Thirty-eight extraordinary MIT students named 2021 Burchard Scholars

Undergraduates selected for the competitive program enjoy a seminar series and conversations over dinners with distinguished faculty.

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS) has announced that 38 MIT undergraduate sophomores and juniors have been named as the 2021 Burchard Scholars.

Candidates for the Burchard program are nominated by their professors and selection is competitive. All students chosen for the program have demonstrated excellence and engagement in the humanistic fields, but can be majoring in science, design, and engineering fields as well as in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

With the Institute planning a return to campus operations in the fall, the 2021 Burchard Scholars will once again be able to engage in the program’s distinctive dinner series. At each evening, a distinguished faculty member gives a presentation on leading research, after which the scholars, joined at small table groups by several MIT faculty members, discuss the ideas over an elegant dinner. During the course of the calendar year, the scholars also attend several cultural events in the Boston metropolitan area.

Honing the art of discussion

The Burchard Scholars program is designed to provide promising students a challenging and friendly arena in which to hone skills for expressing, critiquing, and debating ideas with peers and mentors. In the course of their conversations, the scholars develop respectful, adaptable approaches to engaging in complex intellectual discussions.

Speakers at previous seminar events have included Institute Professor Daron Acemoglu, an economist, discussing artificial intelligence and the future of work; Kenda Mutongi, professor of history, reflecting on law in post-colonial Kenya; and Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science, speaking on nuclear security issues. The Burchard cultural events and field trips have included premieres at the Boston Lyric Opera, a post-concert backstage visit with cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and a visit to a newly acquired photography collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Enthusiasm and aptitude

It is perhaps no surprise that a high percentage of the MIT students who receive Rhodes, Marshall, and other major scholarships and fellowships are former Burchard Scholars.

“These students are an extraordinary group of MIT undergraduates,” says Margery Resnick, associate professor of literature and director of the Burchard program. “They are thoughtful, smart, and enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss a wide range of ideas with faculty and fellow students.”

2021 Burchard Scholars and their fields of study:

Hillary Diane Andales, sophomore in physics

Gabriella Aponte, sophomore in chemistry and biology

Prosser Cathey, junior in mathematical economics and political science

Alana Chandler, junior in materials science and engineering

Curtis Chen, sophomore in computation and cognition

Laura Chen, junior in biological engineering

Maggie Chen, junior in brain and cognitive sciences

Claire Cheng, junior in computer science and engineering and in music and theater arts

Zachary Chin, junior in chemistry and in electrical engineering and computer science

Pedro Colon, sophomore in chemistry and in biology

Ryan Conti, sophomore in mathematics

Amelia Dogan, sophomore in urban science and planning and in computer science and humanities: American studies

Rujul Gandhi, junior in linguistics and philosophy and in electrical engineering and computer science

Swapnil Garg, junior in mathematics

Malik George, junior in biological engineering

Miles George, junior in biological engineering

Stacy Godfreey-Igwe, junior in engineering and in humanities: Africa and African diaspora studies

Ananya Gurumurthy, sophomore in economics

Emily Huang, junior in electrical engineering and computer science and in political science

Ibuki Iwasaki, junior in art and design

Sahithi Madireddy, sophomore in biology

Isha Mehrotra, junior in chemistry and biology

Naomi Michael, junior in mechanical engineering

Karna Morey, junior in physics

Rajiv Movva, junior in computer science and engineering

Atharv Oak, sophomore in computer science and molecular biology

Vaishnavi Phadnis, junior in biology

David Spicer, sophomore in political science and in philosophy

Peter Tone, junior in theater arts and in computer science and engineering

Kathryn Tso, junior in materials science and engineering and in history

Max Williamson, junior in computer science and engineering

Kelly Wu, junior in chemical engineering

Westley Wu, sophomore in chemistry and biology

Megan Xu, junior in biological engineering

Jeffery Yu, junior in mathematics and in physics

Daniel Zhang, junior in biology

Diane Zhang, sophomore in computer science and molecular biology

Julian Zulueta, sophomore in biological engineering