Phi Beta Kappa taps four ProTeach students

Four COE students have been invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and best known academic society that recognizes outstanding academic achievement. Katherine Romero, Kate Logan and Kaitlin […]

Four COE students have been invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and best known academic society that recognizes outstanding academic achievement.


Katherine Romero

Katherine Romero, Kate Logan and Kaitlin “Katie” Stults — all of whom are enrolled or formerly enrolled in the COE’s ProTeach program – have accepted the invitation after being considered by a selection committee from the UF College of Liberal Arts and Science. Michelle Hajian says she plans to formally accept in the near future.

The majority of PBK members come from the CLAS, making UF “unusual but not unique” with its policy of considering students outside that college, according to Ira Fischler, professor emeritus in the UF Department of Psychology and chairman of the Phi Beta Kappa membership committee.

“The College of Education invitations serve as a tribute to the quality of instruction and mentorship the invitees received from UF education faculty,” Fischler said.  

COE dean’s office officials submitted names of 13 prospective Phi Beta Kappa members to the committee, which bases its decisions on grade point average; breadth of study and a minimum of 36 hours of “spread”  coursework outside the student’s major discipline.

Kate Logan1

Kate Logan

Not surprisingly, all four COE students have led busy academic lives. 

Romero expects to receive her master’s degree in December with a dual major in elementary and special education. She was named an Anderson Scholar before earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education last December, graduating with a 3.97 grade point average while being recognized as one of two students named Outstanding 4-Year Scholar with Honorable Mention.

A native of Florida, Romero is a first-generation college graduate whose parents are from Peru.

“I am not ashamed to share that my family immigrated illegally in the 1980s to this country in hopes of a more prosperous future,” she said. “I am beyond proud to be a part of an incredible university, and I have chosen a career path that my family was initially skeptical of because they thought I was “too bright” to just be a teacher. I am taking the road less travelled, and it’s making all the difference.”

Katie Stults1

Kaitlin “Katie” Stults

Stults received her bachelor’s degree in May and already is taking online courses as part of UF’s ProTeach Elementary Education master’s degree program. She plans to receive her master’s within a year — with financial help from the William T. Phelps scholarship she recently received from the COE.

As an undergrad, Stults maintained  a 3.97 grad point average and was presented with the Unified Elementary ProTeach Student of the Year Award. She also was named an Anderson Scholar, and was given a Lancaster Scholarship Award and a Delta Kappa Gamma Society international scholarship.  

Stults accomplished all that while serving as president of Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society.

“My mother joined Phi Beta Kappa in 1979 at Mary Washington College,” Stults said. “From a young age she instilled in me the importance of academic excellence and taught me to live by Phi Beta Kappa’s motto, ‘Love of learning is the guide of life’ — and I’m grateful for that.”

Michelle Hajian

Michelle Hajian

Logan is an enthusiastic teacher who is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential. She recently was named an Anderson Scholar and received her bachelor of arts degree in May with a 3.90 grade point average.

Logan has strong communication skills and is comfortable incorporating technology for student and teacher use.

“I was surprised to see my invitation to Phi Beta Kappa,” she said. “I had heard about the society before and was honored to have been invited. I accepted the invitation because I felt that this could be a great way to connect with people who have similar professional goals as I do as I enter my own career.”

Hajian earned a 4.0 GPA while enrolled in the ProTeach program, and already has begun working on her master’s degree in education at UF after receiving her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in May.

“I plan to have my master’s degree next spring,” Hajian said. “I haven’t formally accepted my invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa, but I’ll definitely be accepting that honor in the near future.”