35 exceptional MIT students named Burchard Scholars for 2016


Students selected as Burchard scholars are some of MIT's liveliest undergraduates. They are unafraid to wrestle with new ideas.

January 14, 2016The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to name 35 exceptional MIT undergraduates as Burchard Scholars for 2016. The award honors sophomores and juniors who demonstrate academic excellence in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as in science and engineering.

Burchard Scholars can come from any school or department of the Institute, and this year’s honorees major and minor in a range of disciplines, including civil engineering, literature, chemistry, political science, electrical engineering, music, physics, mathematics, biology, media studies and economics. "What binds the group together," says Margery Resnick, professor of literature and director of the Burchard program, "is a powerful curiosity about ideas."

“The Burchard scholars are some of MIT’s liveliest undergraduates,” she says. “Selection is extremely competitive, and the students chosen are unafraid to wrestle with new ideas.”

Ideas and conversation at dinner seminars

Named in honor of the School's first dean, John Ely Burchard, the Burchard Scholars Program brings undergraduates together with distinguished members of the faculty for a series of eight dinner seminars that reflect the range of research in the School. Past gatherings have featured talks on: how American social policies really work; the politics of aid to Haitian trauma survivors; what philosophy tells us about how to make big decisions; U.S. grand strategy in foreign policy; and the art of discovery.  

“The Burchard dinners are, for faculty and students alike, an oasis in our busy lives,” Resnick notes. “I look forward to every dinner as the powerful ideas generated by our faculty are reflected upon, challenged, and enjoyed by this wonderful group.”

Expanding horizons, in community

The Burchard gatherings are famous not only for presenting leading edge research, but for building a warm, supportive community, and giving students experience in the art of intellectual give-and-take — a skill students value for success in every field. 

“Engaging and engaged are defining characteristics of MIT's Burchard Scholars,” Resnick says, noting that many past winners have gone on to receive other distinguished honors, including Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman scholarships and fellowships. 

Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School, will congratulate the new class of Burchard Scholars at a reception to be held in their honor in February 2016.

The 2016 Burchard Scholars are:

Wajeeha Ahmad '17
minor, Applied International Studies

Alaisha Alexander '18
Mechanical Engineering

Emmanuel Azuh '18
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Mary Clare Beytagh '18

Archis Bhandarkar '18
Biological Engineering

Kevin Castro '17
Aeronautics and Astronautics

Lilly Chin '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
minor, Mechanical Engineering

Thomas Cowan '17
Mechanical Engineering 

Teresa de Figueiredo '17
Materials Science and Engineering

David Dellal '17
Mechanical Engineering
minor, French

Keeley Erhardt '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
minor, Applied International Studies

Daniela Ganelin '18

Aaron Hammond '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Literature

Lisa Ho '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Lisa Kong '18
Materials Science and Engineering

Jing Li '17
Economics; Mathematics

Sophia Liu '17
Chemical Engineering; Biology

Everett Malone '17
Comparative Media Studies; Literature

Nicholas Matthews '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Literature

Katherine Nazemi '17
Political Science; Mathematics

Paige Omura '17
Chemical Engineering
minor, Anthropology

Valerie Peng '17
Mechanical Engineering

Claire Robinson '18
Mechanical Engineering

James Rowan '17

Alyssa Smith '17
Humanities and Engineering

Stephen Tang '17

Sophia Tigges '18
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Dana Vigue '17

Hallie Voulgaris '17
minor, Music

Katherine Weishaar '18

Sarah Wharton '17
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Emily Widder '17
Aeronautics and Astronautics

Tiffany Yeh '17
Materials Science and Engineering

Austen Yueh '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Olivia Zhao '18


Warm congratulations to all!  


Suggested Links

About the Burchard Scholars Program 

Former Buchard Scholars

Burchard Scholar Program | Seminar Topics and Special Events 


Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Writers: Kathryn O'Neill, Emily Hiestand
Communications Assistant: Daniel Pritchard