Academic Affairs

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Phi Beta Kappa Society

  • Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most esteemed academic honor society in the United States. Established in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. The society embraces freedom of inquiry, and liberty of thought and expression.
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    • The Lambda of Massachusetts Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Clark University in 1953. Every year, a select group of seniors who exemplify excellence in the Arts and Sciences, great character, and high potential are invited to join the chapter. Selection is made on the basis of outstanding academic achievement, demonstrated breadth and depth of studies in the liberal arts, intellectual curiosity and integrity, and tolerance for diverse views. Only 286 colleges and universities shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapters; additionally, there are dozens of PBK associations across the United States and one in London comprised of Phi Beta Kappa alumni no longer affiliated with a college or university.

      Election to Phi Beta Kappa is a widely recognized honor that expresses the Chapter's admiration for a student's academic and intellectual achievements. Election to the society is held in the Spring semester, conducted by faculty members who are members of PBK. These faculty determine the final selection on the basis of the academic records of candidates and the recommendations of the Clark faculty at large. To be considered, students must show a diversity as well as a depth in coursework outside the major; demonstrate knowledge of a second or non-native language through the completion of the intermediate college level or its equivalent; and have completed at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic or statistics. The induction ceremony is usually held the day before commencement before an audience of family, friends, and PBK faculty.

      The Phi Beta Kappa key is the official emblem of the society. On one side of the square metal key are the letters SP (for Societas Philosophae) and on the other the Greek letters Phi Beta Kappa which means "love of learning is the guide of life." The pointing finger and three stars represent the young scholars' ambition as well as the three principles of the fraternity: friendship, morality, and learning.

Chapter Events

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar shares insights

Shelly Tenenbaum, Jeffrey Alexander, Esther Jones

Esteemed scholar, social theorist, and 2014-15 Phi Beta Kappa Society Visiting Scholar Jeffrey Alexander recently spent two days (Dec. 1-2, 2014) at Clark University engaged in and helping to guide a host of lively intellectual activities, focusing mostly on the field of cultural trauma and collective identity. Read more

Left: from left to right—Shelly Tenenbaum, Jeffrey Alexander, Esther Jones


Student News

PBK Sophomore Prizes Continue to Recognize Early Academic Achievement

Andrew Bellesis was awarded our second annual sophomore prize for 2014. The PBK Prize is awarded to an outstanding sophomore who has demonstrated a commitment to the rigorous inquiry encouraged by this honor society. Andrew was nominated for the prize by three faculty members from various departments. A biochemistry and molecular biology major, a Holocaust and genocide studies concentrator, and a member of Clark's concert choir, Andrew exemplifies the PBK ideals of rigorous pursuit of knowledge through inquiry not only through his excellence in his academic studies, but also through his breadth of intellectual curiosity, academic inquiry and university engagement. Yisrael Lattke, a chemistry major, received our first prize in 2013.

Writing internship recipients

Clark students Shalyn Hopley '14, Charlotte Turner '14 and Austin Alexander '13 were awarded writing internships with the national office of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Washington, D.C. for which they prepared publishable articles for Phi Beta Kappa's new site The Key Reporter. Read their articles, below.

Shalyn Hopley
"As an English major and soon-to-be college graduate, I have invested my time and money into the liberal arts, and as a typical college student, I spend plenty of time perusing the internet. Understandably then, any article that pronounces my path of studies to be 'dead' flashes bright red on my radar screen. When I saw Joseph Epstein's article 'Who Killed the Liberal Arts? And Why We Should Care' in The Weekly Standard, I immediately bookmarked it…" More »

Charlotte Turner
"Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states: 'No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.' Forty years later, Title IX remains one of the most important legislative decisions regarding education in America…" More »

Austin Alexander
"In a recent article in The New York Times, 'Muslims from Abroad Are Thriving at Catholic Colleges,' Richard Pérez-Peña brings to light a new and interesting trend in American Catholic universities. Increasingly, students from the Muslim world intent on earning degrees in the United States are opting to attend faith-based institutions steeped in Christian values rather than secular schools. As a representative of the University of Dayton in Ohio reported to Pérez-Peña, that school's Muslim population has increased more than six-fold in the last decade and features a much higher proportion of women…" More »

Phi Beta Kappa Member Spotlight

  • Aaron Foster BresleyAaron Foster Bresley

    Aaron Foster Bresley knew music was his forte when he entered Clark, but when he contemplated actually majoring in music composition, he worried that "no one does that."
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    • He decided to follow his passion, however, and his facility in music lead to one success after another: at Clark, he was the Musical Director of numerous campus musicals, including Curtains and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; was a Peer Learning Assistant, in which he was able to tutor students in musical concepts; and wrote various compositions, primarily for string quartets. Aaron's sensitivity to the way people would hear his music lead him to produce winning pieces. As an army brat, Aaron had natural awareness and interest in the way people think, especially people of different cultures, which he explored through his varied coursework in international relations, economics and French. This fall he is entering the California Institute of Arts to pursue his Master of Arts in music composition. One day he may pursue his Ph.D. in music composition so he can teach at the college level and continue to write music, in the way he feels his beloved professors in the Music Department at Clark imparted both their knowledge and talent to their students.

  • Oana ChiminaOana Chimina

    Growing up in Romania where she had specialized in foreign languages-bilingual in high school, Oana Chimina had long had diverse intellectual interests in foreign languages, history, politics, and literature, which she pursued at Clark through her major in International Relations and French.
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    • Her serious engagement with her studies lead to notable experiences abroad and at Clark. As a sophomore, she spent a semester in France at the University of Burgundy, studying French literature and culture, and at Clark, she started the European Students Association, as well as worked as a research assistant for professors in political science, and wrote honors theses in both International Relations and French.Her skill in language and politics culminated in a significant project supported through a Harrington Public Affairs Fellowship, in which she examined the effectiveness of the National against Trafficking Persons in Romania in hindering human trafficking. In recognition of her many successes, she was admitted to the political science honor society and awarded the Sallie R. Holthausen Prize for Excellence in International Relations and the J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in French. During the summer she had a consulting internship with the International Data Corporation and a second internship with the Social Science Research Council, in a program on security in post-conflict societies coordinated by the London School of Economics.  This fall she is attending Cambridge University in the UK where she is pursuing an M.Phil. in International Relations.

  • Alexis LightnerAlexis Lightner

    Alexis Lightner has parlayed her impressive academic background in communication and the innovation and entrepreneurship program to effect a real change in Clark's campus community.
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    • Earlier in her academic career at Clark, Alexis had held a prestigious internship in London where she wrote and published blog posts for ABC. Back at Clark, she has used her media and business savvy to further Clark's mission of fostering the campus community. With the goals of reducing waste on campus, creating employment opportunities for students, and providing college students with a place to purchase inexpensive essentials, Alexis created a winning proposal for a neighborhood thrift store, which she brought to fruition. After taking first place in the U-REKA: Clark's Big Idea contest, a campus-wide competition to benefit the Clark campus community, Alexis acquired the seed money for this project. The campus thrift store located on Main Street across from the campus square, has not only beautified a section of Main Street, but serves both Clark students and its neighbors, who make up about fifty-percent of the store's clientele. The Society of Professional Communicators recognized Alexis' achievements by awarding her the Elaine Cencak Memorial Scholarship Award. During the summer she had an internship with AFS USA, the non-profit study abroad organization, to help the organization develop its social media strategy, as well as a job with Intrinsic Consulting, a marketing firm. This fall, she is entering the fifth-year program in Masters of Science and Professional Communications to further her study.

  • Megan MateerMegan Mateer

    Megan Mateer, inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2010, encompasses the academic excellence, as well as the breadth and depth of liberal arts study, representative of the honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
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    • She received a B.A. in Psychology in 2010 and is currently completing her fifth year in the M.B.A. program at Clark. As an undergraduate she realized the value in exploring a variety of intellectual avenues, taking courses in graphic design, gender studies and international development. Her diverse studies culminated in her pursuing a final project in psychology that explored women and eating disorders.

      She also pursued her broad intellectual interests through study abroad at the University of Cape Town, with an international program that focuses on service. While there, she participated in a number of service and research projects. She assisted twelfth graders with homework, providing them with a mentor, and the overtaxed teachers with additional help. She also created two research projects, one to determine a more nutritional food to be sold by local women in the community and her capstone research, which involved creating educational programs to increase more effective education for HIV prevention. Her awareness of the importance of local cultural values in creating successful social programs—one of the crucial lessons learned through the international and cultural focus of her studies at Clark—formed the basis of both these projects.

      In her M.B.A. program, she hopes to maintain that focus through an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, concentrating on public accounting.

  • Students Elected to Phi Beta Kappa


    Cynthia Alonso | Sophia Anastasio | Tatiana Baglioni | Emma Baker | Miranda Bethune | Diane M. Boodrookas | Rose Burberry-Martin | Adrienne Cummings | Hoang Duong Trong | Lucas Earl | Casey Epstein | Allison Fichtelberg | Talia Fish | Kira Foley | Stefanie Gough | Matthew Grossman | Nina Hoey | Shalyn Hopley | Eleanor M. Hurd | Maria Jijon Nemalceff | Robert Kagan | William Kolschowsky | Lauren Koppel | Chelsea Kryspin | Cody Litchfield | Wyndham Maxwell | Alina Michelewicz | Samuel Nye | Ceylan I. Oymak | Evan Palmer | Jessica Poirier | John Preston | Zoe Ritter | Alison Russo | Chelsea Salmonsen | Anthony Saracino | Juliana Spahr | Cecelia Spencer | Abigail Stone | Matthew Thompson | Charlotte Turner | Kent Vorland | Xiandong Wang | Ilana Weiss | Kristin Withers | Jingjing Yang


    Jessica A. Bisbee | Brady T. Burton | Benjamin C. Canner | Hana E. Chamoun | Natasha D. Cochran | Emma L. Craig | Franklin A. Eneh | Crystal Wen Xi Fam | Evan O. Foley | Francis F. Freedman | Matthew V. Furman | Arielle S. Ganem-Rosen | Christina M. Geller | Zoe S. Greenberg | Cara M. Gross | Ashley P. Hames | Dana E. Hanley | Casey L. Harrington | Jennifer B. Heim | April K. Herleikson | Kelsey A. Holdefehr | Caroline H. Johnson | Rose K. Kamsler | Alyssa C. Kogan | Magali A. Lemahieu | Catherine A. Lenis | Jun Ha Lyu | Matthew J. Manley | Christopher McCloskey | Olivia G. McGill | Allegra B. Mitchell | Andrea R. Moshier | Jasper S. Muse | Emily L. Newton | Margaret Nicholson | Shannon L. Palmer | Rebecca L. Paradis | Janet M. Scott | Emily J. Sturdivant | Arelia A. Sturgis | Michael P. Tierney | Ikuko Uchida | Marie-Claire H. Walters | Lauren G. Ziemer | Martha D. Ziemer | Samantha L. Zorn


    Jenni Adams | Lauren Beaudin | Isabel Burgess | Sarah Carr | Jong Whan Choi | Spencer Curry | Maragret Federici | Jennifer Gaines | Daniel Gilbert | Devon Grayson-Wallace | Shayl Fiona Griffith | Tamar Gzirishvili | Abigail Johnson | Lisa Johnson | Aleksandra Kaszowska | Thaddeus Kelly | Megumi Koyama | Joseph Krahe | Jake Kramer | Julian Kronick | Breanna Lembitz | Hanlin Li | Katherine McGonagle | Katelyn McGrath | Sean Minahan | Elizabeth Mirabelli | Samuel Moody | Simone Palladino | Marko Radovic | Eric Riklin | Jessica Risman | Mariana Saculo | Sondra Saporta | Rachel Sensenig | Julia Sharoff | Andrew Shatz | Cara Slaby | Timothy Sossa | Marian Stacey | Lila Trowbridge | Joshua Yocum | Tegan Young | Curtis Wiemann


    Jennifer R. Aballo | Aaron F. Bresley | Kayleigh R. Boothby | Gerard F. Boucher | Steven R. Brouillard | Kenneth R. Cabell | Nicholas J. Callender | Phoebe T. Cape | Alexandra D. Carter | Christopher A. Cesarini | Rebecca L. Chabot | Haoming Chang | Oana Chimina | Amy E. Donin | Julie A. Erthal | Amanda L.C. Fontaine | Rachael J. Furman | Hillary A. Gleason | Dylan I. Glotzer | Deanna L. Goldner | Benjamin H. Goldberg | Lily C. Hughes | Jill L. Johnson | Abigail R. Kaminski | Irma Karpaviciute | Sang A. Kim | Sylvie Lepeltier | Elizabeth A. Lightner | Jesse R. Mattleman | David R. Opp | Callista R. Perry | James P. Pooley | Emily J. Rouleau | Kate Saccone | Benjamin M. Seel | Margo L. Sheck | Ammar Ahmed Tareen | Natasha S. Tchamitchian | Jeffrey W. Van Steenbergen | Daniel M. Vladimer | Catherine E. Witschey | Darcy F. Young


    Alicia Jean Alterio | Alicia Renee Andrade | Emily R. Bell | Lauren Danielle Bloomberg | Kristen Leigh Bokhan | Mikal Christensen Brotnov | Jason Carmignani | Yang Chen | Sunewan Chunhasuwan | Katherine MacKenzie Cody | Joseph Vincent DeMartino | Elizabeth Demsky | Di Deng | Tara Devara | Hannah Rachael Fine | Brian Hadler Finley | Victoria E. Fox | Catherine Elizabeth Gabis | David Patrick Glancy | Claire Griffin | Celina Roswitha Gris | Clara James | Juliana Kessler | Cynthia Reed Koegler | Brittany Laginhas | Cristina Legot | Kami Lane Lemke | Yingcun Lin | Katherine Ruth Matcovich | Marjorie M. Mateer | Erin Paige Marie McFadden | Julia Thorson McKinley | Rajesh Kamal Mehra | Eugeniu Victor Miculet | Erin Miller | Marissa Millman | Maya Kali Minter | Jacob Nathan | Andrew Ninnemann | Samantha Grace Palace | Julian Isaac Semiatin Park | Hannah Rose Perlmutter | Isaac Smith Selkow | Emma Faye Siemasko | Chad Michael Sirois | Julie Warchol | Jeremy Ross Weyl | Angela Lynn Woodmansee