead efforts in immunology and to shape policy related to biomedical research. Manisha also has a passion for patient care, especially in providing care to the medically underserved (exhibited in her work in free clinics) and for teaching (exhibited in her development of an interactive learning module for teaching anatomy and radiology in the first-year medical school curriculum). Her letters of recommendation cite her humility and kindness, creativity, originality, dedication, and initiative.

Matthew Fujita, UC Berkeley (Integrative Biology), is studying asexual Australian geckos, whose existence represents a major conundrum in evolutionary biology. Such research can provide critical insight on the origin and evolution of many genetic mutations that induce pathological disease. Outreach is also important to Matthew: he developed lessons for a seventh-grade biology curriculum at Adams Middle School in Richmond, a school serving a largely Hispanic and disadvantaged population. His letters of recommendation cite his dedication, deep motivation, rigor and passion about communicating science to multiple audiences.

Lauren McGeoch, UC Davis (Ecology), is focusing on habitat edges, on understanding the nature, causes, and consequences of edge interactions, especially important as habitats worldwide become more fragmented. Results of her study in Kenya have important, non-intuitive implications for plant community ecology, livestock productivity, and biodiversity conservation. Lauren was on the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Women's All-American Team; she hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2005.   Her letters of recommen-dation cite her focus, efficiency, curiosity, computer sophistication, talent – and guts.

Elizabeth McGuire, UC Berkeley (History), is exploring the relationship between the Russian and Chinese revolutions through the experiences of individual Chinese Communists in the Soviet Union. Her study shows the mismatched assumptions between the two revolutions. It is based on archival research and interviews with children of famous international revolutionaries who were sent to school at the Interdom – opened in 1933 and still operating. Her work renders "the Sino-Soviet romance" useful to international, cross-cultural, or comparative scholars seeking to conceptualize this relationship.    Letters of recommendation cite her diligence, conceptual acuity, creativity, resourceful-ness, fearless enthusiasm, and tact.

Victor Menaldo,Stanford (Political Science), is conducting research that challenges the Tocquevillean thesis that extending the franchise in unequal societies shifts the decisive voter to the left, causing redistribution of wealth. His study also overturns conventional wisdom: in the long run, he has found, there is no relationship between natural resource reliance and authoritarianism. "Democracy in and of itself may not be the panacea for remedying inequality that it has been purported to be." Instead, populist politicians, unable to raise taxes on the wealthy, raise revenue by expanding the money supply, thereby causing inflation. "The ultimate result is a cruel irony: democratization trends to worsen income inequality."   Letters of recommendation cite his creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and sense of humor.

Joanna Nelson, UC Santa Cruz (Environmental Studies), is studying the interactions of nitrogen pollution and sea-level rise in salt marsh habitats, investigating the multiple drivers of ecological change, and incorporating different knowledge systems to shed light on the changes. Joanne examines the linked roles of biological diversity and cultural diversity, connecting scientific knowledge with local knowledge. In her teaching role, she designed and taught “Pathways from Research to Conservation” at the Hopkins Marine Station.  Letters of recommendation cite her remarkable research intuition, adeptness at spotting flaws in thinking (including that of her professors), energy, creativity, and patience.

Veena Singla, UC San Francisco (Cell Biology), is studying stem cell models of disease to uncover the molecular bases by which mutations result in disease, thereby – it is hoped – providing insight into the development of novel treatments. As a teaching assistant for UCSF biochemistry classes, she designed interactive and engaging lessons – for example, having students pretend to be base pairs of DNA undergoing a repair mechanism. For such ingenuity, she was awarded the UCSF Richard Fineberg Memorial Teaching Award.   Letters of recommendation cite her exceptional talent, initiative, and tenacity, and her quirky, outside-the-box way of looking at problems.

Jessica Walter, UC Berkeley (Physics), is studying cellular metabolism and the balance of energy in living cells. At the beginning of her studies at Berkeley, she had to set up her own lab on campus, where her advisor wasn't yet a faculty member. As a result of this early research, scientists can now directly influence the organisms they wish to study in order to test their hypotheses. Jessica is co-inventor of (patented) biologically derived nanorobots and their use. She is the recipient of several teaching awards.   Letters of recom-mendation cite her intelligence, independence, creativity, and willingness to take risks.

Leslie Wang, UC Berkeley (Sociology), is studying the "missing children" in China in an era of "high quality" citizens. As a result of the state's population policies, healthy "excess" daughters and disabled or special-needs children (mostly boys) have been abandoned. Whereas the healthy girls have been adopted by affluent Westerners, the vast majority of special-needs children will remain in orphanages - some run by the state, some by Western evangelical Christian NGOs. The study analyzes the issues that emerge when processes of globalization enable Westerners to become embedded in the local dynamics and politics of developing countries. Letters of recommendation cite her depth of sociological insight, analytical intelligence, thorough empirical work, and strong motivation.

The 2007 Scholarship Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following ten outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $5000 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives:

Tasha Fairfield (UC Berkeley; political science) graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics. She went to Stanford to study high-energy physics but decided she wanted to do less theoretical work, so she changed focus and got an M.A. degree in Latin American studies. Her dissertation project focuses on the political and economic problems of taxation in Latin America (specifically in the ABCs--Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile).

From her recommendations come these comments: Tasha is an intellectual powerhouse who has identified a research topic that is particularly critical and woefully understudied. The stakes are enormous.

Ryan Gold (UC Davis; geology) graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Even early in his studies, he "played a central role in helping craft an NSF proposal strong enough to be successful in its first submission." For his dissertation he'll be measuring the slip rate at which the most important fault system in the interior of the India-Asia collision zone has moved over the past 10,000 years. Different measures have come up with wildly varying answers.

From his recommendations come these comments: Ryan has a rare talent for doing really great science. He is able to combine knowledge from various subdisciplines to make new discoveries. And he's an excellent teacher.

Natasha Hausmann (UC Berkeley; integrative biology and ecology) was elected to PBK at Wellesley. She has conducted studies in Arctic Alaska and, closer to home, at Point Reyes. Her dissertation focuses on how invasive grasses have altered the soil fungal communities in California and aims to identify the factors that affect diversity so that we can better manage our grasslands.

From her recommendations come these comments: Natasha is highly motivated, creative, a skilled experimentalist, an articulate speaker, and an accomplished writer. Her students praise her intelligence, attention to details, and sensitivity to individual needs.

Sarah Little (UCSF; medicine) was a Harvard economics major. At UCSF she is studying the intersection of economics and clinical medicine--"cost-effectiveness research." She has done much work in ob/gyn and hopes to become an academic perinatologist with a research focus on the economic issues concerning high-risk obstetrical care.

From her recommendations come these comments: Sarah is the single best medical student I have ever worked with at Harvard or UCSF. Without hyperbole, she has been the most productive medical student or resident I have ever mentored. She is also humble.

Glen Michael (UCSF; medicine), Norall Family Scholarship, comes to California from the University of Virginia. He has worked as an EMT with the Department of Homeland Security and the Primal Quest Expedition-length Adventure Race in the Sierra Nevada. His focus is on finding--and creating--opportunities to unite academic inquiry with community service. In Virginia, he helped to establish a local free clinic for the underserved, and at UCSF he helped create fitKids, a local organization devoted to providing outdoor excursions for at-risk youth.

From his recommendations come these comments: Glen has great professionalism and empathy and is truly exceptional at the bedside. During a leave of absence [to care for a terminally ill family member] he also spent time tutoring disadvantaged high school students, took up carpentry, and constructed a small cabin.

Robert Pringle (Stanford; biological sciences), Elizabeth B. Reed Scholarship , was elected to PBK at the University of Pennsylvania, then took a few years off to earn two MSc degrees (with distinction) from Oxford. As he noted in his application, "My career is dedicated to the following proposition: academic theory has an essential role to play in mediating conflict and engineering harmony between nature and society, but those solutions must marry sound, generalized science with place-based socio-cultural understanding. This is a philosophy that demands to be taken out of abstraction and applied." With these principles in mind, Rob will continue to work on implementing the kinds of changes necessary to improve the efficacy and equity of biological conservation.

From his recommendations come these comments: Rob was flat out the best undergraduate "volunteer" that I have had from any U.S. university working with my 25-year-old biodiversity project. He has a wonderful breadth of interest and ability and a dazzling list of accomplishments (including co-captaining the Penn tennis team and holding it together when the coach resigned).

For current info about Rob, please see

Shumin Tan (Stanford: microbiology and immunology) came to the United States from Singapore and did her undergraduate work at Washington University, St. Louis. She is using live-cell, time-lapse imaging to focus on H. pylori, which colonizes the stomachs of more than half of all humans worldwide. Chronic infection by H. pylori is a major cause of gastric and duodenal ulcer disease and an early risk factor for gastric cancer.

From her recommendations come these comments: Shumin has exceptional talent and productivity, tremendous dedication and discipline. Her work is original and innovative, and she has all the makings of a great researcher and teacher.

Heather Swanson (UC Santa Cruz; cultural anthropology) did her undergraduate work at Princeton. Even then she was working on the salmon-human relationship and developed a comprehensive science education program for preK-12 students in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington (her home grounds). For her dissertation she will go farther afield in her examination of the salmon-human-environment interaction, comparing and contrasting salmon management practices in northern Japan and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, looking at the social ecologies within which management decisions are made.

From her recommendations come these comments: Heather is dedicated, original, and inventive, brilliant and knowledgeable. She is an unusually talented scholar who writes with clarity, precision, and grace.

Christopher Weinberger (UC Berkeley; English and Japanese) was elected to PBK at Williams College. He is the only student ever permitted to work on two simultaneous Ph.D.s in the humanities at UC Berkeley. In 2005 he was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award and currently holds the record for the highest student evaluations ever in the English department. He hopes to pioneer a comparative history of literary theory in the United States and Japan.

From his recommendations come these comments: Chris's presentations and seminar papers have ranged from merely very smart to truly brilliant. He is a sophisticated conceptual thinker, and he truly believes that teaching literature and culture can have humane, ethical consequences, and can make us better human beings.

Janet Yang (UCSF; biochemistry and biophysics) did her undergraduate work at Yale. Currently she is using the tools of enzymology and quantitative analyses to understand chromatin remodeling. Through her use of analogy and metaphor she communicates her findings to an audience not experienced in reading scientific findings. Through UCSF's Science and Health Education partnership she works with teachers to introduce kindergarteners to the wonders of science.

From her recommendations come these comments: Janet is a brilliant woman, likely to have a huge impact on scientific research and education. In less than two years in this lab, she has provided the first mechanistic explanation for a process that has been a mystery for ten years.

The 2006 Scholarship Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $5000 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives:

Arthur William Bahr (Norall Family Scholarship) English UC Berkeley

Brooke Erin Crowley Earth Sciences UC Santa Cruz

Talissa Jane Ford English UC Berkeley

Eleanor Bayne Johnson English and Medieval StudiesUC Berkeley

Lisa Ann Justice History UC Davis

Andrew J. Koontz-Garboden Linguistics Stanford

Charles Chia-hong Lin Medicine UC SF Med School

Darius Parke Ornston Political Science UC Berkeley

Corinna Riginos (Elizabeth B. Reed Awardee) Ecology UC Davis

Brian J. Schulman Medicine UC Med School

Todd Stephen Sechser Political Science Stanford

Jessica Lea Weeks Political Science Stanford

THE 2005 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

At our Annual Meeting at the Berkeley Faculty Club, PBK NCA awarded nine $4000 scholarships to the outstanding graduate students listed below:

Catherine Becker Art History UC Berkeley

Ayelet Ben-Yishai Comparative Literature UC Berkeley

Michael Cohen Chemistry and Chemical Biology UC SF

Sarah Eyerly (Elizabeth Reed Awardee) Musicology and Criticism UC Davis

Laura Hubbard Anthropology UC Berkeley

Ray Nigatani, Jr. Pharmaceutical UC SF Science

Mary Elizabeth Paster Linguistics UC Berkeley

Matthew Schlesinger Ecology UC Davis

Laura Steele Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology UC Berkeley

THE 2004 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $4000 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives. All are enrolled in Northern California colleges and universities.

Jeremy Cholfin
Neuroscience UC San Francisco

Rebecca Fox
Animal Behavior
UC Davis

Eleanory Gilburd
Russian History
UC Berkeley

Lisa Lital
Levy (Elizabeth Reed Award)
Comparative Literature
UC Berkeley

Yamina Ohol
UC San Francisco

Ellen Samuels
UC Berkeley

Scappettone (Norall Family Scholarship)
UC Berkeley

Akrit Sodhi Singh
Comparative Pathology
UC Davis


THE 2003 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $4000 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives. All are enrolled in Northern California colleges and universities.

Jorge Jose Bravo III
History and Archaeology
UC Berkeley

Arianne J. Chernock
UC Berkeley

Hsuan Lin Hsu
UC Berkeley

Elaine K.
Musgrave (Norall Family Scholarship)
UC Davis

Eric Schnell
UC San Francisco

Shelby Wynn Schwartz
Comparative Literature
UC Berkeley

Kevin Chun-Kai Wang
UC San Francisco

Boris Yanislav
Wolfson (Elizabeth Reed Award)
Slavic Languages and Literature
UC Berkeley

THE 2002 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $3700 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives. All are enrolled in Northern California colleges and universities.

Sarah Benor

Elena Berg
Animal Behavior
UC Davis

Karen Carney

Amy Freund
Art History
UC Berkeley

Susanna Paltz
UC Berkeley

Phadke (Elizabeth Reed Award)
Asian and Environmental Studies
UC Santa Cruz

Maximilian Viatori
UC Davis

Deborah Weiss
UC Davis

Timothy Yu

THE 2001 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

In fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association is honoring the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $3600 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives. All are enrolled in Northern California colleges and universities.

Daniel Imara Bolnick
Population Biology
UC Davis

Stephen Y. Chan
MD-PhD Program

J. Winston
Chiong ( Elizabeth Reed Award )

Dawn Davina Coleman
English and American Literature

Jill Letitia Grenier
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
UC Berkeley

Vikram K. Jaswal

Andrew Leslie Jenks
Russian History

Benjamin B. Kerr
Biological Sciences

Brett H. Rushforth
American History

UC Davis

THE 2000 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

Anderson Elizabeth Reed Award UCBerkeley
Comparative Literature

Julie graduated from Brown, magna cum laude, in 1989 with a major in classics. She is currently enrolled in doctoral studies at UC Berkeley in the field of comparative literature. Julie is exploring the genre of lyric poetry and how different forms of writing influence the development of the lyric voice. Interestingly, the work has crossover implications in the study of dyslexia. This developed from her work in teaching children in Taiwan and China. Julie notes that "Literacy does not necessarily mean sound-letter association, as written Chinese demonstrates."

Yee-Ming Chan (
Glatze Award) UCSF

Yee-Ming graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1993 with a degree in biology. He is currently enrolled in the MD-PhD program at UCSF. His thesis work focuses on the genetic structure of fruit flies and the process by which cells are transformed into neurons. He has also been active with the UCSF AIDS Forum. Yee-Ming states, "I have become convinced that knowledge exists to be shared with others, and I have become devoted to various activities that have in common the communication of biological and medical knowledge."

Albert and Grace Glatze Scholarship

We are pleased to acknowledge a most generous gift by Albert and Grace Glatze of Oakland. Mr. and Mrs. Glatze have donated funds to underwrite a full graduate student scholarship in the year 2000.

Jessica Green UCBerkeley
Nuclear Engineering

Jessica graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 1992 with a degree in civil and environmental engineering. She is currently enrolled at UC Berkeley and is pursuing a PhD in nuclear engineering. Her work centers on using the techniques of risk analysis from that field and applying them to environmental risks. Jessica notes, "My goal is to bridge the gap between the principles of theoretical ecology and the practical methodology of risk analysis." While Jessica did not attend the dinner, her excuse was reasonable. She became a mother for the first time a week before, so congratulations on two counts are in order.

Jeffrey Karlsen UCBerkeley
Slavic Languages

Jeffrey graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley in 1992 with a major in Slavic Languages. He is currently a candidate for a PhD at the same institution in that field. Jeffrey is studying the view of America in early Soviet culture. He is using film as one way of gaining this perspective. In Jeffrey's words, "The Soviet fascination with America illuminates the debates about post-Revolutionary reconceptualizations of literature and culture."

Natasha Schull UCBerkeley

Natasha graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley in 1993 with a major in anthropology. She is currently completing doctoral studies in that field at Berkeley. Her work explores the area of pathological gambling and follows other work she has done on the gambling industry. She describes the gambling experience from the viewpoint of the addict, an experience which is "characterized by social isolation and even self-abandonment in which sense of body, self, place and time dissolves."

Dylan Schwilk Stanford
Biological Sciences

Dylan graduated summa cum laude from Occidental College in 1996 with majors in biology and English. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in biology at Stanford. Dylan is studying wildfires and the adaptation of plant materials to those conditions. "Considering the environment a product of organisms' phenotypes as much as their cause is a novel approach to evolution, but one that is unavoidable when investigating plants and fire."

Rachel Sturman UCDavis

Rachel graduated from the University of Chicago in 1991 with a degree in history. She is currently a PhD candidate at UC Davis in that field. Her studies center on Colonial India and the ways in which concepts of property and "rights" were affected by that experience. As she says, "My dissertation puts such terms into question by exploring how the transformations in property relations wrought by colonialism impacted indigenous people at the most intimate levels."

Anna Wertz UCBerkeley

Anna graduated from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1992 summa cum laude in history. Following that, she obtained a master's degree from Brown and is currently a PhD candidate in history at UC Berkeley. Anna's dissertation is an intellectual biography of Hans Blumenberg. She observes that "Blumenberg's works make significant contributions to the field of philosophy, but beyond this lies his inquisitiveness about the nature of inquisitiveness itself."

Veronica Yank UCSF

Veronica graduated with honors from Harvard in 1994 with majors in history and literature, while also lettering in varsity soccer. She is currently a medical student as UCSF. Her interests lie in both public health research and clinical medicine. She intends to obtain a master's in public health after medical school. Much of her research in that area "may be grouped under the rubric of efforts to protect and improve the integrity of biomedical publications, which are the basis of evidence-based patient care."

THE 1999 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

From UC Berkeley:
Helen Fox
Eric Klinenberg
Scott Tang
Tony Wong

From San Francisco State:
Lucille Kwak

From Stanford:
William Oliver
David Sherman
Vikaas Sohal
Hilary Teplitz
Miriam Ticktin

From UC Santa Cruz:
Henry Goldschmidt

From UC San Francisco:
Michael Penn, Jr.

Helen Fox - The Elizabeth B. Reed Award
Helen received her BA with distinction in Biology from Swarthmore College in 1994 After spending a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Queensland, she is now pursuing a PhD in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. Her primary area of interest is in coral reefs, specifically their management and regeneration. Her dissertation will focus upon the disturbance caused by dynamite fishing in Indonesia. In her words, "Repeated blasting transforms the reef into a shifting, unstable rubble field that rarely returns to a healthy reef community."

Henry Goldschmidt
Henry received his BA degree in Anthropology from Wesleyan University in 1991. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, where he has been awarded a Regents fellowship and an outstanding teaching assistant award. Henry's dissertation will study relations between the African-American and Jewish communities in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Henry states that "More than seven years after the riots, the racial and religious identities that divide Crown Heights are still largely misunderstood." 

Eric Klinenberg
Eric received his AB degree from Brown University in 1993 with a double major in Philosophy and History. He is currently engaged in doctoral studies in Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Eric is studying the 1995 Chicago heat wave in which more than seven hundred people died and what it says about the structure of society. Specifically, "The research delves deeply into the historical and current structures of Chicago's social and political life and shows that the social autopsy of the heat wave serves as a revelator of urban conditions that are present but more difficult to see in normal times." 

Lucille Kwak
Lucille received her AB degree in Psychology from UCLA in 1990. She is currently pursuing a MFA in Cinema at San Francisco State University. Her Master's thesis will study the experiences of Asian-American actors in San Francisco in the forties and fifties. She has won several awards for her film, "Return to Grace", which analyzes the "reconciliation of Jae, a Korean-American painter with his older, schizophrenic sister, Grace." 

William Oliver 
William earned his BS degree in Electrical Engineering as well as a BA in Japanese from the University of Rochester in 1995. If this wasn't enough to occupy his undergraduate years, he worked his way through college playing with a band and volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician. After receiving his MS in Electrical Engineering at MIT, he enrolled in the PhD program in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. His dissertation will focus on the area of quantum electron optics which he states "is a new field merging quantum optics and mesoscopic condensed matter physics." 

Michael Penn, Jr. 
Michael received his BS in Biology from Morehouse College in 1994. He is currently enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCSF with a specialty in Immunology. In his PhD program, he is currently studying the mechanisms by which the HIV virus deteriorates the human immune system. Michael says, "My ultimate goal is two-fold: to increase the quality of life in our society through community involvement and scientific discovery." 

David Sherman 
David earned his BA in Psychology from Cornell in 1995. He received a MA in Psychology at Stanford in 1996 where he is currently enrolled in the PhD program in that field. David is the recipient of a National Science Foundation fellowship. His dissertation will focus upon the study of poverty within social psychology, with a particular emphasis on welfare women. He notes that, "In contrast to the stereotype of welfare women as extremely dependent, our research has found that they are extremely independent." 

Vikaas Sohal
Vikaas received his AB degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard in 1997. He is currently enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Stanford. Vikaas seeks to combine his understanding of mathematics with his science training in order to gain insight into how the mind functions. As he puts it, "My love of mathematics has proved indispensable, because to understand 'how the mind works', it's not enough to characterize the physical substrate of the brain. As with a computer, one could understand all the circuitry but still not understand how Windows 95 works." 

Scott Tang
Scott earned his BA in History and Political Science summa cum laude from the University of Arizona in 1992. He is currently enrolled in the PhD program in History at UC Berkeley. Scott has received several awards as a Graduate Student Instructor and a Mellon grant. His dissertation will focus on the changing relationships among white and non-white San Franciscans during World War II and in the period immediately following it. Scott notes that "The ultimate goal is an integrated multicultural history that allows one to access sites of interracial interaction." 

Hilary Teplitz
Hilary was granted her BA degree in Russian Literature and Russian Area Studies from Wellesley in 1994. She is currently working toward her PhD in Slavic Literature at Stanford. In her teaching role at Stanford she was awarded a Centennial Teaching Assistant certificate. Hilary's dissertation will focus upon Russian views of America over the past thirty years. As she says, "America does not simply come to represent a series of qualities or elements that may be delineated neatly but rather, in myth, it evokes emotion and inspires action." 

Miriam Ticktin
Miriam received her AB in Anthropology from Princeton in 1993, where she was awarded the Pyne Prize, the University's highest award for undergraduates. She then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Stanford in Cultural Anthropology. Her dissertation will study feminist activism in France. More specifically, it "will examine two types of feminist activism, one initiated by those of immigrant origin and the other by white activists." 

Tony Wong
Tony received his AB degree cum laude from Harvard in 1994 with a major in Physics and Astronomy. He is currently in the PhD program in Astronomy at UC Berkeley. While in the program, Tony has sought out teaching opportunities and currently has full responsibility for a course in Astrobiology. His dissertation will analyze the relationship between interstellar gas and star formation. In his words, "Studying the present day gas content in galaxies not only tells us about the future possibilities for star formation but provides information on formation in the past as well."

THE 1998 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

Laurie Schaffner is the 1998 recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth B. Reed award. She received her BA degree in Sociology from Smith College and was elected to PBK in 1995. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Sociology at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation research is focused on female juvenile delinquency. She states that "there is not much work that focuses on teenaged girls and their offending behaviors". She holds that research about juvenile delinquency begins with males and then is generalized to include females. Ms. Schaffner maintains that juvenile delinquency needs to be retrieved from its male's eye view. She plans to remedy this problem in part by interviewing fifty girls in detention facilities and fifty case files of girls on probation.  David B. Barkin 

David Barkin received his BS degree in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University and was elected to PBK in 1997. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He is doing research on some of the most advanced needs and developments in the fields of computer and communications technology. such as the development of integrated circuitry for private and commercial use. After his PhD, he plans to move "into research and development of custom designed integrated circuitry for communication specific tasks".  Faith P. Barrett 

Faith Barrett received her BA degree in Comparative Literature from Swarthmore College and was elected to PBK in 1987. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. Her research is centered on the works of Emily Dickinson. In her dissertation she addresses theological and ethical questions contained in Dickinson's poems. Specifically she examines Dickinson's question "how is it possible for a human being to address God?" and "is it possible for one human being to address another?"  Jennifer A. Brown 

Jennifer Brown received her bachelor's degree in Biology at UCLA and was elected to PBK in 1995. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She is doing valuable research on conserving biodiversity in the terrestrial environment with focus on the marine environment. She is seeking to identify the movement of fish populations, to determine dispersal patterns of certain species, and to evaluate development of a harvest reserve to supplement harvested populations.  Keith M. Chapin 

Keith Chapin received his BA degree in Music at Yale University in 1992. He was elected to PBK in 1991. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Musicology at Stanford University. He is an accomplished performer on the viola and in chamber music. He indicates that his dissertation work on the metaphysics of counterpoint will demonstrate some of the aesthetic foundations of music theory.  Karen D. Chapple 

Karen Chapple graduated from Columbia University and was elected to PBK in May 1989 with a major in Urban Studies. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in City and Regional Planning. Her dissertation is entitled "Paths to employment: the role of social networks in the job search for poor urban women".  Carolyn E. Chen 

Carolyn Chen received her BA degree in Sociology from Brown University and was initiated into PBK in 1992. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Sociology and is working on her dissertation which in her own words "examines the high rates of conversion to evangelical Protestantism among Asian American immigrants in contemporary America".  Murray L. Eiland III

Dr. Murray Eiland received his BA degree in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Art History and was initiated into PBK at UC Berkeley in 1990. He received his PhD in Oriental Archaeology from Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He is now pursuing an MS degree in Earth Sciences at UC Santa Cruz where he is working on applying modern methods of analysis such as infra-red spectroscopy to archaeological ceramics. His objective is to unite science with archaeology to facilitate the analysis and evaluation of ceramic samples.  Eric S. Gawiser 

Eric Gawiser received his bachelor's degree in Physics and Public Policy from Princeton University and was elected to PBK in 1994. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Physics at UC Berkeley. He is performing research in cosmology and astrophysics with a specialization in investigating the history of structure formation in the universe.  Deborah G. Goldman 

Deborah Goldman received her BA degree in mathematics from MIT and was elected to PBK in 1991. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Mathematics at UC Berkeley, but her dissertation will explore a field of theoretical computer science known as approximation. This is the process of finding approximate answers to intractable problems that cannot be solved in a reasonable amount of time. 

Ryan A. Harris received his BA degree in Psychology at Stanford University and was initiated into PBK in 1993. He is now a candidate for the M.D. degree at UC San Francisco. His faculty have highest praise for his abilities as a creative and innovative researcher and analyst. In the past five years he has done extensive research in areas such as women's health issues, outpatient gastroenterology, the HIV virus, including the screening of health professionals for presence of the disease, and cardiology. He has published numerous articles and papers. According to his faculty he seems destined to be a "productive, independent investigator and a leader in his chosen field".  Meredyth A. Krych 

Meredyth Krych received her BA degree in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to PBK in 1995. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Cognitive Psychology at Stanford University. Her research area involves "the influence of word choice in biasing human memory for observed events... Her interest is to "identify particular representations and processes which are influenced by language... this has implications for understanding the relationship between the way concepts are encoded in language and people's subsequent cognition".  Peter L. Mallios 

Peter Mallios received his BA degree in English and Economics at UC Berkeley and was elected to in 1990. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in English and American literature at Stanford University. His dissertation studies Peter Conrad and James Faulkner as the two fiction writers who most adventurously carried the genre of romance fiction into the modernist period.  Julie B. Morrison 

Julie Morrison received her BA degree in Psychology from Texas Christian University and was elected to PBK in 1994. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Cognitive Psychology at Stanford University. Her primary research investigates what she refers to as "the human body scheme", namely our own "mental representation of our bodies (as we use them) in perception and action". She indicates that "It has been proposed that the concept of the body scheme serves important functions for perception and action." She is studying what kinds of ideas this concept might convey in differing kinds of situations.  Qi Wang 

Qi Wang received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Amherst College in 1994. She was elected to PBK in 1993. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Immunology at UC San Francisco. Her research has centered on study of the mechanisms by which one family of factors from the nervous system alter the functions of the major cells of immunity (T cells). She has developed a genetic procedure for studying the roles of certain T cells in protective and disease-producing immune reactions that is attracting national attention. 

THE 1997 SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

In June, 1997, we were pleased to award 15 scholarships of $3,000 each to the following outstanding students. A brief discussion of their outstanding research is linked to each name.

From UC Berkeley:

Matthew Baerman (Slavic Studies)

Danielle Lussier (Music)

John Randolph (European History)

Linda Sawyer (Civil Environmental Engineering)

Daniel Rolde (History)

From Stanford:

Sean Connolly (Biological Sciences)

Mizuko Ito (Anthropology/Education)

Kenneth Shotts (Political Science)

Jeffrey Zacks (Psychology)

From UC Santa Cruz:

Linda Tropp (Social Psychology)

James Bullock (Astronomy/Physics)

Jason Merchant (Linguistics)

From UC Davis:

Bridget Ford (History)

From UC San Francisco:

Stephen Lai (Medicine)

Serena Volpp (Medicine; Elizabeth B. Reed Scholarship)

is the 1997 winner of the prestigious Elizabeth B. Reed scholarship. She received a degree in biology and women's studies from Harvard and Radcliffe and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1992. She is now a medical student at UCSF. Serena is working "to promote equal and appropriate access to health care . . . focusing on the public health concerns of the Asian/Pacific Islander (API) community in the Bay Area". Her goal is to practice medicine in a community health clinic while performing research and teaching in a medical school. She has a deep concern for the health needs of API people and has done considerable research in Hong Kong and the USA on various facets of their health problems, physical and mental.

Matthew Baerman

is a candidate for the PhD degree in Slavic studies at UC Berkeley. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1983. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in Slavic Linguistics at UC Berkeley and is presently in Macedonia. His dissertation is entitled "Free to Fixed Stress in Slavic". The reference here is to study the evolution of fixed stress (accentual) systems in the three branches of Slavic: East, West, and South. As one of his faculty puts it "All languages have accent. In some the place of the accent in the word is predictable or 'fixed' in others it is unpredictable or 'mobile' ". Matthew is researching the question "How does a fixed accent system develop from an originally mobile system?". He has also been a tireless worker in the field gathering extensive data from village informants and making scholarly reports on his findings.

James Bullock

received the bachelor's degree in physics and math from Ohio State University and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1993. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in physics and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. He is working with others in his department to study the evolution of galaxy formation in the universe. New technology and telescopes, including the famous Hubble Space Telescope, have provided large masses of data by looking deep into the universe and back in time. According to James this is a particularly good time for this research because of the technology which is available.

Sean Connolly

graduated from Earlham College in Indiana with a degree in biology and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1993. is now studying for the PhD degree in biological sciences at Stanford University. He describes his primary academic goal as documenting regional patterns of abundance of intertidal invertebrates and to determine whether physical oceanographic processes are responsible for these patterns. He adds that an ecological understanding of coastal marine systems is important because of their high productivity and proximity to land. They are heavily harvested leading to questions of depletion. Entire economies rely upon harvesting of fish and invertebrates from these systems.

Bridget Ford

graduated from Barnard College with a degree in history. She was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1991. She is now a doctoral candidate in history at UC Davis. Her dissertation is entitled "At Slavery's Edge: Religion, Race, and Society in the Urban West 1820 - 1860". She is studying the status and role of "African-Americans and white women . . . who worked towards emancipation" in two cities, Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky. She explicitly reviews the role of religion in this process and uses a "community study" of both cities as a research tool.

Mizuko Ito

received her BA degree in East Asian studies from Harvard and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1990. She is now a candidate for a double degree PhD in Education and Anthropology at Stanford University. This will require the writing of two separate PhD theses. It is a tribute to her skill and ability that the University approved this endeavor. We are told that she is the first and so far only graduate student to have received permission to do this in these departments at Stanford. Her long term objective has been an ethnographic study of culture with focus on cross-cultural relations and social and cultural change. Currently she is studying "the use and consumption of computer games by children in several sites in the nation". She will also examine the social, cultural, and instrumental logic embedded in the games. She is an outstanding teacher and productive and creative scholar.

Stephen Lai

graduated from Stanford University with a BS degree in biological sciences and an AB degree in economics. He was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1991. He is now a candidate in the joint MD and PhD program at UC San Francisco. Stephen is an innovative and skillful researcher. He has a remarkable record of accomplishment in medical research on cancer, aids, alcoholism, retinal diseases and the impact of pediatric disease on the human immune system — all related to some of the most basic and widespread diseases known to man. He has won many honors and awards and published many articles and papers. He is an outstanding teacher. There seems to be little doubt that he will play an important role in understanding and alleviating major diseases.

Danielle Lussier

graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in music and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1991. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in music at UC Berkeley. She holds that after World War II musical aesthetics in Eastern Europe and Western Europe turned in radically different directions. She has studied the western and eastern responses to music of Bela Bartok to demonstrate this point. She describes the politics of involvement by the state (Hungary) which brought about his posthumous fall into disfavor. He was charged with writing "unacceptable, formalistic music" which he was accused of composing for “politically suspect bourgeois audiences”. It seems for a while he could not satisfy anyone as the French criticized him as having been "compromised by writing expressive, accessible music". Danielle examines these views in her dissertation “Bartok on Trial 1945-1955".

Jason Merchant

received his undergraduate degree in linguistics from Yale University. He was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1989. He is currently a candidate for the PhD degree in linguistics at UC Santa Cruz. We are told that “he ‘discovered’ ellipsis, an area of syntax and semantics that is now currently very much in vogue”. His dissertation will deal with the syntax and semantics of ellipsis in several languages including English, German and Greek. He has received an impressive number of awards and honors and has authored publications and has given presentations. He is also an excellent teacher. His faculty predicts that he will make significant contributions to linguistic theory.

John Randolph

graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in history and Russian studies and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1989. He is studying for his PhD degree in late modern European history at UC Berkeley. His dissertation is entitled "The Bakunins of Tver Province: Family, Estate and Society in Imperial Russia 1780 -1870". His dissertation "provides a unique portrait of Russian noble family life during the last hundred years of serfdom". His interest is in 19th century "Russian social thought". He uses descriptions of members of this noble family and life on their estate, Priamukhino, as a focus of his research.

Daniel Rolde

received his bachelor's degree in history from Yale University. He was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1991. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in history at UC Berkeley. Mr. Rolde is interested in the millions of Germans who were expelled from their homes in the East after the end of World War II. They were forced to flee to West Germany as Russia and Poland moved west. He wants to examine how these refugees originally integrated into the new German society and the problems associated with this process. There are significant economic, social, and political implications to this topic.

Linda Sawyer

received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Stanford University and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1990. She is a candidate for the PhD degree in civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. She plans to use her training in engineering to assist and support her work and inquiries in the field of ecology. She has designed waste water treatment facilities and is now studying biofilms, a matrix of bacterial and cellular products attached to a surface. They are found in soils, aquatic systems and drinking water systems where they can cause contamination. A better understanding of biofilms is necessary in order to control them for beneficial use.

Kenneth Shotts

received his BA degree in political science from Stanford University and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1993. He is a candidate for the PhD degree in political economics at Stanford. His long term interest within the field of American politics is the study of legislative institutions, particularly the U.S. Congress. His dissertation “examines the effects of racial gerrymandering on national policy”. This is a topic that has been in the national news in recent years. He has won praise from his faculty for his research in this field.

Linda Tropp

received a double degree in psychology and Spanish from Wellesley College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1992. She is now a candidate for the PhD degree in social psychology at UC Santa Cruz. Linda is an experienced and capable researcher and is highly respected by her faculty. She is working on projects and subjects in the field of social psychology. She has a history of directing or working with others in projects such as "the effect of identification with the college community on white females and on women of color". She is very interested in questions of self-identity and self-esteem.

Jeffrey Zacks

received his bachelor's degree in psychology at Yale University and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1992. He is now a candidate for the PhD degree in cognitive psychology at Stanford University. He has an "ongoing interest in the intersection of cognition and technology". He is researching event perception and cognition, for example, the threshold between experiencing something and turning it into a memory.

*The Phi Beta Kappa Society maintains a Membership Info Page which may be consulted for further information about election to Phi Beta Kappa.