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Saturday, June 25, 2022

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Phi Beta Kappa members advise high school students


The Honors College hosted the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Academy on July 14 in order to help outstanding students learn about college. The top students in the sophomore, junior and senior classes from 17 Houston-area high schools were invited to UH to preview lectures ranging from presidential elections to science.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., students were treated to four lectures and one writing workshop to teach students about writing personal statements for college and scholarship applications. The participating professors were Robert Zaretsky, William Monroe, Christine LeVeaux-Haley and Simon Bott. The writing workshop was held by Krystafer Redden, a senior majoring in literature, history and political science.

“The main benefit for students was giving them a glimpse of how college discussion classes work, plus the opportunity to think about their own educational journey,” Monroe said.

Monroe is the dean of the Honors College, president of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston and a member of the UH Faculty Organizing Committee, which is preparing an application to bring a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to the University of Houston.

“A Phi Beta Kappa chapter will complement many other Tier One initiatives and priorities, thereby raising the profile of the University and assisting in student and faculty recruitment and donor development,” Monroe said.

Similarly to Tier One status, the prestige of Phi Beta Kappa is a standard that can be understood nation-wide.

“Phi Beta Kappa is undoubtedly the most prestigious honors society in the nation,” Redden said in an email.

“Election to Phi Beta Kappa is a crowning achievement of an undergraduate career and is a universally understood recognition of excellence in the pursuit of liberal education.”

Lucy Bonner, special projects coordinator of the Honors College and former member of Phi Beta Kappa, hopes to provide useful information as well as promote the society.

“(Phi Beta Kappa) introduces practical writing and giving students a preview of seminar type classes,” Bonner said. “The purpose of the event was to promote Phi Beta Kappa.”

If UH is approved for a chapter, the Honors College would provide an administrative home and location for the chapter office. Phi Beta Kappa lectures will be available throughout the year for those interested in learning more about the organization.

“The establishment of a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa here on our diverse campus would both embody and reflect the strong commitment to both teaching and research in the liberal arts and sciences, broadly understood, at our institution,” Redden said.

For more information, contact Lucy M. Bonner at [email protected] or (713) 743-1012.

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