Sixteen sophomore students were notified on Oct. 13 that they had been selectied as recipients of the Iota Book Award. The students chosen to receive the award were Lindsay Bronnenkant, Jeffrey Cohen, Kimberly Etingoff, Ellen Frohning, Tara Gelb, Suzanne Giunta, John Golden, Dennis Huo, Aleksy Mankowski, Zach Noyes, James Regan, Benjamin Sabari, Melissa Squires, Tyle Stelzig, Martin Wegman and Peipei Zhou. The students will be honored in a ceremony on Nov. 26.

President of the Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and chair of the Department of Political Science Gerald Gamm commented on how students were selected.

“To select students for the Iota Book Award, we began by identifying every sophomore who received an extraordinarily high GPA in her/his freshman year,” Gamm said. “We circulated that list of names confidentially to faculty and staff throughout the College, inviting people to submit letters on behalf of students whom they know. A committee then meets to select students for the award.”

Gamm explained that the selection committee is appointed by the Executive Committee of the Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and that it typically includes members of the Executive Committee as well as Dean of Freshmen Marcy Kraus and Dean of Sophomores Vicki Roth.

Gamm said that the letters play a critical role in the decision-making process.

“They offer us windows into the curricular and co-curricular achievements of the students being considered,” Gamm said.

He elaborated that the guiding criteria include scholarly achievement, humanistic values, co-curricular activity and leadership potential.

Sophomore Jeffrey Cohen, one of the recipients of the Iota Book Award, spoke about how he felt about receiving it.

“I am truly honored to get the award,” Cohen said. “It means there’s somebody out there who took time out of his or her busy schedule to nominate me.”

Each recipient is able to select one of 10 books for his or her award. The books, all classics that have won an award from Phi Beta Kappa, include “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate,” by William Ruddiman, as well as “American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World,” by Susan Scott Parrish, ??? 2006 Emerson Award Winner.

Wisch is a member of the class of 2011.

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