MIT SHASS names 38 extraordinary students as 2021 Burchard Scholars

The students enjoy a year-long seminar series over dinners with distinguished faculty.

MIT's Hayden Library, located along the Charles River, is home to the Humanities and Science collections.

"It’s perhaps no surprise that a high percentage of the MIT students who receive Rhodes, Marshall, and other major scholarships and fellowships are former Burchard Scholars."

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS) is delighted to announce that 38 sophomores and junior students have been named 2021 Burchard Scholars. During a year unlike any other, these students have demonstrated the high aptitude for studies in both the STEM and Humanistic fields that characterizes the “Burchards,” as the scholars are affectionately called. This year’s cohort represents a broad selection of academic fields and many departments at the Institute — including the sciences, engineering, design, social sciences, arts, and humanities, as well as ingenious combinations of fields. 

With the Institute planning a return to full campus operations in the Fall, the 2021 Burchards will once again be able to engage in the program’s exciting and distinctive dinner series. At each evening, a distinguished faculty member gives a talk about leading research, after which the Burchards, joined at table by several MIT faculty members, discuss the ideas and research. During the course of the calendar year, the scholars also attend selected cultural events around the Boston metropolitan area.

Conversations about ideas over festive dinners with distinguished faculty

The Burchard Scholars program is designed to provide promising students a challenging and friendly arena in which to hone skills for expressing, critiquing, and debating ideas with peers and mentors. In the course of their conversations, the Scholars develop respectful, adaptable approaches to engaging in complex intellectual discussions.

Speakers at previous seminar events have included Vipin Narang, Associate Professor of Political Science, speaking on nuclear weapons and strategy; Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics, discussing AI and the future of work; and Kenda Mutongi, Professor of History, reflecting on Law and Disorder in Post-colonial Kenya. The Burchard cultural events and field trips have included attending new work premiering at the Boston Lyric Opera and a visit to the newly acquired Howard Greenberg Collection of Photographs at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Enthusiasm and aptitude

It’s perhaps no surprise that a high percentage of the MIT students who receive Rhodes, Marshall, and other major scholarships and fellowships are former Burchard Scholars. “The Burchard Scholars are an extraordinary group of MIT undergraduates who have demonstrated enthusiasm and aptitude for the humanities, social sciences or arts,” says Margery Resnick, professor of literature and director of the Burchard program. “Selection is competitive, and the students who are chosen are thoughtful, smart, and grateful for the opportunity to discuss ideas with faculty and fellow students.”


The 2021 Burchard Scholars


Hillary Diane Andales, sophomore


Gabriella Aponte, sophomore

Chemistry and Biology


Prosser Cathey, junior

Mathematical Economics + Political Science


Alana Chandler, junior

Materials Science and Engineering


Curtis Chen, sophomore

Computation and Cognition


Laura Chen, junior

Biological Engineering


Maggie Chen, junior

Brain and Cognitive Sciences


Claire Cheng, junior

Computer Science and Engineering + Music and Theater Arts


Zachary Chin, junior

Chemistry + Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Pedro Colon, sophomore

Chemistry and Biology


Ryan Conti, sophomore



Amelia Dogan, sophomore

Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science + Humanities: American Studies


Rujul Gandhi, junior

Linguistics and Philosophy + Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Swapnil Garg, junior



Malik George, junior

Biological Engineering


Miles George, junior

Biological Engineering


Stacy Godfreey-Igwe, junior

Engineering + Humanities: African & African Diaspora Studies


Ananya Gurumurthy, sophomore



Emily Huang, junior

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science + Political Science


Ibuki Iwasaki, junior

Art and Design


Sahithi Madireddy, sophomore



Isha Mehrotra, junior

Chemistry and Biology


Naomi Michael, junior

Mechanical Engineering


Karna Morey, junior



Rajiv Movva, junior

Computer Science and Engineering


Atharv Oak, sophomore

Computer Science and Molecular Biology


Vaishnavi Phadnis, junior



David Spicer, sophomore

Political Science + Philosophy


Peter Tone, junior

Theater Arts + Computer Science and Engineering


Kathryn Tso, junior

Materials Science and Engineering + History


Max Williamson, junior

Computer Science and Engineering


Kelly Wu, junior

Chemical Engineering


Westley Wu, sophomore

Chemistry and Biology


Megan Xu, junior

Biological Engineering


Jeffery Yu, junior

Mathematics + Physics


Daniel Zhang, junior



Diane Zhang, sophomore

Computer Science and Molecular Biology


Julian Zulueta, sophomore

Biological Engineering


Suggested links

The Burchard Scholars program

Past Scholars

Seminar topics and events



Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Staff Writer: Alison Lanier