Jedediah S. Purdy (ΦBK, Harvard University) is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He teaches and writes on constitutional, environmental, and property law as well as legal theory and law’s intersection with social and political thought. Purdy has authored six books, including After Nature and a trilogy on American politics that concluded with A Tolerable Anarchy.
Jeffrey Hom (ΦBK, Bowdoin College) is a policy advisor in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, where he provides guidance to the Health Commissioner on programs and policies related to the wellbeing of all Philadelphians. His present focus is on substance use, in particular issues around access to treatment and overdose prevention. He is also a board-certified internist and cares for patients at the Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Georgene Huang (ΦBK, Cornell University) is deeply invested in improving the workplace experience for women. As the CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss.com, the largest career community for women online, Huang provides millions of women with career connections, career advice, and elusive intel about how specific companies treat women and value gender equality.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (ΦBK, Stanford University) is an author, data scientist, and speaker who studies what we can learn about people from new, internet data sources. His 2017 book Everybody Lies was a New York Times bestseller and an Economist Book of the Year. Seth is a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times and has worked as a visiting lecturer at the Wharton School and a data scientist at Google.
Sarah Handley-Cousins (ΦBK, Wells College) is a clinical assistant professor of history and associate director of the Center for Disability Studies at the University at Buffalo. Her historical research focuses on gender, medicine, disability, and the military in the Civil War era. She is an editor and writer for the blog Nursing Clio, and managing editor and co-producer of DIG: A History Podcast.
Pamela Trotman Reid (ΦBK, Howard University) is currently a Senior Scholar at Wayne State University, and President Emerita at the University of Saint Joseph. She is also President of the Greater Detroit Association Phi Beta Kappa, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa senate.
Ayanna Thompson (ΦBK Columbia University) is director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University. Dr. Thompson specializes in Renaissance drama and issues of race in performance, and is one of the country’s premiere Shakespeare scholars. Currently the president of the Shakespeare Association of America, Thompson served as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 2017-2018 term, and has been featured on our Key Conversations podcast.
Caty Borum Chattoo (ΦBK, Virginia Tech) is Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact and Executive in Residence in the School of Communication at American University. She is an award-winning communication strategist and documentary film/TV producer working at the intersection of social-change communication, research, documentary and entertainment storytelling.
Dr. Russell Mittermeier (ΦBK, Dartmouth University) is the Chief Conservation Officer at Global Wildlife Conservation and a world leader in the field of biodiversity and tropical forest conservation. Trained as a primatologist and herpetologist, he has traveled widely on seven continents, and has conducted field work in more than 30 countries, focusing particularly on Amazonia (especially Brazil and Suriname), the Atlantic Forest region of Brazil, and Madagascar.
Catherine Schreiber (ΦBK, Yale College) is a two-time Tony Award winning Broadway producer, writer, and actress. Best known as a producer of Clybourne Park (2012) and the 2018 revival of Angels in America, she was named the Broadway Global Producer of the Year in 2017. She has received numerous awards, including six Tony nominations, four Olivier nominations, and an Evening Standard Award.
Jordan Thomas is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this past spring. At Princeton, Thomas concentrated in Public and International Affairs and received certificates in Portuguese Language and Culture and African American Studies. He is currently a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and has deferred his enrollment into Yale Law School until 2020.
Matthew A. Kriegsman (ΦBK, Brandeis University, 2011) is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Formerly an attorney and mediator at the New York City Unified Family Court System, he earned his pilot’s license at only 18 years old. As member of the New York Phi Beta Kappa Association leadership team, he has recently launched PBKNY’s Young Professionals Network.
William Bialek (ΦΒΚ, University of California, Berkeley) is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University and a former ΦΒΚ Visiting Scholar. An award-winning theoretical physicist interested in the phenomena of life, Bialek is known for his work emphasizing the approach of biological systems to the fundamental physical limits on their performance. His research has contributed to our understanding of coding and computation in the brain.
Tamar Mardirossian Kaprelian is an Armenian-American singer, songwriter, and social entrepreneur. Her debut album, Sinner or a Saint, was released in 2010, and in 2015 she represented Armenia in the Eurovision Song Contest. She is a co-founder of Nvak, a music education program for talented musicians in countries facing social, political, and economic difficulties. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2016.
Anmar Jerjees is a Phi Beta Kappa member graduating this year from Davidson College. He migrated as refugee from Iraq, and was determined to overcome challenges and cultural misconceptions on the path to becoming a top student at Davidson, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and a Gaither Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Deborah Krieger is a freelance arts and culture writer, the curatorial assistant at the Delaware Art Museum, and an advising editor for Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College in 2016 and received a Fulbright Combined Grant for study and teaching in Vienna, Austria, from 2016-2017.
Rose Hendricks currently works as a Researcher at the FrameWorks Institute, where she studies public thinking about social and scientific issues and runs tests frames that improve communications about those issues. She is a former member of the leadership team for ComSciCon, a workshop series organized by graduate students, for graduate students, focused on improving science communication skills.
Vincent L. Wimbush, Ph.D. (ΦΒΚ, Morehouse College) is an internationally recognized scholar of religion and a former Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. The founding director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures, he has authored or edited over a dozen books, and is the past president of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Greg Woodburn (ΦΒΚ, University of Southern California) has worked with many top organizations dedicated to social impact through education, sports, community development, and partnerships. A former student-athlete and Rhodes Scholar Finalist, Woodburn founded Give Running, a nonprofit organization that brings together and builds up young people through running and service to promote success in life.
Catherine White Berheide (ΦBK, Beloit College) is the current President of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. A distinguished professor of sociology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, and a member of the ΦBK Senate since 2000, she has worked to advance the ideals of the Society on her campus and guided some of ΦBK's most vital national committees.
Patrick Smyth (ΦΒΚ Kenyon College, 2009) is an English PhD student and Digital Fellow at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). As someone whose work builds bridges between technology and literature, he came to the attention of the ΦΒΚ National Arts and Sciences Initiative recently because he developed a compelling digital tool to help demonstrate the value of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Media executive Tony Maciulis and journalist and noted author George Anders moderated panel discussions last month at Key Connections events for recent Phi Beta Kappa inductees. Maciulis, a well-known New York news producer, and Anders, who has just published a new book about the power of the liberal arts, You Can Do Anything, shared some of their insights about work, life and learning.
This edition of Behind the Key features two members who have spent the summer as part of the ΦΒΚ National Office team – Claire Halffield, ΦΒΚ Communications Assistant, who graduated from DePauw University this past spring, and Mackenzie Fusco, ΦΒΚ Arts & Sciences Initiative Assistant, who is currently a rising senior at The George Washington University.
Robert Cooper (ΦΒΚ, Williams College) is a scientist who believes in the importance of public conversations about science. He volunteers at science outreach events and was a lead organizer for the March for Science in San Diego, California. After studying physics in college and graduating from Princeton University with a PhD in molecular biology, he is now completing a postdoc at UC San Diego.
Allison C. Meier (ΦBK, University of Oklahoma) is a Brooklyn-based writer and arts journalist who is fascinated by cemeteries and overlooked histories. Currently, she is on staff at Hyperallergic, and moonlights as a tour guide at New York burial grounds.
Renu Urvashi Sagreiya, Phi Beta Kappa, Agnes Scott College, has a passion for service. In this interview, she talks about the way her childhood in an immigrant family shaped her aspirations and her desire to use her education to build bridges between those who have a voice and those who do not.
James Ragan, a Phi Beta Kappa member who formerly directed the University of Southern California Master of Professional Writing program and an internationally recognized poet, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist. He is the subject of the Arina Films documentary, Flowers and Roots, the 2016 Platinum Prize winner at the Houston International Film Festival.
Meet Ruby Au, a recent graduate of University of Southern California and Co-Founder of Lumen Labs, a market survey company that integrates data collection with digital learning to create a sustainable model for computer education in rural Kenya.
John Ashton (ΦΒΚ, Rice University) is currently a Structural Engineer and the new President of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Chicago Area.
Field(s) of Study: Civil Engineering (B.S.), Archaeology (Coherent Minor)
Anna Katherine Brodbeck (ΦΒΚ, New York University) is currently The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Samantha Massell (ΦΒΚ, University of Michigan), starring in Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof, offers her perspective on the importance of bringing a well-rounded perspective and personal connection to her roles on stage, and also shares thoughts on working with Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and the future of musical theater.
Although Bess Stillman (ΦΒΚ, Arizona State University) works as an ER physician, her love of science hasn’t overshadowed her passion for writing and storytelling. With a recent feature on The Moth Radio Hour and a book in the works, Stillman shows that it is possible to pursue a successful blend of the arts and the sciences.
Junior Phi Beta Kappa inductee Shawn Syed (The College of New Jersey, 2016), is not waiting for college to be over to pursue his passions. A Philosophy major with minors in Political Science and Business, Shawn already has worked with a variety of political figures, including U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and President Barak Obama.
Dr. Suzie Asha Park (ΦBK, Duke University) is a professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, and a Phi Beta Kappa senator.
Esther Jones Cowan (ΦBK, Fisk University) is a professor of English at Clark University, and a Phi Beta Kappa senator.
ΦBK, University of Utah
Occupation: Professor in Residence at Zoho in Pleasanton, CA
Field(s) of Study: History and Classics, Humanities, Literature
ΦBK, Florida International University
Occupation: AmeriCorps VISTA Community Awareness Coordinator with Take Stock in Children in Miami, FL
Field(s) of Study: Public Administration and Minor in Political Science
ΦBK, University of California-San Diego
Occupation: Student at Marian University-College of Osteopathic Medicine
Field(s) of Study: Biochemistry-Cell Biology
ΦBK, The University of Iowa
Occupation: Senior, The University of Iowa; student teacher at Iowa City High School
Field(s) of Study: Vocal Performance, K-12 Music Education
ΦΒΚ, Vassar College
Occupation: Skadden Fellow, Staff Attorney at Housing Work
Field(s) of Study: French (undergrad), law (grad)
ΦΒΚ, Spelman College
Occupation: Marketing and Branding Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Field of Study: Theater studies
Occupation: Principal, Landstown High School: Governor’s STEM and Technology Academy, Virginia Beach, Va.
Chapter: University of Virginia
Field of Study: American government, American history, social foundations of education
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Food Consultant, and Translator. Founder of Carolina Sanchez Food & Lifestyle Consulting and CSH Translation.
Chapter and Induction Year: Rhodes College 2012
Field(s) of Study: BA, International Studies Rhodes College
MA, Food Studies, New York University