By Laura Hartnett
Ronaleen “Ronnie” Roha has made a profound impact on Phi Beta Kappa during her short time as Associate Secretary. Roha has an energetic commitment to the Society’s mission that evolves from her lifelong love of learning.
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Roha earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where she graduated cum laude Phi Beta Kappa. Roha stated that her induction gave her a sense of gratification that “the subjects which [she] loved, studied, and enjoyed were acknowledged as being important.”
Roha advises young Phi Beta Kappa members to be proud of their liberal arts or sciences degree: “You have valuable tools from that education that are useful in any career and in family life. Be proud to be able to think critically!” She also noted that not one thing you learn is ever wasted.
After college, Roha followed her passions to Washington, D.C., where she interned in a congressional office and eventually earned her J.D. degree with honors from the George Washington University Law School. Following law school, she took “an indirect path to something unexpected,” and started writing a legal column for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. She spent the majority of her career working as an associate editor for the magazine.
If given the opportunity to meet with any ΦBK member throughout history, Roha said she would most enjoy meeting Mark Twain. “I think it would be enriching to get to know Mark Twain,” said Roha. “I would enjoy his wry take on modern times!”
Roha served as interim Associate Secretary starting in December of 2012, and was elected by the Phi Beta Kappa Senate to continue that position on a permanent basis in February of 2013. “I love the energy and enthusiasm of the people I work with,” Roha said of her position. “It is a pleasure to work with creative people who care about the liberal arts and sciences and who are willing to brainstorm and work together.”
Roha looks forward to continuing her work at Phi Beta Kappa. “Every day there is something new and exciting,” she observed. She is particularly excited by the work of the recently launched National Arts & Sciences Initiative, and by the continued success of the awards programs, Visiting Scholar program, and Phi Beta Kappa publications.
Laura Hartnett is the coordinator of administration at Phi Beta Kappa's national office in Washington, D.C. She graduated from American University in 2013 with dual degrees in business administration and public communication.