The Honors College at the University of Texas at Dallas

Phi Kappa Phi News and Updates

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Phi Kappa Phi Updates

Chapter 316 Earns Chapter of Excellence Award

For a third year in a row, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has recognized UTD Chapter 316 as a Chapter of Excellence, the highest commendation a chapter can receive. The Chapter of Excellence award was bestowed upon twenty-nine chapters across the United States. This award is granted to chapters that maintain active, thriving organizations. UT Dallas regularly holds annual initiations, maintains an active social media presence, offers multiple nominees for national and local fellowships and awards, and sponsors events which include an annual luncheon and the Honors Convocation.

For additional information, please read the following press release:

Chapter 316 Holds Second Annual Luncheon

Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 316 held its second annual luncheon on Tuesday, November 18 in the Faculty/Staff Dining Hall in the Student Union. The keynote speaker was Dr. James Blanchard, Executive Director of Comparative Medicine and Head of the Clinical and Research Medicine unit at Tulane National Primate Research Center at Tulane University. Dr. Blanchard's speech, entitled “Testing Disaster Plans: Preparations, Successes, and Challenges Associated with Hurricane Katrina” delved into the university response to Hurricane Katrina, how the disaster directly impacted his research team, and how these responses can offer insight into disaster planning for universities.

Last year's event, featuring Dr. David Daniel's engaging and detailed account of the Deep Water Horizon disaster, had been a great success thanks to strong faculty and staff presence. These events are held once a year and are for the Phi Kappa Phi membership or by invitation only.

Fall 2014 Undergraduate Candidates Inducted

Chapter 316 conducted its undergraduate student induction ceremony on Thursday, November 6 in the Galaxy Rooms of the Student Union. PKP chapter members attended the event in full regalia as per tradition. One hundred and thirty-two juniors and seniors were inducted into the Society. Dr. Bruce Gnade, Vice President for Research and chapter member, explained the selection of criteria for invitation. Dr. Walter Voit, Assistant Professor of Material Science Engineering and PKP member, gave the keynote address. Other speakers included chapter president Rafael Martín and chapter secretary Blair Flicker. Dr. Douglas Dow, PKP vice president of scholarships and awards, announced each candidate by school while Mr. Martín and Dr. Wildenthal presented each inductee with their certificate, honor cord and pin. UTD Provost and PKP member Dr. Hobson Wildenthal provided the closing remarks. Congratulations to our newest members!

University 'Taps' Top Students for Phi Kappa Phi Membership

Wearing full academic regalia, UT Dallas President David E. Daniel and Associate Vice President for Research Rafael MartÌn, the chapter president, participated in a tradition known as ìtapping,î or inviting students for membership in Phi Kappa Phi. The tapping occurred September 15-16. Faculty and administrators visited several classrooms to ìtapî or invite some of the 184 juniors and 264 seniors on their list of candidates; others were invited by email. Those who decide to join will be honored at a reception in November. Graduate students will be invited during the spring term.

Having a Phi Kappa Phi chapter is part of UT Dallasí effort to highlight academic achievement and continue its drive toward becoming a Tier One research university. The UT Dallas chapter has 380 active members this year. Since March 2011, the chapter has inducted 46 faculty and staff, 583 students, 72 alumni and two honorary lifetime members.

For more about tapping, visit

UTD Students Earn More Awards

Two more UTD Students have earned Phi Kappa Phi awards. The 2014 winner of the Study Abroad Grant is Marisa Campain, a biology major. Only fifty $1,000 study abroad grants are awarded nationally each year. The 2014 winner of the Love of Learning Grant is Husain Mustafa Mogri, who graduated this spring with a bachelor of science in biology, summa cum laude. One hundred sixty Love of Learning awards, at $500 each, are distributed each year.

UTD Student Wins PKP Fellowship

Kayla Klein, a spring 2014 graduate with degrees in neuroscience and biology, has been recognized with a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. While she pursues her medical degree, Klein will also work toward a master's degree at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health. Her goal is to become a pediatrician and a public health advocate.

For the third year in a row, a student from UTD Chapter 316 has received a fellowship from the national honor society. The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi awards fifty-one fellowships of $5,000 each and six at $15,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Each chapter is allowed to nominate only one candidate per year. Last year, Dina Shahrokhi won the Marcus L. Urann fellowship of $15,000. In 2012, Emily Lichtenheld received a $5,000 fellowship.

For more on this story, please go to:

Love of Learning Award Deadline

Applications for Love of Learning Awards are due June 30. Love of Learning Awards help fund post-baccalaureate studies and/or career development for active Phi Kappa Phi members to include (but not be limited to): graduate or professional studies, doctoral dissertations, continuing education, career development, and travel related to teaching or studies. Recipients of the Fellowship award are not eligible to apply. To apply, please go to:

Fall 2014 General Assembly Meeting

A Phi Kappa Phi general assembly meeting will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014, at 4:00pm in Room 2.208 of Founders Hall. One of the main agenda items will be the nomination and selection of Student Vice Presidents. If you would like to nominate yourself or another member, please contact Blair Flicker () and do your best to make the meeting. If you have class or some other conflict but would still like to be considered for the position of Student Vice President, you can submit a written statement of intent to Blair via email prior to Monday's meeting.

Graduate Candidates Inducted

Chapter 316 conducted its graduate student induction ceremony on Tuesday, April 8 in the McDermott Suite. PKP chapter members attended the event in full regalia as per tradition. Sixty-nine graduate students were inducted into the Society this academic year.

Chapter president and Associate Vice President for Research Rafael Martín welcomed the assembled inductees and their families. Dr. Denise Paquette-Boots, Associate Professor, Criminology and the chapter's past-president informed the audience of the selection criteria for invitation. Next, Dr. Bert Moore, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and PKP chapter member, introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Jerger, Ashbel Smith Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and charter member of the chapter. Blair Flicker, Assistant Provost and chapter secretary, took the podium to explain the values of Phi Kappa Phi as symbolized by the gifts of membership. Dr. Edward Harpham, chapter treasurer, announced each candidate by school while Mr. Martín and Dr. Andrew Blanchard presented each inductee with their honor cord and pin. The inductees were then asked to rise and recite the Phi Kappa Phi oath. Dr. Blanchard, Dean of Undergraduate Education and president-elect of the chapter, provided the closing remarks.

Graduate Candidates Induction Ceremony for Spring 2014

Chapter 316 will conduct its spring 2014 graduate induction ceremony Tuesday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. in the McDermott Suite. Graduate and professional student candidates who have an outstanding record of graduate or professional study as evidenced by a GPA of at least 3.80 and who have completed at least 18 graded graduate credit hours at UTD were nominated by their graduate program committees for this honor. Congratulations to our newest inductees!

Cyrus D. Cantrell III Academic Travel Grant Winners

We are happy to announce the winners of the $500 Cyrus D. Cantrell III Academic Travel Grant for Autumn 2013. In alphabetical order, this semesters five recipients are:

  • Maria Burbano-Salazar
  • Benjamin Farnia
  • Katherine Huston
  • Michael Lau
  • Katelyn McWilliams

Congratulations to our winners!

Cantrell Academic Travel Grant Deadline Extension

Due to the closure of the university on Monday, December 8, we are extending the deadline for the PKP Cantrell Academic Travel Grant. Full applications for the Autumn 2013 competition will be due by 5PM, Thursday, December 12, 2013. Applications should still be delivered to Helen Roth, on the second floor of Green Center. If you have any questions regarding this deadline extension, feel free to email Dr. Douglas Dow, at .

Cyrus D. Cantrell III Academic Travel Grants for Phi Kappa Phi at UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is happy to accept applications for the Autumn 2013 Cyrus D. Cantrell III Academic Travel Grants for academic and research-related travel. Each academic year our chapter awards ten grants of $500 each, five per semester for the Fall and Spring. The PKP at UT Dallas Academic Travel Grant is designed to help supplement travel expenses incurred for academic research or participation at academic conferences and meetings. Each $500 grant can be used to offset expenses of air travel, food and lodging, car rental and gas, and/or conference fees.

Eligibility for application to the Cantrell Academic Travel Grant is limited to undergraduate, graduate, and alumni members, in good standing, of the UT Dallas chapter of PKP. All PKP applicants must be current on their local and national dues at the time of award and at the time they request reimbursement for their travel-related expenses. Any PKP members who have won a Travel Grant in the past will be ineligible for this competition. All applicants are responsible for submitting the following material:

  1. one to two page curriculum vita, containing full contact information
  2. 500 word essay explaining the purpose of the travel, how travel funds will be used, and the meaning of the travel for the applicant's broader research agenda.
  3. current unofficial student transcript of academic work done at UT Dallas
  4. a short letter from a UT Dallas faculty sponsor, including an explanation of significance of the applicant's travel plans. Please have your professor deliver this letter to you in a sealed and signed envelope.

Deadline for the online receipt of a full application will be Monday December 9, 2013. Each complete packet will be reviewed by a committee of PKP faculty and administration members. Each applicant shall be evaluated on their record of academic success and the significance of the travel project toward their future academic achievement. Please drop off one copy of your complete application, including the sealed letter of recommendation, to Ms. Helen Roth, on the second floor of Green Center. Awards will be announced by Tuesday, December 17, 2013.

Any questions may be addressed to:

Dr. Douglas C. Dow
UT Dallas Chapter of PKP Vice President for Scholarships and Awards
800 W. Campbell Road, GC10
Richardson, TX 75080

Phi Kappa Phi Hosts Special Event

Chapter 316 will host its first special event on November 18 at 11:45 a.m. in the Student Union. The event is a luncheon featuring UT Dallas President David Daniel who will speak about his experience as a member of the National Academy of Engineering committee charged with investigating the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This luncheon is a reservation-required event.

UTD Students Win Love of Learning Awards

Two UTD students, Melissa Schapero and Sachin Shah, have recently won Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning awards.

Melissa Schapero graduated with bachelor's degrees in psychology and child learning and development with minors in music and physics in 2007. She graduated with a Master's in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience in 2008. She was a member of the McDermott Scholars class of 2003. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Sachin Shah graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in biology in spring 2013. He is a member of the McDermott Scholars class of 2009 and a repeat Dean's List honoree. Over the past two summers, he has taken classes in a castle in Italy, studied at Oxford University, and volunteered in New Zealand. After graduation, he plans to enter UT Southwestern, where he will pursue his medical degree.

Love of Learning awards help fund post-baccalaureate studies and/or career development for active Phi Kappa Phi members and include (but are limited to): graduate or professional studies, doctoral dissertations, continuing education, career development and travel related to teaching/studies. One hundred forty-seven awards, at $500 each, are distributed each year.

UTD Student Wins Prestigious Fellowship

Dina Shahrokhi has won the Marcus L Urann Fellowship, a $15,000 fellowship granted to only six students nationally each year. Shahrokhi graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. At UT Dallas, she was a McDermott Scholar. She has been involved in Student Government, where she was the Senator of the Year, as well as Student Government Vice President for 2010-11.

Shahrokhi started an organization called SPEAK (Students for Political Education, Action and Knowledge) to increase political awareness and participation among the University community via voter registration drives and other activities. She is interested in conflict resolution and its application in Middle Eastern politics, and has studied Arabic. She has traveled to Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and the United Arab Emirates. She also received a Critical Language Scholarship from the State Department during summer 2009 to study Arabic in Morocco.

Shahrokhi was chosen as a Bill Archer Fellow in fall 2009, where she spent a semester living in Washington, D.C. working at the Middle East Institute. After graduation, she hopes to spend a year abroad mastering the Arabic language before applying to work for the State Department.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi currently awards fifty-one Fellowships of $5,000 each and six at $15,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Each Phi Kappa Phi chapter may select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the Society-wide awards.

For more on Shahrokhi's win, read Alumna, McDermott Scholar Wins Top Honor Society Fellowship at the UT Dallas News Center.

General Assembly Meeting Minutes

Links to Other Phi Kappa Phi Stories