On Friday, January 24, 2020, Michelle Chan of the I-HELP Liberia Project was inducted into Junior Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia University, a national honor society whose members are chosen based on the “breadth, depth, and rigor” of their academic programs and recommendations from faculty members. Each year, this honor is awarded to the top 2% of the graduating class (24 seniors out of 1,200), and is one of the highest academic honors for undergraduate students in the US.
Dean of Columbia College, Dr. James J. Valentini said in his remarks to the inductees of the New York Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, “Today, you are being honored for the excellent work you have done as students of Columbia University. I know how you feel because I felt the same way many years ago, and I am so proud to have you join me as members. This is an honor that will follow you for the rest of your life.”
In addition to her exceptional achievements in the classroom, Michelle has also been a strong proponent of global outreach and community service. She has been an active member of the I-HELP Liberia Project for over seven years to date; this organization strives to improve STEM education for Liberian students. Michelle traveled to Liberia in the summer of 2015 to implement Science Bowl tournaments throughout Liberian high schools. Furthermore, she is now the Chair of the I-HELP Liberia Medical Scholars Program, which provides scholarships for Liberian students pursuing a degree in medicine. Graduates of this program as well as currently-sponsored students have expressed how proud they are of Michelle for achieving such a prestigious honor. Michelle herself will begin medical school in the fall of 2020.
The founder of the I-HELP Liberia Project, Asumana Randolph, attended the induction ceremony. “Michelle has been a wonderful asset to our medical scholars program and she is greatly appreciated by all our scholars in Liberia,” said Mr. Randolph.
Luke Melas-Kyriazi, another member of the I-HELP Liberia Project, was also inducted into Junior Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University in May 2019. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship for the Class of 2020. The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford. Luke is interested in using machine learning to understand text and images, and he will pursue a PhD in Engineering Science at Oxford beginning this fall.
I-HELP Liberia Project, Liberia