For immediate release April 8, 2024

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces 2024 Winner of the Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society has chosen Ella Kirsh, PhD Candidate at Brown University, as the winner of the 2024 Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship. Established in 1934 by Isabelle Stone (ΦΒΚ, Wellesley College) in honor of her mother, this fellowship recognizes exceptional young scholars in the field of French or Greek language, literature, and culture.

Kirsh earned her Master of Studies with Distinction in Greek and Latin languages and literature at the University of Oxford, and her Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Literae Humaniores at the University of Oxford.

With the Sibley Fellowship, Kirsh will be awarded a stipend of $20,000 that she plans to use to conduct research to adapt her dissertation into a book. Her project, “The Memory-writers: a social and intellectual history of shorthand in Late Antiquity,” tracks the development of shorthand as a cultural artifact throughout late antiquity, from the fourth to the seventh centuries CE. Her project “weaves together this linguistic history of shorthand with an investigation of shorthand-writers in the institutional record” and “reveals both how shorthand-writers were viewed by others and how lives spent toggling between symbols and alphabets influenced the way they imagined themselves and their society.”

Kirsh aims to enhance the existing body of scholarly work on this subject by raising “new questions about the role of non-elite people in shaping the entire written record” from late antiquity. She hopes these contributions will make the project suitable for eventual publication in an academic monograph, to be adapted from the dissertation.

For more information on the Sibley Fellowship, please contact Mary Schommer.

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at over 290 colleges and universities in the United States, nearly 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 150 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit