For immediate release June 2, 2020

Announcing Phi Beta Kappa’s Inaugural Key into Public Service Scholars

Program Connects Arts and Sciences Students with Scholarships
and Public Sector Pathway Opportunities

The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society, announces today the inaugural recipients of a new undergraduate scholarship program designed to connect promising liberal arts and sciences students with opportunities in public service.
Selected from over 600 applicants attending Phi Beta Kappa chapter institutions across the nation, the Key into Public Service Scholars hail from 14 states and three countries. The students display a wide variety of academic interests, ranging from a math and history double major to an economics major minoring in environmental science. Each scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and take part in a virtual convening in late June to provide them with training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into active citizenship.
It is a critical time to educate a new generation about government and inspire them to consider a career in public service. Only 6 percent of the roughly 2 million permanent, full-time federal employees are under the age of 30, a number that has declined from 9% since 2010. 
“The academic achievement, breadth and depth in the liberal arts and sciences, and demonstrated interest in public service of these accomplished students truly stand out, even among the many impressive applicants we reviewed from our chapter campuses across the nation,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. “At this time in our country when the value of expertise, experience, and service is very clear, the Society proudly applauds them for their pursuit of liberal arts and sciences excellence in the public interest.”
The Society congratulates the following students, their families, and chapter institutions:

Jessia Avila, McDaniel College
Veronica Backer-Peral, Loyola Marymount University
Mikaela Benton, Elon University
Zeyu Chen, University of Pennsylvania
Hadiyah Cummings, Howard University
Brevin Franklin, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Bennet Franz, Roanoke College
Diana Gavrykh, Temple University
Saman Haddad, University of California, Los Angeles
Madeline Handy, University of California, Davis
Robert Henson, University of Alabama
Wasiq Javed, University of Houston
Mariam Khayata, Rhodes College
Darin Li, Williams College
William McCarter, Pennsylvania State University
Maria Oliveira, University of Connecticut –Stamford
Nitan Shanas, Rutgers University–Camden
Oluwanifemi Shola-Dare, Washington State University
Nicholas Sligh, Stanford University
Alyssa Tamboura, University of California, Santa Cruz

For more information about the scholarship and links to individual biographies of the recipients, please visit


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 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, 41 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 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