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

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.”


Eight education majors named ‘Anderson scholars’

Faculty mentor honoree Dustin Jones, center, poses with four of the eight Anderson Scholars (pictured from left): Brenna Burke, Janelle Lopez, Date Logan and Katie Stults.

Eight College of Education undergraduates have received a prestigious campus-wide award for academic achievement, and an education faculty member was recognized for his mentorship of several of the honored students.

The College of Education student recipients are ProTeach elementary education majors Brenna Burke, Kate Logan, Janelle Lopez, Alexandra Ramlow, Katherine Romero, Carolyn Smith, and Katie Stults; and ProTeach early childhood education major Jennifer Standsfield.

Mathematics education instructor Dustin Jones, who was nominated by Logan and Lopez, was chosen as an Anderson Scholar Faculty Honoree. Jones is a visiting clinical assistant professor and just finished his first semester at the university.

The students were awarded the Anderson School Certificate of Distinction, High Distinction or Highest Distinction, which is given by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to UF students who have maintained a full, uninterrupted course load and at least a 3.90, 3.95 or 4.00 GPA, respectively, during their first two years at the university.

“It is nice to be recognized for my efforts during my first two years and to know that my accomplishments have not been overlooked,” Lopez said. “I’m glad that my fellow education majors and I have been distinguished as high-achieving students, and I hope we can represent all education majors as hardworking and talented students.”

The Anderson Scholar Faculty Honoree recognizes professors who have mentored Anderson scholars.

“It warms my heart to be identified by my students as inspiring and influential,” Jones said. “These eight Anderson scholars are well on their way to becoming successful teachers who will inspire and influence the next generation of students.”

The Anderson scholar and faculty honoree awards are named after James Nesbitt Anderson, who served as the first dean of what used to be the College of Arts and Sciences between 1910 and 1930. The award was initiated a few years ago by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in part because of the historical role the college has played in the education of undergraduate students during their first two years at UF.