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New Phi Beta Kappa Members Inducted for 2021

Alma College inducts students into the nation’s most prestigious honor society

ALMA — Twenty-two Alma College students have been selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, America’s most prestigious scholastic honorary society.

The newest members were inducted during an in-person ceremony on April 22 at Zimmerman Hall, in the college’s Wright Leppien Opera House. The ceremony was one of the first large, in-person gatherings held at Alma College this past year, organizers said, and was a “return to normalcy” after last year’s induction ceremony was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was profoundly meaningful to have the community of Phi Beta Kappa back together in one room, including the students who were already members, the students who were becoming members and my fellow colleagues, who are members,” said Benjamin Peterson, an assistant professor of history and political science at Alma College, as well as an advisor for Phi Beta Kappa. “It felt like a return to tradition after our historic virtual ceremony last year.”

Among those in attendance were President Jeff Abernathy, as well as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathleen Dougherty. Several students who were inducted last year attended and were inducted in-person at this year’s event.

“Phi Beta Kappa is the highest honor the college can bestow on our graduates. Your work here exemplifies the work we hope all students will do,” Abernathy told the students in attendance. “Congratulations to each of you for all you have accomplished here and for the remarkable achievement that is the honor of joining Phi Beta Kappa.”

The event was highlighted by two finalists for the 2021 Barlow Trophy, Kaleb Ramon and trophy winner Maggie Patterson, who was selected by five separate inductees to introduce them to the organization. The practice — a member-read introduction message on behalf of inductees, an idea conceived by PBK inductee Elizabeth Flatoff — was implemented for the first time this year by acting president Nhan Le to build relationships between generations of members and inductees.

Despite the in-person nature of the event, organizers conducted it in strict classroom decorum as stipulated by Alma College’s safety protocol throughout the school year. Everyone attending in-person wore a face covering and maintained social distancing, forgoing customary gestures like hugs and handshakes in favor of warm greetings.

Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa recognizes excellence in liberal education, stressing intellectual discipline and achievement. Members are selected on the basis of their outstanding academic achievement in the traditional arts, sciences and humanities. Eligibility requires at least a 3.75 grade point average (GPA) for a junior and a 3.50 GPA for a senior. Among other requirements are proficiency in college mathematics and a second language.

This year marks the 41th anniversary of Alma College’s chapter, which was founded in 1979. The college’s Eta Chapter is one of 290 in the United States and one of eight in Michigan. Alma College has inducted 477 students into Phi Beta Kappa.

  • Senior Jessica Araway of Mt. Pleasant, MI, a graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School, is majoring in political science and Spanish.
  • Senior Aubrey Boos of Walker, MI, a graduate of Kenowa Hills High School, is majoring in integrative physiology and health science, and psychology.
  • Senior Abigail Davenport of Downers Grove, IL, a graduate of Downers Grove South High School, is majoring in physics and mathematics.
  • Senior Parker Fitzgerald of Grand Ledge, MI, a graduate of Grand Ledge High School, is majoring in biochemistry.
  • Senior Elizabeth Flatoff of Highland, MI, a graduate of International Academy, is majoring in political science and Spanish.
  • Senior Pedro Granja Berrios of Juigalpa, Nicaragua, a graduate of Unknown International School, is majoring in neuroscience.
  • Senior Destiny Herbers of Roscommon, MI, a graduate of Roscommon High School, is majoring in communication.
  • Senior Kathryn Kildea of St. Clair Shores, MI, a graduate of Lakeview High School, is majoring in hisrory.
  • Senior Nolan Kukla of Auburn, MI, a graduate of Bay City Western High School, is majoring in sociology and psychology.
  • Senior Anna Lauer of Coopersville, MI, a graduate of Coopersville High School, is majoring in Spanish and political science.
  • Senior Kegan Miller of Kalamazoo, MI, a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School, is majoring in German and international business administration.
  • Senior Jacqueline Newman of Ira, MI, a graduate of Anchor Bay High School, is majoring in English and biology.
  • Senior Asia Patterson of Ludington, MI, a graduate of Ludington High School, is majoring in Spanish and new media studies.
  • Senior Maighdlin Patterson of Grand Rapids, MI, a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School, is majoring in integrative physiology and health science, and German.
  • Senior Taeler Ponsart of Bancroft, MI, a graduate of Fowlerville High School, is majoring in psychology and biology. Ponsart was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior.
  • Senior Kaleb Ramon of Mt. Pleasant, MI, a graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School, is majoring in biology.
  • Senior Santiago Ribadeneira Del Corral of Quito, Ecuador, a graduate of Unknown International School, is majoring in French and business administration.
  • Senior Dayna Schaefer of Brighton, MI, a graduate of Hartland High School, is majoring in integrative physiology and health science.
  • Senior Tanvi Sharma of Saginaw, MI, a graduate of Heritage High School, is majoring in chemistry.
  • Senior Lauren Smit of Midland, MI, a graduate of Midland High School, is majoring in English.
  • Senior Courtney Smith of Bluffton, IN, a graduate of Bluffton High School, is majoring in biology.
  • Senior Eleanor Smith of Rochester Hills, MI, a graduate of International Academy, is majoring in neuroscience.
Story published on May 07, 2021