Topeka, Kan. – Phi Kappa Phi, a national honorary society, has awarded Washburn University graduate Whitney Bergman a national graduate fellowship. Bergman was among 50 recipients nation-wide to receive the $8,500 (each) fellowship given to a Phi Kappa Phi member entering the first year of graduate or professional study.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Once inducted, Phi Kappa Phi members gain a lifelong network of academic and professional opportunities.
“Whitney’s selection for this national honor reflects her extraordinary academic accomplishments and the excellent faculty mentoring she received,” said Dr. Laura Stephenson, dean of the Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences. “Phi Kappa Phi members on our campus illustrate the quality education and academic opportunities we offer each student at Washburn.”
Selections for the Phi Kappa Phi undergraduate fellowships are based on academic achievement (including transcripts, honors and awards, relevant research experience, standardized test scores, and samples of creative work), service and leadership experience (on and off campus), letters of recommendation, personal statement and career goals and a work sample. Each active Phi Kappa Phi chapter is eligible to select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the society-wide awards.
Bergman, a native of Paola, Kan., plans to use the money to defer some of her living expenses while she is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Bergman accredits Washburn and her professors with the experiences she needs and inspiring her motivation to work towards her doctorate.
“When deciding on undergraduate institutions, I wanted a school that not only had a good chemistry/biochemistry program but also where I would feel valued as a student,” said Bergman. “At Washburn, the faculty supported me while encouraging me to stretch in my learning.”
Bergman was involved in several chemistry research projects through Washburn, which gave her the lab experience she accredits for helping her make the decision to pursue her Ph.D. She was a part of the Kent State University Research Experience for Undergraduates. During this 10-week summer program, she obtained additional research experience and got to see a little of what graduate-level research is like.
Bergman completed her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a minor in biology at Washburn University in May 2019. While at Washburn, she also served as a stockroom assistant, tutor, aided the chemistry department in giving campus tours to prospective faculty members and was a supplemental instructor for the chemistry department. She worked at many events with the Chemistry Club.
Phi Kappa Phi’s mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others." The honorary society recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engages the community of scholars in service to others. Since its founding in 1897, more than one million members have been initiated. Some of the organization's more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, writer John Grisham and NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence.
Students must be invited to join Phi Kappa Phi; limited membership is offered to the top 7.5 percent of second-semester juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students. Phi Kappa Phi awards nearly $1 million each year to outstanding students, Phi Kappa Phi members and chapters.
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