35 exceptional MIT students named Burchard Scholars for 2017


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

December 12, 2016 — The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to name 35 exceptional MIT undergraduates as Burchard Scholars for 2017. 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 physics, history, economics, mathematics, philosophy, and biology. "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: 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; the art of discovery; and a political history of gravity.  

“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 2017.

The 2017 Burchard Scholars are:

Meia Alsup '19
Materials Science and Engineering

Natasha Batten '19
Chemical Engineering

Jaclyn Baughman '19

Margaret Bertoni '19
Mechanical Engineering

Phoebe Cai '18
Mathematics; Economics

Samantha Cawthon '19
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Ann Chen '18
Mechanical Engineering
minor, History

Herng Yi Cheng '18

Matthew Coupin '18
Materials Science and Engineering

Caralyn Cutlip '18
Mechanical Engineering
minor, German

Anshula Gandhi '19
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Ying Gao '18
Mathematics; Economics

Benjamin Harpt '18

Christopher Hillenbrand '19

Nicholas Hoffman '18
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Yuliya Klochan '18
Philosophy; Political Science

Tinna-Solveig Kosoko-Thoroddsen '19
Chemical Engineering
minor, Chinese

Jennifer Lee '18
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Feng Ping "Angela" Leong '18
Mechanical Engineering

Jessy Lin '19
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Stacie Lin '19

Ian MacFarlane '18

Oghenefejiro Oruerio '18
Mechanical Engineering

Audrey Pillsbury '19
Chemical Engineering

Mary Jane Porzenheim '19

Ankita Reddy '19

Uma Roy '19

Megan Schussman '18
Brian and Cognitive Sciences; Linguistics and Philosophy

Jacqueline Shen '18
minor, Applied International Studies

Nafisa Syed '19

Emily Tang '19
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Amanda Wu '18
Brian and Cognitive Sciences

Sefa Yakpo '18
Sloan School of Management
minor, French

Rachel Yang '18
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Jingyi 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