ΦΒΚ Award Winners 2021

Awards image

By Joshua Pinckney

Pulitzer Prize
First awarded in 1917, the Pulitzer Prizes are awarded for exceptional achievement in  journalism, literature and musical composition. Andrea Januta (ΦΒΚ, Yale College), a reporter for Reuters News, was a winner this year in the Explanatory Reporting category for a data-driven series investigating how the legal doctrine qualified immunity shields police who are accused of excessive force.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence
First awarded in 2012, Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are granted to the authors with the best adult fiction and nonfiction books. Two Phi Beta Kappa members were long-listed this year in the fiction category.

Elliot Ackerman (ΦΒΚ, Tufts University), for his book Red Dress in Black and White

Colum McCann (ΦΒΚ, University of Texas at Austin), for his book Apeirogon

Time 100
Since 1999, Time magazine’s has published an annual list recognizing the world’s 100 most influential leaders, innovators, pioneers, titans, artists and icons. This year’s Time 100 list includes one Phi Beta Kappa member.

Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D, (ΦΒΚ, Rice University) has been listed as an innovator in the top 100 list. As is customary, each member of the list has a brief feature piece written by a prominent leader in the same field. Anthony Fauci wrote about Graham in Time, calling him “a thought leader in vaccine design and pandemic preparedness (who) has helped save millions of lives and altered the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards
Each year, The Phi Beta Kappa Society grants three Book Awards to exceptional non-fiction, scholarly books in the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences and mathematics published in the United States. The Christian Gauss Award was established in 1954 and recognizes outstanding books in the field of literary scholarship or criticism. Established in 1959, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science is presented for superior books by scientists written to illuminate aspects of science for a broad readership. The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, established in 1960, honors scholarly studies contributing significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. Two of this year’s winners are also Phi Beta Kappa members.

Sarah Steward Johnson (ΦΒΚ, Washington University in St. Louis) received the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science for The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World.

Alice Baumgartner (ΦΒΚ, Yale University) received the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War.

MacArthur Foundation Fellowships
Beginning in 1981, TheMacArthur Foundation Fellowships have been awarded with the intent to aid talented individuals in utilizing their creativity and innovation in benefitting society. Fellows are provisioned a stipend of $625,000 over the course of five years. 

Michelle Monje (ΦΒΚ, Vassar College) won a Fellowship for advancing the understanding of pediatric brain cancers and the neurological effects of cancer treatments with an eye toward improved therapies for patients.

Jesse Shapiro (ΦΒΚ, Harvard University) won a Fellowship devising new frameworks of analysis to advance understanding of media bias, ideological polarization, and the efficacy of public policy interventions.

Nobel Prize
These prestigious honors in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economic science began in 1901, as willed by Alfred Nobel in his last will and testament. This year, there are two Phi Beta Kappa members on the list of honorees.

Joshua D. Angrist (ΦΒΚ, Oberlin College) won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his contributions methodologically to the analysis of causal relationships.

Ardem Patapoutian (ΦΒΚ, University of California, Los Angeles) won in Physiology/Medicine for his critical research identifying how people sense heat, cold, touch, and bodily movements.

Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals
These honors are reserved for the federal workers who are most committed and effective in making the nation stronger, better, and safer. Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D, (ΦΒΚ, Rice University) —who also made the Time 100 list—won the award for Federal Employee of the Year alongside Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, for their groundbreaking research that led to the development of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines in record time, which continue to protect hundreds of millions of people from contracting the deadly coronavirus.

National Book Awards
Established in 1950, the National Book Awards celebrate the year’s best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature, and translated literature. Three Phi Beta Kappa members were finalists for this year’s awards.

Laird Hunt (ΦΒΚ, Indiana University) was nominated for Zorrie in the fiction category.

Robert Jones, Jr. (ΦΒΚ, Brooklyn College) was nominated for The Prophets in the fiction category.

Lucas Bessire (ΦΒΚ, Kansas State University) was nominated for Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains in the nonfiction category.

Washington’s Most Powerful Women
Phi Beta Kappa also had 22 women named to Washingtonian magazine’s list of Washington’s Most Powerful Women 2021.

National Power and Politics
Janet Yellen (Brown University), Treasury Secretary
Gina M. Raimando (Harvard University), Commerce Secretary
Jennifer M. Granholm (University of California, Berkeley), Energy Secretary
Susan Rice (Stanford University), Domestic Policy Council Leader
Isabel Casillas Guzman (University of Pennsylvania), Small Business Administration
Lina M. Khan (Williams College), Federal Trade Commission Chair
Neera Tanden (University of California, Los Angeles), White House Senior Advisor and Staff Secretary

Power on the Hill
Sharon Soderstrom (University of Virginia), Chief of Staff to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Legal Powers
Amy Coney Barrett (Rhodes College), U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice
Elena Kagan (Princeton University), U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice
Sonia Sotomayor (Princeton University), U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice

Idea Powers
Sharon Parrott (University of Michigan), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities President
Sarah Miller (University of Chicago), American Economic Liberties Project Executive Director
Gail Ross (Tufts University), Ross Yoon Agency President

Business Powers
Barbara Humpton (Wake Forest University), President and CEO of Siemens Corporation

Erin O’Shea (Smith College), President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Martine Rothblatt (University of California, Los Angeles), Chair, CEO, and Founder of United Therapeutics

Amy Walter (Colby College), Publisher and Editor in Chief of the Cook Political Report
Judy Woodruff (Duke University), PBS NewsHour Anchor and Managing Editor
Cathy Hughes (Creighton University), Founder and Chair of Urban One

Susan Fisher Sterling (Washington University in St. Louis), Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Mariann Edgar Budde (University of Rochester), Episcopal Bishop of Washington

Joshua Pinckney is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a degree in international relations and politics with an additional major in Hispanic studies and a minor in sociology. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa’s Upsilon of Pennsylvania chapter there in May 2021.