Named Burchard ScholarsBy Eric Richard
Twenty-five sophomores and juniors were recently named Ely Burchard Scholars for 1994.
The Burchard Scholars Program is sponsored by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and brings together faculty and undergraduates in a series of monthly dinners.
The program attempts to create a "more intense community of undergraduates who have a commitment to the humanities, arts, and social sciences," said Phillip S. Khoury, dean of the SHSS and cofounder of the program.
"We try to offer students a discourse that we think is very important to their education," Khoury said. The program allows students to discover "how rich the humanities, arts, and social sciences are at MIT, and how diverse and interesting they are," he said.
"I think it will be good for me to get a broader understanding of all the areas of the humanities and social sciences," said 1994 Burchard Scholar Mike H. Joo '95, a biology major.
"I hope the program will help me to explore more of the humanities side of the school," said Anthony K. Sebro Jr. '95, a mechanical engineering major. "I think that it will give me a break from the same mind-set that typical classes offer."
Eminent faculty speak at dinners
In addition to providing an intellectual community, the program, which is also called MIT's undergraduate Society of Fellows, provides new social ties, Khoury said.
Scholars can form new friendships from their discussions, he said. "They go away feeling a [sense] of community that they didn't necessarily have before."
At each of the monthly meetings, a member of the MIT faculty speaks about his field. "Truly eminent speakers in the MIT faculty are regular speakers in the program," Khoury said. "In addition, we try to diversify [the topics]. ... We are trying to appeal to the range of student interests."
Last year's speakers included Institute Professor and nobel laureate in economics Robert M. Solow and Institute Professor Noam A. Chomsky.
This semester, the planned speakers are Arthur Steinberg, professor of anthropology and archaeology; Daniel T. Kryder, instructor of political science; Evelynn M. Hammonds, assistant professor in the program for Science, Technology and Society; and Peter S. Donaldson, professor of literature.
Program offers new perspective
Several award recipients noted that the program will offer them a break from the hard sciences and an opportunity to engage in interesting conversations.
Burchard Scholar Melissa S. Rones '95, a biology major, described the program as a "really interesting opportunity to talk with faculty and students in a more informal setting than the classroom." She added, "It should allow me to share experiences and to get a chance to have a more intensive humanities-based program."
Grace W. Cheng '96, a biology major, concurred. "I am really interested in literature, and I just wanted something to supplement my course load."
"It is a different way of approaching things that I am not exposed to on a daily basis," Cheng said. "I kind of missed having that kind of time spent looking at social issues."
The 25 Burchard Scholars of 1994 are: Dante N. Anderson '95, Oded I. Asherie '96, Tobias H. Ayer '95, Grace W. Cheng '96, Catherine Cho '95, Gwen C. Creventsen '96, Michael T. Decerbo '95, Mike H. Joo '95, Amy K.W. Koo '95, Sabrina Kwon '95, Gwendolyn K. Lee '95, Ximena Leroux '96, Catherine J. Mangion '95, Kristine E. McCaffrey '96, Edward A. Miguel '96, Elizabeth Morales '96, Carrie R. Muh '96, Yumi Oshima '95, Scott A. Rhodes '95, Melissa S. Rones '95, Bernard Schnurr '95, Anthony K. Sebro '95, Philip W. Tracadas '95, Surekha Vajjhala '96, and Jason A. Wertheim '96.