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Twenty-Six Burchard Scholars Selected

By Karen E. Robinson

Twenty-six sophomores and juniors have been chosen as this year’s Burchard Scholars in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Students will meet monthly to have dinner and listen to an MIT faculty member discuss his or her current “scholarship, research, or artistic creations,” said Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School and co-founder of the Burchard Scholars Program.

At small dinner tables, a half-dozen students and a few faculty members will listen to an invited speaker, discuss the day’s topic over dinner, then ask pertinent questions. “The idea is to provide high quality food for thought and for physical nourishment on the same occasion,” Khoury said. Nine monthly dinners are scheduled over the course of the next two terms.

The students are a diverse group, from 13 different majors. “They don’t have to major or minor in any of the HASS areas but they normally will have taken a good number of subjects in one or more areas within HASS,” said Khoury.

Society of fellows in humanities

The Burchard Scholars Program was established 14 years ago by Khoury and Professor of History Bruce Mazlish. They intended to facilitate discussions among students about issues of importance in the various HASS fields, Khoury said.

Khoury and Mazlish hoped to “establish a society of fellows in the humanities, arts, and social sciences that would give undergraduates interested in HASS fields an opportunity to find one another.”

Simone Berkowitz ’02, one of this year's scholars, said that she applied to the program because a student at MIT is unable to get enough exposure to the humanities “unless you put yourself out.” She hopes that the Burchard Scholar dinners will be a good opportunity to meet people and discuss HASS issues in more depth.

Students are chosen by a panel of HASS faculty members who look for students with “a keen interest and commitment to learning in the humanities, arts, and social sciences,” Khoury said.

Last December, students submitted an essay and a letter of recommendation from a member of the HASS faculty with their application forms. Decisions were made public last week.

Burchard Scholars for 2000 are: Daniel Berger, political science; Blake Brasher, architecture; Samidh Chakrabarti, electrical engineering and computer science and brain and cognitive sciences; Eric Chang, biology; Irena Goldenberg, economics and management; David Hu, mathematics; Miya Kayahara, materials science and engineering; Douglas Kriner, political science and history; Emily Meyer, physics and mathematics; Laura Moulton, history; Delphine Nain, computer science and electrical engineering; Philip Osafo-Kwaako, chemical engineering; Dawn Perlner, mathematics and music; Anand Sarwate, electrical engineering and mathematics; Peter Shulman, mathematics; Manu Sridharan, computer science; Carl Steinbach, computer science; GiRim Sung, biology; Philip Tan, comparative media studies; Hilarie Tomasiewicz, biology; Jeffrey Vieregg, physics and electrical engineering; Simone Berkowitz, economics; Nathaniel Choge, EECS; ManYan Ku, biology; Tara Rao, biology; and Daniel Riordan, biology and mathematics.