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. The inducation ceremony is scheduled for March 27 at 6 pm in the Festival Ballroom.

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 Beta 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., and Dr. Edward Larson, University Professor of History and the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University, visited in September 2018.

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


Lily Fisher (Sociology and Anthropology), Undocumented Lives: Exploring Previously Unkown Occupations Predating the Presbyterian Manse, Staunton, VA


Emily Barbaro (Anthropolgy and Political Science), Analyzing the Onset and Resolution of Nonstate Conflict in the Middle East & North Africa


Rachel Barborek (Biology), Detecting the Cold: Do Innexins Function in Cold Nociception?


Kelly B. Moss (Political Science), Nigerian Terror: The Rise of Boko Haram.


Madeline Johnson (Sociology and Anthropology), Queer University: An Ethnographic Case Study of the Transgender Student Experience of College Campus Space.


Kirstie Ann Thompson (Chemistry), The Efect of Hofmeister Series Counterions on the Colloidal and Antimicrobial Properties of Triple-Headed Cationic Amphiphiles.


Jacob Bosley (Political Science), Lexicons of Colonialism: A Grounded Theory Examination of Indian and Supreme Court Definitions of Sovereignty.


Andrea C. Morgan (Art History), After Rembrandt: Captain William Baillie and Print Culture in Eighteenth Century England.


Jessica Andrea Holland (Biology), The Interaction of the Lethal Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis and Combinations of Anti-Bd bacterial Species.


Matthew Wallace (Biology), Topographic and Patterned Axonal Projections in Control and Mutant Ephrin-B2 Mice Prior to the Onset of Hearing.


Dallas Joder (Mathematics), Meta-Analysis of Salmonella eneterica stpA and hns Microarray Experiments.

Research and Scholarship Grant Winners


Martha Hemingway (Studio Art/Art History; advisor John Ros) receieved $500 to purchase supplies to make a studio art honors project.


Rachel Barborek (Biology; advisor Susan Halsell) received $500 to purchase supplies for an honors project investigating the role of Innexins in Drosophila Nociception.


Logan Holley (Biology; advisor George Vidal) received $500 to purchase supplies to study the role of Integrin beta 3 mutations in Autistic Behaviors.


Anna Nordseth (Biology) received a grant to support travel to Panama to conduct field work quantifying the effect of exotic grass removal on the rate and diversity of dry forest succession.


Nikole Gregg (Graduate Psychology) received a grant to support attendance at the First Year Experience Conference in Atlanta where she will make a presentation about how JMU used assessment data to improve its first year experience program.


Nikole Gregg (Psychology) received a grant to support attendance at the American Psychological Science Convention in Chicago where she will present results of research on an intercultural competency measure.


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.


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.


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.


Victoria Price (WRTC), received travel funding for a trip to the Dominican Republic during spring break to do research for her thesis.

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