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26 Burchard Scholars Named By HASS School

By Jennifer Lane
Contributing Editor

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences recently named 26 sophomores and juniors Burchard Scholars for 1997.

The awards are given in honor of John Ely Burchard, the HASS school's first dean. Honored students will have the opportunity to attend a series of dinners where an MIT faculty member will present a work in progress.

Students are chosen who have demonstrated "a commitment to the humanities and social sciences,"said Philip S. Khoury, dean of the school and cofounder of the program.

This year, roughly 80 students applied to be Burchard Scholars, Khoury said. Applicants submit an essay and a reference letter from a professor from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. A student's GPAis not factored into the final decision, Khoury said.

Burchard Scholars come from a wide variety of interests and majors, Khoury said. There is no bias in the awards process toward students with humanities majors, he said.

In fact, this year, there are a higher number of biology majors than usual, Khoury said.

Students welcome faculty contacts

Some of the honored students said they are glad to have the opportunity to remove themselves from their regular workload and engage in discussion on humanities and social science issues.

"Ifeel that college is the time to explore your interests and meet people your age who share those interests," said Ania C. Busza '99.

Busza is looking forward to the opportunity to discuss a wide variety of issues and topics with the other Burchard Scholars and not "just eat amazing dinners."

Busza is a biology major and wrote her application essay on archaeology.

"It's a good opportunity for MIT students who share both an interest and a competency in the humanities to discuss academic-type issues with professors that we normally wouldn't talk with," said Rishi Shrivastava '98.

The program is worthwhile because it gives students a chance to get to know faculty members, he said.

Shrivastava is a management major interested in writing.

"I'm glad that there's something like this for the humanities. It gives us a chance to go beyond engineering," said Aalok B. Shah '99. It is a "chance to break out of the mold."

Shah is majoring in computer science and hopes to minor in history.

Faculty to speak at dinners

A series of dinners are the focal point of the Burchard Scholar program, Khoury said. Featured speakers present their work at the dinners, and the students have an opportunity to discuss humanities, arts, and social science issues with each other and the speakers.

Speakers over the next semester will include Associate Professor of Economics Jonathan Gruber, Chair of the Faculty and Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Lawrence S. Bacow '72, Assistant Professor of History of Science Evelyn M. Hammonds, and Professor of Music John H. Harbison.

The junior awarded the 1997 Burchard Scholars are Susan E. Born '98, Daniel A. Freedman '98, Megan L. Hepler '98, Adrian P. Lingaya '98, Aidan N. Low '98, Amy Ly '98, Jennifer A. Pinson '98, Valaiporn J. Rusmintratip '98, Maya R. Said '98, Lydia Sandon '98, Elizabeth C. Schofield '98, Shrivastava, Robinanne J. Stancavage '98, Amy Towfighi '98, and Farhan H. Zaidi '98.

The sophomores honored are Busza, Emily B. Cooper '97, Maitreya J. Dunham '97, Matthew J. Herper '97, Irene K. Kim '97, William M. Leblanc '97, Kalpana L. Mani '97, Nicholas A. Mathewson '97, Christopher H. Rohrs '97, Shah, and Katherine M. Spayde '97.