2021 Fellowship and Award winners

Marcus L. Urann Fellow

Clara Kim

Initiating Chapter: University of Michigan

Graduate Institution: University of Michigan School of Dentistry

Clara Kim is a 2019 graduate of the University of Michigan where she pursued a Bachelor of Science with dual majors in cellular and molecular biology and French. While at the University of Michigan, she was in the honors program, including preparing a senior thesis—awarded honors by a faculty thesis committee—for her cellular and molecular biology major. Kim served in a variety of leadership roles on campus, including as a mentor to first-year students, serving on the pre-health advising committee, and serving as a counselor for the Michigan Math and Science Scholars summer program. Currently, she is a Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She will begin dental school at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2021.

2021 Phi Kappa Phi Dissertation Fellowship

Anton L.V. Avancena

University of Michigan

Avancena is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Michigan in health services organization and policy. His research looks at groups who have experienced increases in high-risk drinking and aims to estimate the incidence of alcohol-related liver disease by age, gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

2017/18 PKP Project Grant Winners

Calli VanderWilde

PhD Candidate - Resource Policy and Behavior, School for Environment and Sustainability

Small-Scale Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Desalination Plant for Freshwater Supply in Samara, Costa Rica

This research project will determine the applicability of a concentrating solar power (CSP) water desalination technology to solve water scarcity in Samara, Costa Rica. The output of this project will also include recommendations for solidifying a partnership between Sustainability Without Borders (SWB) and the local community for the near future so as to best facilitate technology transfer. The expectation is that implementation of a CSP desalination plant in Samara will lessen water scarcity pressures within the region and serve as a sustainable alternative to current methods. In the long term, the project will serve as a readily translatable model for other coastal regions thereby expanding impacts beyond the local level.

Samara is a small community in Guanacaste Province and is an important center for seasonal tourism. While rain provides water in abundance June – November, water becomes scarce and temperatures turn extreme Mid-November – April. The dry season coincides with peak tourism, which exacerbates water availability issues. Precipitation variability compounds issues with water supply, ultimately triggering a lack of potable water, food insecurity and disruption of community structures.

Harry van der Laan

Phd Candidate Macromolecular Science and Engineering

Ultrarapid additive manufacturing in Bulk Resin

Initially described in the 1980’s, 3D printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing (AM), allows for the rapid fabrication of custom designed objects for applications as prototyping, or low-volume production. Over the past decades, but especially in the last few years, AM has experienced a substantial growth in both volume and revenue. The global revenue of the products and services related to AM exceed $5 billion, and in 2016 materials sales for 3D printing exceeded $900 million in the US. Photopolymers make up the largest fraction of this, and mainly find their application in molding and prototyping. Despite the descriptor of ‘rapid prototyping’, fabrication of a single object via AM commonly takes several hours, which in turn leads to expensive production rates. Because of this, AM currently finds its main application in production of custom medical devices.

Timeline is as follows: characterize the behavior of the redshifted photoinitiators in acrylate-based resins (May 2018) and in formulations containing o-Cl HABI (July 2018), then cure in bulk resin with photomasks and characterize the obtained structures (September 2018). Simultaneously, to synthesize the 2 proposed bridged HABIs (May 2018), and evaluate their effectiveness and requirements for inhibition in formulation with the previous photoinitiator (June-July 2018). Then, culminating from these 2 paths, combine the redshifted photoinitiator with the best performing bridged HABI, evaluate the curing kinetics (August 2018) and subsequent curing in 3D using photomasks (September-October 2018). Then, to publish these results in a peer-reviewed journal (December 2018), and to present this work at Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium at the 257th national meeting of the American Chemical society in Orlando (March 2019).

The completion of this project will grant invaluable experience in developing and optimizing photocurable resins for AM purposes.

Phi Kappa Phi – 2016-2017 Project Grants

Lisa Walsh


Lisa Walsh is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology but her research relates to how humans affect the natural history of mammals. Understanding how species’ distributions are affected by climate change is critical for both conservation and disease control, as numerous Michigan mammals harbor diseases transmissible to humans and livestock.

In her Project description, Lisa wrote “The Virginia opossum is an omnivorous mammal found from Nicaragua to the southern Midwest of the United States. In the last fifty years, it has spread as far north as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and this expansion of its normal habitat was originally credited to climate change. Opossums starve when temperatures are regularly below -4°C, so biologists now propose that urbanization and farms facilitated opossum winter survival in the form of alternative food sources, but no data has been collected to address this hypothesis.” Lisa’s project will collect and weigh opossums this coming fall and winter and evaluate their diets. Field collection sites will include both forested, natural habitats and those modified by humans, including farmland and suburbs.


With an evolutionary history in the tropics, opossums are ill-equipped to survive harsh winters in temperate North America, but opossums have spread as far north as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the past 50 years. Biologists have proposed that urbanization and farms facilitate opossum winter survival in the form of alternative food sources, but no data has been collected to address this hypothesis. My project’s goal is to collect data to directly examine this hypothesis. By using a combination of genetic tools and dissection, my PKP project will allow scientists to better understand the ecological drivers that might exacerbate the effects of climate change.

If you trap opossums or spot opossum roadkill, please email Lisa at

Michelle Fearon


Michelle Fearon is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology whose Project is entitled “Changing perspectives: How pollinator communities influence honey bee virus pathogen prevalence.” Three RNA viruses are rapidly spreading among European honey bee colonies and some native pollinator species but little is known about how the pollinator community influences honey bee health. Theory predicts that increased pollinator species richness will reduce pathogen prevalence in honey bees, and increased overall pollinator abundance will increase honey bee pathogen prevalence.

The objectives of Michelle’s proposal are (1) to provide the first analysis of how honey bee viral prevalence changes with pollinator community context in an agricultural environment, and (2) to evaluate how pollinator species richness and overall abundance change honey bee health. Honey bees are important pollinators of many fruits and vegetables, and the loss of this species will significantly impact the production of these crops.


Agricultural intensification has altered the composition of pollinator communities, changing species interactions and the spread of diseases. Three RNA viruses, Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), Sacbrood Virus (SBV), and Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV), are rapidly spreading among European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and native pollinator species within these altered communities. However, the relationship between pollinator community composition and increased virus prevalence has not been analyzed. Disease ecology theory predicts that (1) increased pollinator species richness will reduce virus prevalence, and (2) increased total pollinator abundance will increase virus prevalence. To test these hypotheses, during summers 2015 and 2016 I collected a total of 5,010 pollinators from 14 agricultural sites in southeastern Michigan, with varying pollinator community compositions. I’m using Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reactions (RT-PCR) to test ~1,200 Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, Peponapis pruinosa, and Lasioglossum spp. for the presence of DWV, BQCV, and SBV. Preliminary results indicate that Apis mellifera has the highest virus prevalence, but Bombus impatiens, Peponapis pruinosa, and Lasioglossum spp. have higher prevalence than expected. I will test the relationship between virus prevalence within each species along independent gradients of pollinator community species richness and total abundance. These results will provide the first analysis of how virus prevalence changes in multiple pollinator species depending on the surrounding community composition.

Benjamin Li


Benjamin Li is a senior in Neuroscience with a minor in mathematics, whose proposal explained “For more than 200 years it was believed that image-forming vision was fully explained by rods and cones, our traditional photoreceptors. However, in 2002, a third, novel class of photoreceptive ganglion cell was characterized. Called the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell (ipRGC), it is a subset of ganglion cells that mediates subconscious, non-image-forming visual responses such as the pupillary light reflex, neuroendocrine regulation, and circadian photoentrainment.” Working in the lab of Dr. Kwoon Wong, one of the researchers who discovered the ipRGC, Ben will investigate the quantitative properties of ipRGCs, capitalizing on the unique dataset and methodological capabilities of that lab, and almost perfectly marrying his passions in neuroscience, mathematics, and computer science. He hopes it will lead to new understandings and research directions for ipRGCs, the retina, and neuronal networks in general.


Image-forming vision—vision typically associated with the luscious redness of an apple or ear-to-ear smiles of a loved one’s birthday celebration—is received by rods and cones, the only known photoreceptors for over two hundred years. Recently, scientists have characterized a third retinal photoreceptor called the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell (ipRGC). ipRGCs influence circadian rhythms, pupillary light reflex, and other forms of subconscious, non-image-forming vision. I have been working with Dr. Kwoon Wong’s lab at the University of Michigan since the spring of 2014 to study how ipRGCs respond to light and their implications in driving therapies via subconscious neural pathways.

Jennifer Angell


Jennifer Angell is a first-year medical student and a member of the Global Health and Disparities Path of Excellence where students are mentored by physicians who are leaders in the field. She is currently working on multiple research projects in the U-M Ob/Gyn Department.

To introduce her individualized project, Jennifer wrote “Fistula is prevalent in many parts of the world where access to high-quality delivery services are not available.” In recent years there has been upwards of 15,000 obstetric fistula repair surgeries reported on the Global Fistula Map. A modest amount of these are performed by Sister Priscilla, the only Ob/Gyn at her hospital in rural Uganda.

With her Project Grant, Jennifer will work with Sister Priscilla’s patients to: 1) Collect socio-demographic and obstetric factors in order to better understand the antecedents of developing obstetric fistula in this population; 2) Develop a rich understanding of the social implications of obstetric fistula so that in the future targeted interventions may be used in conjunction with reconstructive surgery to aid a full social reintegration; and 3) to collect baseline data on patients who could be followed in future years to assess the progress of and potential barriers to social reintegration.


Birth injuries, such as obstetric fistula, are injuries sustained by a mother during labor, often due to delayed or limited access to appropriate obstetric care. These birth injuries leave women incontinent of urine or feces and can have extremely negative social consequences. Holy Family Virika Hospital in rural Western Uganda holds quarterly surgical repair camps for women with such injuries so that they may regain control of their lives. Investigators conducted in-depth interviews with the camp’s participants to identify social, cultural, and health system root causes of these injuries, as well as the social consequences that result with the hopes of reducing future incidence and aiding reintegration.

Monica Choo


Monica Choo is a senior in Biomolecular Science with a minor in Medical Anthropology. In her project description, Monica stated: “Virtually every country in Latin America suffers from mosquito illnesses, including the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses, the recently emerging Zika virus, and also malaria which caused 438,000 deaths worldwide in 2015 alone. As seen by the sky-rocketing mosquito illnesses in Latin America recently, previous mosquito vector control strategies have largely failed overall. Many studies have repeatedly pointed out that without vigorous community efforts, mosquito prevention programs will seldom succeed.”

Monica has been carrying out an independent health project in Sudzal, a rural town in Yucatan, Mexico, and has already completed the first three phases: to educate the population in mosquito illnesses and prevention; to document their perception and behavioral patterns; and to evaluate the efficacy of the education module. She only asked for modest financial help from Phi Kappa Phi to complete the fourth phase of her project: invigorate community engagement in mosquito control efforts. Our funding will allow her to purchase mosquito screens for the five public schools of Sudzal, which will protect 388 students and 41 workers. Monica is also engaging the community in fund-raising to support installation of the screens and other prevention efforts. Monica further stated: “We must realize that community collaboration and population empowerment are crucial factors in alleviating any health issues.”


The Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has been rapidly spreading throughout Latin America, utilizing pre-existing vectors to quickly infiltrate the immunologically naïve populations. With the current rise of the Zika Virus, there is an urgent need for more rigorous vector control efforts to prevent further Zika breakout. We designed a community-based education module on CHIKV and mosquito prevention and presented it to the local residents in a rural town called Sudzal in Yucatan, Mexico. The residents’ knowledge of CHIKV and mosquito prevention was tested via a questionnaire before and after education, and chi-squared test was performed to determine the efficacy of the presentation in increasing their knowledge. The education presentation has proven to effectively educate the local residents in several critical methods of mosquito prevention, increasing the average test scores by 67% post-education. These include applying repellent, staying hydrated during recuperation, and cleaning water containers inside the house to eliminate breeding sites (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the questionnaire captured the residents’ behavioral patterns regarding CHIKV and mosquito prevention and identified cultural, ecological, and socioeconomic factors hindering effective implementation of vector control.

Preeti Samudra


Preeti Samudra is a PhD candidate in Developmental Psychology. In her Project introduction, she wrote “Writing effectively is a critical skill for academic and professional success. Unfortunately, it is also one that many students struggle with throughout their schooling. Standardized testing in Michigan K-12 schools has revealed that fewer than half of Michigan public schools produce students proficient in English. On the national level, the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress in the United States revealed that 73% of 8th and 12th graders had only basic or below basic writing skills. These stark findings signify a serious problem in the effectiveness of our schools in producing competent writers, and suggest a need for research on writing to inform instructional practices.”

Preeti’s project addresses this need by taking a unique cross-cultural perspective on writing instruction. Specifically, she plans to investigate how writing is taught in elementary schools in the United States and Singapore in hopes of uncovering new and effective ways of approaching writing instruction. Even though English is the second language of many students in Singapore, those students outperform students in the United States. For example, on the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, Singapore ranked 3rd of all tested countries on Reading, while the United States was ranked 17th.


Many K-12 students struggle with reading and writing throughout their schooling. The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress in the United States, for example, revealed that 73% of 8th and 12th graders had only basic or below basic writing skills. My project focused on understanding different ways of teaching writing by interviewing teachers in another country: Singapore. Singapore has consistently outperformed the United States on international reading assessments such as the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment, where Singapore ranked 1st in reading while the United States ranked 24th. Understanding how students are taught in high performing countries may give us new ways of thinking about instruction that may benefit the literacy skills of students in the United States.

Ryan Townshend


Ryan Townshend – Also Co-founder and President of the PKP Student Organization, is a senior in neuroscience and Spanish. In the background to his proposal, Ryan stated: “During embryogenesis, neural stem cells (NSCs) are transient multipotent cells that are programmed to give rise to diverse neural cell types. Recently, studies have shown that NSCs can be derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in vitro, allowing for in-depth studies of NSCs for the first time. iPSCs are pluripotent cells that are reprogrammed from terminally differentiated cells such as adult skin cells. Since iPSCs can be derived from any viable adults, and can differentiate to become potentially any cells within the body (leading to the genetic footprint exactly belonging to the source individual), iPSCs have strong implications for personalized medicine.”

Utilizing iPSC-derived NSCs from patients with Schizophrenia, Yoon et al. found that proper neural rosette formation is linked to the pathology of Schizophrenia. For his project, Ryan aims to perform detailed cell biological characterization of neural rosette, and investigate whether the regulation of cell polarity is also impaired in NSCs derived from patients with bipolar disorder. If successful, this study will be the first to link the role of cell polarity in bipolar disorder.


We sought to better understand psychological illnesses through further developing a system to study such diseases and to test possible treatment options. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are important for this project because of how they are derived: a skin sample can be taken from a patient and then chemically treated in such a way to re-induce a pluripotent state. This means that the iPSCs have the genetic footprint of the patients from whom they are taken, which allows us to test the patient specific genome and how it causes these illnesses. By culturing iPSCs from patients, we are able to mimic certain conditions in the body to model the psychological manifestation of the illness. We have begun to better define and understand the underlying regulatory mechanisms in this cultured model.

Callie Chappell


Callie Chappell is a master’s candidate in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology. Her project focuses on isolating new compounds with medicinal properties from natural sources and modifying diverse microbial pathways to develop pharmaceuticals. Working in Dr. David Sherman’s lab, she will specifically investigate the biosynthesis of ambiguines, a category of hapalindole-like natural products which are of broad interest because of their anti-cancer, antibacterial, and insecticidal qualities. Currently, there is no understood biosynthetic mechanism for the natural production of hapalindoles, despite their considerable pharmacological and economic importance.


Natural products—complex chemicals produced by microbes, plants, and other organisms—have long been known to have medicinal effects. By combining techniques used by biologists, biochemists, and synthetic chemists, scientists can harness the natural power of these compounds. In addition to identification, scientists seek to produce these compounds in mass quantities. Currently, many important anti-cancer drugs, insecticides, and other economically-relevant compounds are produced using toxic and wasteful processes. By studying the mechanisms by which organisms produce similar compounds, we can modify bacteria and other organisms to cheaply and sustainably produce critical chemicals. I am researching a biosynthetic pathway in cyanobacteria that produce a series of compounds with known anti-cancer, antibacterial, and insecticidal qualities.


For the third year in a row a member of the UM Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has won a national fellowship. Sara Ann Knutson of Holland MI is the recipient of a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship bringing the chapter's record to five such awards since 2010.

As the first full-time undergraduate in her family (History, Scandinavian Studies, Medieval and Early Modern Studies) and now moving on to graduate study in archaeology and history, Knutson has taken full advantage of her UM academic experience. As a participant in UM's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), she was introduced to academic research and the creation of historical scholarship which she was able to weave into courses unrelated to history.

Entering the History Honors Program as a sophomore for the Junior Thesis Colloquium, she received an Honors Summer Fellowship into the interdisciplinary program supporting thesis research for future seniors. There she experienced the value of collaboration and defined her understanding of historical studies.

Knutson says "Receiving the University of Michigan’s nomination for this fellowship was an honor itself, given the breadth of academic excellence, talent, and service to which my fellow Phi Kappa Phi student members are committed. I would like to extend my profound thanks to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for their generous support of students across a range of disciplines and to the officers and members of the Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 039 at the University of Michigan, for their overwhelming dedication and support."

Among her other achievements, Knutson was a 2015 selected candidate for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Sweden, as well as a Designated Alternate for a 2015 Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Regents vote to extend Phi Kappa Phi faculty member Martha Pollack's term for an additional three years as U-M Provost and Executive Vice-President for academic Affairs.


Inducted as a faculty member into the U-M chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in 2013, Dr. Carol Bradford has recently achieved one of the greatest honors in her profession -- membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. As chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Medical School and co-director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center for 16 years, she is an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of head and neck cancer, specializing in surgery and reconstruction while researching prediction of outcomes for her patients and developing therapies to combat certain types of head and neck cancer that are resistant to traditional forms of treatment. For more details, please visit


This has nothing to do with aerial revolutions of an ice skater, but it does have to do with the marvelous leadership and participation of our chapter. Yes, for the fourth consecutive year our chapter has earned a Chapter of Excellence award from the Society of Phi Kappa Phi, one of only five chapters in the Society’s history to achieve this honor four times in a row, out of its more than 300 in the United States and Philippines. The award was announced on August 9 at the National Biennial Convention in St. Louis. Michigan was also one of only five chapters in the 10-state North Central Region to be so recognized for the 2013-1014 academic year. Scholarship and hard work has brought honor to all our members.

Michigan’s chapter is among a very few across the country to offer financial awards to its members. These grants total $72,000 since the chapter’s revitalization in 2008. For more information, see


For the fourth time since 2010, Michigan’s chapter candidate won a national Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. Xiao Wang came to UM's Honors Program as a National Merit Finalist and Scholarship winner and is leaving with a $5,000 PKP fellowship, one of 57 recipients nationwide. In 2014, Wang easily met the fellowship requirements established by the National Society with his academic achievement, service and leadership experience and promise of success in his future graduate education and chosen profession.

Xiao is an accomplished musician (flute), taught a freshman class at UM on Music and the Brain and participated in various research opportunities during his undergraduate years. Dr. Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, for whom Xiao worked in her Laboratory of Cognitive and Affective Neuropsychology, wrote: "Unlike most honors thesis candidates, Xiao had his own independent ideas about a research project and he developed these ideas with minimal guidance. His thesis investigated the effects of musical training on sustained attention. His well-executed study and interesting results will soon be written up for publication in a peer-reviewed journal."

Of his win, Xiao wrote: "It is an absolute honor to be selected as a recipient for the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship and to be considered along with so many outstanding students. I feel so privileged to represent the University of Michigan in this national competition, and I am thrilled to add to the terrific track record of our nominees. As I pursue a degree in medicine next year, I know that this generous award will help ease the financial burdens of my continuing education. I'd like to thank the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and its Chapter 039 at the University of Michigan for this opportunity - I hope to continue to represent PKP in a positive way well into the future." After considering invitations from a number of the country's top schools, Wang has chosen to attend Johns Hopkins Medical School.

For more information on financial assistance through grants and awards from PKP's National Society, visit

Phi Kappa Phi Honors 26 Faculty Members

Ten of the 26 faculty members inducted by chapter president, Mary Beth Donovan (far left) attended the Phi Kappa Phi Initiation ceremony on April 6. Pictured left to right: Anne Curzan, Juan Cole, Buzz Alexander, Robert Fishman, Alec Gallimore, Jack Hu, Masato Koreeda, Kathleen Nolta, Karen Staller and Thomas Zurbuchen.

The National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi inducted 26 faculty members and 292 students from across the University into its Michigan Chapter on Sunday, April 6. This year’s outstanding group of faculty inductees represents Architecture, Art & Design, Business, Education, Engineering, Literature, Science & Arts, Medicine, Music, Pharmacy, Public Health, Rackham Graduate School and Social Work (complete list below).

A highlight of the event in the Rogel Ballroom at the Michigan Union was a musical tribute to Dr. Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music. Dr. Monts is the chapter’s former treasurer, a member and supporter for several years. Professor William Campbell led a trumpet quintet in a performance of “Metallic Fury” by Erik Morales in gratitude for Dr. Monts’ long support of the School of Music’s Trumpet Program. The chapter also presented him with an engraved clock to thank him for his years of service.

Andrew Wald from the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Chapter’s 2013 Graduate Scholarship Winner and a 2013-14 Student Vice-President, presented the keynote address “New Space Hyperwalk.”

This year the Michigan chapter awarded Project Grants totaling $20,000 to extend learning beyond the classroom to its members. The $5,000 awards are the largest that the chapter has bestowed since 2008. Junior, senior and graduate student applicants submitted proposals for projects that directly related to their academic program and career plans. Winners of $5,000 grants are graduate students Sarah Alsaden, Law School; Amy Navvab, Social Work; and PhD-candidate Scott Zavada, Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Undergraduate winners are Lena Kremin, Biopsychology, Cognition, Neuroscience and Linguistics; and Layne Vandenberg, International Studies and Spanish who each received $2,500.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, and is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Michigan’s President Clarence Cook Little, a Phi Kappa Phi member and former president at Maine, supported the establishment of Chapter 039 at the University of Michigan in 1926, making it one of the Society’s oldest. In 2013, the Michigan chapter received its third consecutive Chapter of Excellence award, the highest honor the Society bestows, and one of only five chapters to have achieved that distinction out of 325 chapters across the country.

To be eligible for invitation, seniors and graduate students must rank in the top 10% of all students on the Ann Arbor campus; second-semester juniors must rank in the top 7.5%. Since its founding, more than 8,600 students have been initiated into the University of Michigan chapter.

Chapter president Mary Beth Donovan presents an engraved clock to Dr. Lester Monts in gratitude for his service as Treasurer and continued strong support of the Michigan chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

PKP 2014 Initiation - Faculty and Alumni Members

William R. “Buzz” Alexander, PhD, Professor, English Language & Literature, LSA; Professor, Art & Design

Mark A. Burns, PhD, Chair, Chemical Engineering

John S. Carson, PhD, Associate Professor, History, LSA

Juan R. Cole, PhD, Professor, History, LSA; Director, Middle Eastern & North African Studies, International Institute

Anne L. Curzan, PhD, Professor, English Language & Literature, LSA; Professor, Education

Alison Davis-Blake, PhD, Dean, Ross School of Business

Kenneth C. Fischer, PhD, President, University Musical Society (alumni member)

Robert L. Fishman, PhD, Professor, Architecture & Urban Planning

Alec D. Gallimore, PhD, Professor, Aerospace Engineering; Dean for Academic Affairs, Engineering

S. Jack Hu, PhD, Professor, Manufacturing Technology, Engineering; Interim Vice-President for Research

Trachette L. Jackson, PhD, Professor, Mathematics, LSA

Masato Koreeda, PhD, Professor, Chemistry, LSA; Professor, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacy

Anna K. Mapp, PhD, Professor, Chemistry, LSA; Research Professor, Life Sciences Institute; Director, Interdisciplinary Programs, Rackham

Kelly E. Maxwell, PhD, Lecturer and Director, Program on Intergroup Relations, LSA; Lecturer, Education

Michael Mayer, PhD, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering; Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering; Associate Professor, Biophysics, LSA

Sofia D. Merajver, MD, PhD, Professor, Internal Medicine, Medical School; Professor, Epidemiology, Public Health

Kathleen V. Nolta, PhD, Lecturer, Chemistry, LSA

Holly Peters-Golden, PhD, Lecturer, Anthropology, LSA

Melanie S. Sanford, PhD, Professor, Chemistry, LSA

David S. Sept, PhD, Associate Chair and Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Bright Sheng, PhD, Professor, Composition, Music, Theatre & Dance

David H. Sherman, PhD, Professor, Medicinal Chemistry and Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education, Pharmacy; Professor of Chemistry, LSA; Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Medical School; Research Professor, Life Sciences Institute

Karen M. Staller, JD, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair, Social Work

Anca Trandafirescu, M.Arch, Assistant Professor, Architecture

Kenneth E. Warner, PhD, Distinguished University Professor of Public Health; Professor, Health Management & Policy

Thomas H. Zurbuchen, PhD, Professor, Aerospace Engineering; Associate Dean, Entrepreneurial Programs; Senior Counselor to the Provost; Professor, Entrepreneurial Studies, Ross School of Business

Photo captions:

Ten of the 26 faculty members inducted by chapter president, Mary Beth Donovan (far left) attended the Phi Kappa Phi Initiation ceremony on April 6. Pictured left to right: Anne Curzan, Juan Cole, Buzz Alexander, Robert Fishman, Alec Gallimore, Jack Hu, Masato Koreeda, Kathleen Nolta, Karen Staller and Thomas Zurbuchen.

Chapter president Mary Beth Donovan presents an engraved clock to Dr. Lester Monts in gratitude for his service as Treasurer and continued strong support of the Michigan chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.


Phi Kappa Phi Grant winners Sarah Alsaden, Lena Kremin, Amy Navvab, Layne Vandenberg and Scott Zavada appear with Candace Kolars, Scholarship Officer, and Mary Beth Donovan, President of the Michigan chapter.

The University of Michigan chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi announced five Project Grant winners for 2014 at its Initiation Ceremony on April 6. Intended to extend learning beyond the classroom, this year’s grants support individual projects around the globe and range from soap to materials for a manned mission to Mars. The Michigan chapter has granted a total of $72,000 in competitive awards to its members since 2008.

Winners of $5,000 Grants are graduate students Sarah Alsaden (Law), Amy Navvab (Social Work) and Scott Zavada (Engineering). Undergraduates Lena Kremin and Layne Vandenberg, both from LS&A, were awarded $2,500 each.

Sarah Alsaden will participate in a legal internship with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative. This project focuses on the unconstitutionality of mandatory life sentences without the opportunity for parole for juvenile offenders.

Lena Kremin will travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, with ELI Abroad, an international volunteer organization. She will live in a volunteer house for four weeks, splitting her time between teaching English at a Buddhist monastery and assisting at an orphanage.

Amy Navvab will spend eleven weeks in San Francisco working with Goodwill San Francisco’s new strategies to engage and organize youth and will also complete a project focused on current knowledge of multicultural youth within social work.

Layne Vandenberg will return to Meru, Kenya, to continue her work on “The Kithoka Soap Initiative” with “International Peace Initiatives” (IPI), a Kenya-based nonprofit organization. Lena proposed the soap project in June 2012 and returned a year later to test products and develop a better understanding of the customer base and their employment options. This year, her goal is to create and implement a sustainable structure through which IPI can independently run the soap business to promote economic development.

Scott Zavada, a Doctoral Student in Macromolecular Science and Engineering, will be developing self-healing, polymeric materials suitable for use in space exploration habitats such as in manned missions to Mars. This project will provide invaluable experience in radical chemistry, polymeric materials, and product development, efforts he will continue after graduation first in a post-doctoral position and then as a professor at a research university.

Photo caption:

Phi Kappa Phi Grant winners Sarah Alsaden, Lena Kremin, Amy Navvab, Layne Vandenberg and Scott Zavada appear with Candace Kolars, Scholarship Officer, and Mary Beth Donovan, President of the Michigan chapter.


Call it a triple, a three-bagger or a hat trick, it is definitely three years in a row that University of Michigan’s Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 039 has received the prestigious national award of Chapter of Excellence.

Considered one of the Society's best, UM’s Chapter 039 has once again shown its ability to meet the Society's highest standards. " A dedicated Executive Board, including several Student Vice Presidents, has helped us achieve ever higher goals and 2013-14 promises to be another excellent year" said chapter President Mary Beth Donovan.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines, with chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.


Four members of PKP Chapter 039 helped UM capture second place in the nation this year (behind Harvard) as the institution with the most Fulbright grants — one of the U.S. government’s most prestigious awards.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program seeks to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries as well as help the recipients achieve their academic goals. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential. Those PKP members from Chapter 039 are:

Karin Bashir, inducted in 2013 as a Senior, with a B.A. from LSA in International Studies and Women's Studies, will be teaching English in Bahrain.

James Hammond, inducted in 2011 as a Junior, with a B.A. and B.S. from LSA in History and Microbiology, will be interpreting disability in Ghana.

Conor Lane, inducted in 2012 as a Junior, has a B.A. from LSA in History, Latin American & Caribbean Studies and Spanish and will be teaching English in Colombia.

Cydney Seigerman, inducted in 2013 as a Senior, will use her B.S. from LSA in Chemistry and Spanish to teach English in Spain.

For more information, please visit:


Chapter Student Vice President Sepideh Ashrafzadeh, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science, has been nominated for the Marshall and Rhodes (Michigan Regions) scholarships. Ashrafzadeh who has conducted research at various institutions, was inducted as a Junior and received a PKP Chapter scholarship last year.

For more information about Ashrafzadeh, her numerous works, volunteer activities and the scholarships, visit


Two faculty members of Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 039 have recently received prestigious honors.

Dr. James O. Woolliscroft, inducted to the chapter in 2011, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the medical fields. Dean of the UM Medical School, Woolliscroft is an internationally recognized leader in medical education.

Dr. Susan A. Gelman, inducted in 2013, has been named Heinz Werner Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and has received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award. Gelman has revolutionized understanding of children's memory, learning, categorization and language.

For more information on these honorees visit:




A member of Phi Kappa Phi inducted into Chapter 039 in 1967 and now at Yale, Robert J. Shiller is a recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Sharing the award with two others, the trio was jointly honored “for their empirical analysis of asset prices.”

For more information on Shiller see:


Phi Kappa Phi members can now save 15 percent on regularly priced merchandise at all Brooks Brothers U.S. and Canadian stores, by phone and online. Brooks Brothers, the oldest clothing retailer in the U.S., offers classic clothing for men, women and children.

To begin receiving the discount, members must sign up for a complimentary Brooks Brothers Corporate Membership Card by visiting (do not type http:// or www. in front of the address) or calling 1.866.515.4747. You will need the Organization ID#: 11755 and Pin Code: 61431 when enrolling online or by phone.

When shopping in store, simply present your membership card at time of purchase to receive the discount. For online purchases, members must first register online by following these instructions:

  1. Visit

  2. At the top of the page, click “Register.”

  3. Create a new profile.

  4. At the bottom of the form, click “I have a Corporate Membership Number.”

  5. Enter the 12-digit membership number that you received upon enrolling for your membership card.

  6. Click “Create.” You are now ready to shop.

NOTE: When shopping online, your billing and shipping address must match the address you provided when enrolling for your membership card to receive the discount.

and the WINNER is

Chapter 039's Connie Shi was just announced as a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi's Marcus L. Urann Fellowship of $15,000, the first ever recipient from the University of Michigan. The Society awards six of these scholarships annually to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Shi was selected by the UM Chapter to compete for this national award (each chapter may submit only one candidate).

A native of Okemos, Michigan, Shi has been a member of the UM chapter since her junior year and served as a Student Vice-President. With a completed major at UM in cellular and molecular biology, she will be attending Harvard’s Medical School in the fall.

During her years at Michigan, Connie participated in the undergraduate research program in the University's Comprehensive Cancer Center, volunteered at Ann Arbor's Veterans Affairs Hospital, played violin with the Michigan Pops Orchestra and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Undergraduate Research Journal. Congratulations, Connie!

2013 Phi Kappa Phi Induction Ceremony

Phi Kappa Phi U-M Chapter President Mary Beth Donovan (far right) inducted twenty faculty and administrative staff members at the April 7 Initiation Ceremony in the Michigan Union. Those present (L-R): Aileen Huang-Saad, Carol Bradford, Shelly Connor, Susan Gelman, Carmen Green, Mark Kamimura-Jimenez, James Liu, David Spahlinger, Kathryn Young and Jan Stegemann.

The University of Michigan chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society initiated more than 320 qualifying students in a ceremony at the Michigan Union’s ballroom on April 7. To be invited to membership, students must rank in the top 10% of all University seniors and graduate students, and the top 7.5% of all juniors on campus. Those students were welcomed into the Society by chapter president Mary Beth Donovan, as were 20 faculty and administrators with outstanding academic and professional accomplishments from Rackham Graduate School, LS&A, Medical School, School of Education, Ross School of Business and College of Engineering.

Attendants were addressed by Dr. Anita Welch, the North Central Regional Vice President for the Society. Welch is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and President of her Phi Kappa Phi Chapter at North Dakota State University in Fargo. The Keynote speaker was UM’s Dr. Aileen Huang-Saad who is Assistant Director of Academic Programs in the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship and teaches several graduate courses in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Annemarie Palincsar, Thurnau Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Education, who is the Chapter's President-Elect, inducted the new student members. Chapter Student Vice president Jason Kehrl, a PhD candidate in Pharmacology who has served two years as an SVP, also addressed the initiates.

Welch reminded students, faculty and families that the Society's founder, Marcus Urann, in 1897 noted that the heroes of his day were all baseball players, football stars and what he termed “glib-talkers” but not high-ranking students. “I am looking for something that will be an inspiration to all students of high [academic] rank.” That “something” became this country’s oldest, largest and most highly selective, all discipline honor society – Phi Kappa Phi, said Welch.

“The ultimate responsibility one has after an honor has been conferred is (over time) to give it to others through thought and deed, Welch said. “Your role is one of leadership with exellence. In fulfilling this role, you will join other Phi Kappa Phi members – author John Grisham; public servant Hillary Clinton; Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling; and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – in their greatness and services to mankind.”

The Michigan Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to be able to offer competitive scholarships to outstanding Michigan chapter members and from 2008-12 awarded a total of $38,500. This year an additional $13,000 was awarded to three graduate students, three seniors and two juniors.

In her Keynote address, Huang-Saad presented a number of definitations for entrepreneurship. "One of the most scholarly and respected comes from Peter Drucker who said that entrepreneurs search for change, respond to it and exploit opportunities. Whereas Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, has a more graphic description: An entrepreneur jumps off a cliff and assembles the airplane on the way down..." Universities are the core of where innovations occur and are responsible for training our human capital, she said. And the challenge for students: Huang-Saad said, “Whether you are going to start your own company, lead corporate innovation at large companies, or create your own opportunities in any of your pursuits – the entrepreneurial mindset will help you navigate the challenges put in front of you and be as successful as possible.”

In her introduction of Jason Kehrl, Donovan explained that the Student Vice Presidents are full voting members of the Chapter’s Executive Board and vital to the Chapter’s success. “They represent all our student members, suggest ways to enhance the membership experience, and assist with all our projects,” she said. Some of those student suggestions are to develop a mentoring program, working with Alternative Spring Break and a service project competition with the Ohio State Chapter. “One of our new members teaches prep classes for Princeton Review, she said, and we have discussed special sessions for our members next year.”

In his reflections on the experience of a Student Vice President, Kehrl stressed the importance of participation to obtain full benefits from an organization. He compared it to his observations as a DJ with some party-goers passively hugging the corners of the room and others getting on the dance floor and having a wonderful time with their friends. He exhorted the new Phi Kappa Phi members to get involved in a committee, attend events, and offer suggestions to strengthen the U-M chapter.


  • Mary Beth Donovan, Chapter President (734) 623-0337

  • Joanne Nesbit, Public Relations Officer (734) 213-2412

Faculty/Staff Members Inducted:

  • Sarah M. Aciego, PhD, Earth & Environmental Sciences

  • Carol R. Bradford, MD, Medical School

  • Shelly M. Connor, PhD, Rackham Graduate School

  • Stephen M. DeBacker, PhD, LSA

  • Susan A. Gelman, PhD, LSA

  • John B. Godfrey, PhD, Rackham Graduate School

  • Carmen R. Green, PhD, U-M Health System

  • Kendra L. Hearn, PhD, School of Education

  • Aileen Y. Huang-Saad, PhD, College of Engineering

  • Mark A. Kamimura-Jimenez, PhD, Rackham Graduate School

  • James T. Liu, PhD, LSA

  • Anuradha Nagarajan, PhD, Ross School of Business

  • Douglas C. Noll, PhD, Biomedical Engineering

  • Bishr Omary, MD, PhD, Medical School

  • Bryce C. Pilz, JD, Law School

  • Martha E. Pollack, PhD, Provost-Elect

  • Thomas P. Shanley, MD, Medical School

  • David A. Spahlinger, MD, Medical School

  • Jan P. Stegemann, PhD, Biomedical Engineering

  • Kathryn M. Young, MA, School of Education

Give Me More Problems

That was the cry first-grader Nicholas Triantafillou gave his teacher. He wanted more math homework. Well, his desire has been met and has paid off handsomely for this PKP member now finishing his senior year and looking forward to a year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

His study abroad opportunity is made possible by winning the prestigious Churchill Scholarship. With double majors from UM in mathematics and computer science, Triantafillou will complete a Master of Advanced Studies in theoretical mathematics at Cambridge. After that he plans to pursue a path to a Ph.D. in mathematics as a prerequisite to teach mathematics and computer science.

UM was one of only three public universities this year to have a scholarship winner in the program founded by Sir Winston Churchill in 1959. The recipient of a number of scholarships in mathematics during his UM career, Triantafillou was inducted into the University of Michigan Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in 2011 is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

A sports enthusiast, Triantafillou has been in regular attendance at UM sporting events and is near his goal of visiting every major league ballpark. If that's not enough, he has also been active in UM's intramural sports program, playing flag football, water polo, softball and dodgeball, all while helping teach several UM classes. Nick is also an assistant coach for the Michigan team for American Regional Mathematics League.

Additionally, Triantafillou, a native of Saginaw MI, has been nominated as one of three to represent UM in a competition for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.


Sustaining Excellence

With a BA in Women Studies and now in UM's graduate program in Public Health with a focus on Nutrition, Sarah Reinhardt continues her path of excellence. Inducted in 2010 as a member of Phi Kappa Phi's Chapter 39 at UM, Reinhardt was awarded a scholarship as a junior. Now she is one of the first 40 recipients of a Dow Sustainability Fellowship

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, known as SISCA, is a global competition to generate inventive and interdisciplinary ideas for sustainability. Winning teams were selected based on innovative thinking and excellence in research; potential for solving significant problems; and the interdisciplinary nature of their research.

Reinhardt remains an active local volunteer working with HomeGrown Local Food Summit and Slow Food of Huron Valley.

Sharing the Podium!

Prompted by friends to enter the competition for student speaker at UM's 2012 Winter Commencement, Katharine Stockrahm rose to the challenge and came away a winner, sharing the podium with UM president Mary Sue Coleman and other dignitaries.

The Dearborn native and English major, inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi as a junior and serving as Student Vice President of the Michigan chapter for 2012-13, submitted a four-minute presentation to the Office of University and Development Events and was chosen the top entry. The contest requires a student to submit a hard copy of their submission, a curriculum vitae or resume, and an audio recording of themselves presenting the speech which had to meet the four-minute limit.

The evaluation panel was made up of students, faculty and staff who had no idea whose submission they were working with in this blind judging (names on the entries had been deleted). Consideration was made as to whether the submission was well written and met the time constraint, and its over-arching theme of the unique experiences UM has to offer.

"I was shocked that the committee had picked my speech. When they called to let me know the good news, it was all I could do not to say "Wait, you're serious?!" The opportunity to meet President Coleman and talk with Provost Hanlon, and ultimately address my graduating class, was an unbelievable honor."

Using as her theme of communities at UM for the presentation, Stockrahm pulled from her experiences working in the admissions office, in LS&A student government and as vice president of the campus's pre-law fraternity.

"In truth, I wrote about the first thing that happened to me at Michigan, thinking that the event -- one involving a squirrel -- was pretty hilarious and fortuitous. But quickly that story came to represent, at least to me, the incredible culture and community the university has created for its students. It was easy to weave in my own experiences and those of my classmates working off such a simple, relatable anecdote."

Armed with her bachelor degree in English, Stockrahm is preparing to apply to law schools and looking forward to her long-term goal of practicing international or intellectual property law.

Congratulations, Katharine! We salute you as an impressive representative of the ideals of Phi Kappa Phi and your alma mater.


On the way to a triple crown, it's two down and one to go to winning the Chapter of Excellence Award for the third straight year. The University of Michigan's chapter was presented with its second award making it one of only seven (of more than 325 chapters across the country) to accomplish "two in a row." UM Chapter President Mary Beth Donovan accepted Chapter of Excellence awards for 2010-11 and 2011-12 from Society President Dr. Diane Smathers, immediate Past President Dr. William Bloodworth, and Executive Director Dr. Mary Todd at the Society's national convention in St. Louis. "As a member of our Board since 2007," Donovan said, "I am honored and proud to have participated in the efforts that brought our Chapter from inactive status to this distinguished level."

The U-M chapter awards annual scholarships and also sponsors academic and service events for its members. "During the past five years," Donovan said, "we have inducted 1,220 new members and awarded $38,500 in scholarships to outstanding student members representing many disciplines across our campus. In addition, two of our student members were awarded $5,000 fellowships from the Society in 2010 and 2011. This year we have a particularly strong Board and I am excited about the plans we're making for our most active year ever."