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31 Named Burchard Scholars for Excellence in the Humanities

By Carina Fung
Staff Reporter

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences named thirty-one students with a variety of majors and interests as Burchard Scholars for 1996.

The awards are given in the honor of the first dean of MIT, John Ely Burchard, and are given to students who excel in the areas embraced by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The thirty-one sophomores and juniors were honored at a welcome banquet and invited to the first of a series of dinners with a rotating group of faculty.

At the semi-formal dinner in February, Assistant Professor of Political Science Stephen Ansolabehere spoke about the effects of negative campaigning.

Several students agreed that the talk was very relevant, since it was given the week of the New Hampshire primaries. Ansolabehere was "surprisingly understated in his manner" and gave "very simple yet insightful answers," said Guang-Ien Cheng '97.

The Burchard Program is "a reminder and affirmation that science and engineering are distinctly human endeavors," Cheng said. "The program allows us to celebrate the humanities and not oppose them, even at a science-oriented school such as MIT."

The program allows humanities students to "get in touch with people we wouldn't ordinarily meet," said Grant Y. Smith '97.

Radha Nandagopal '97 said that being named a Burchard Scholar is personally important to her because "it shows that MIT recognizes the value of humanities." She also said that the program facilitates a better environment at MIT.

Scholars find their niche at MIT

"A lot of times, I don't feel like I fit in here, as if I were on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Burchard Program shows me that there is a place for people like me. There is a community recognized for us," said Lin-Ann Ching '98, who is pursuing degrees in both architecture and music and theater arts.

David Montgomery '98 said the program provides "a good chance to interact with humanities professors." He also said that the faculty-student dinners are centered upon timely topics and provide good commentary on current events.

"I am honored to be chosen as a Burchard Scholar because at such a science-oriented school, to be recognized in a non-science area is really great," said Anna E. Lee '97.

The 1996 Burchard Scholars are:

Sophomores: Lin-Ann Ching, Louise D. Forrest, Ryan J. Kershner, Donald E. Lacey, Jr., Leslie A. Martin, David R. Montgomery, and Kevin A. Simmons.

Juniors: Martin M. Calles, Lawrence K. Chang, Guang-Ien Cheng, Karyn J. Cheng, Rajat Deo, Carl A. Frank, Eugenia L Hahn, Teresa Huang, Vassiliki Koumandou, Anna E. Lee, Richard Y. Lee, Juliana Leung, Andrew D. Lobban, Jennifer A. Markowitz, Mala Murthy, Radha Nandagopal, Jacobo M. Orenstein-Cardona, Luis A. Pizano, Pardis C. Sabeti, Grant Y. Smith, Mayukh V. Sukhatme, Wilson W. Tai, Cindy W. Tom, and Savalai K. Vaikakul.