The Honor Society of Phi Beta Kappa


Induction of New Members

New members of Phi Beta Kappa are inducted into the chapter in March or April at a banquet and initiation ceremony. In 2016 this event occured Sunday, April 3rd in the Ballroom of the Festival Conference and Student Center at 6 pm.

Research and Scholarship Support Grants

Current JMU student members of our chapter may apply for grants of up to $1000 to support travel for scholarly activities or to present scholarly work at meetings, or for supplies needed to support their scholarly activities. Details about how to apply appear here. Awardees are listed below.

First Year Academic Excellence Pizza Party

Along with Phi Kappa Phi, in September our chapter invites students in their second year at JMU (both sophomores and transfer students) earning high GPAs the previous year to a pizza party. The goal is to recognize academic achievement and to alert students to the presence and purpose of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi at JMU. About 100 students usually attend.

Honors Luncheon

In April Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi co-sponsor a luncheon to honor best thesis nominees and finalists for prestigious national scholarships, and to thank thesis advisors and thesis competition judges. The winners of the best thesis competition are announced at this luncheon.

Visiting Scholars

Each year the National Society of Phi Bata Kappa sponsors visiting scholars who come to campus for a few days to meet with students and faculty and to present a public lecture. Occasionally the JMU Chapter invites a PBK Visiting Scholar to campus. In March, 2016, Dr. Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA, visited JMU. She spoke on Other Worlds: The View from the Pleistoceneon in the BioScience Building on Thursday, March 17th.

Best Thesis Award

In April, a panel of judges formed by the members of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi at JMU choose the two best honors theses from a pool nominated from each major. The winners are announced at the honors luncheon and recognized at graduation. The winners each receive a check for $500. Past winners are listed below.

Best Thesis Award Winners

2016 Kirstie Ann Thompson (Chemistry), The Efect of Hofmeister Series Counterions on the Colloidal and Antimicrobial Properties of Triple-Headed Cationic Amphiphiles.
2015 Jacob Bosley (Political Science), Lexicons of Colonialism: A Grounded Theory Examination of Indian and Supreme Court Definitions of Sovereignty.
2014 Andrea C. Morgan (Art History), After Rembrandt: Captain William Baillie and Print Culture in Eighteenth Century England.
2013 Jessica Andrea Holland (Biology), The Interaction of the Lethal Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis and Combinations of Anti-Bd bacterial Species.
2012 Matthew Wallace (Biology), Topographic and Patterned Axonal Projections in Control and Mutant Ephrin-B2 Mice Prior to the Onset of Hearing.
2011 Dallas Joder (Mathematics), Meta-Analysis of Salmonella eneterica stpA and hns Microarray Experiments.

Research and Scholarship Grant Winners

2016 Nikole Gregg (Psychology) received a grant to support attendance at the American Psychological Science Convention in Chicago where she wil present results of research on an intercultural competency measure.
2016 Victor Hammarin (International Affairs) received a grant to support travel to the Southern Honors Regional Conference in Orlando, Florida, where he will present his thesis work on how healthcare in the European Union afeact HIV/AIDS patients.
2015 Audrey Cannon (WRTC) wrote Crossing Language Barriers: Using Translation to Bridge Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Gender-Based Gaps, which translates a previously untranslated Spanish novel into English. Ms. Cannon’s grant supported travel to Mexico City to meet and interview the novel’s author Elena Poniatowska.
2015 Emily Pelto (Biology), received a grant to travel to New Orleans to present her thesis research at the American Society of Microbiology’s national meeting.
2015 Victoria Price (WRTC), received travel funding for a trip to the Dominican Republic during spring break to do research for her thesis.