2020 Spring Induction

2020 Alumni Inductee

The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Omega of California chapter at Loyola Marymount University inducted Lawrence D. Bobo, Dean of Social Sciences and the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, as an alumni member.

Dr. Bobo holds appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Department of African and African American Studies.  His research, which focuses on the intersection of social psychology, social inequality, politics, and race, has been published widely and he is the founding editor of the DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race.  Dr. Bobo is an elected member of the National Academy of Science,  Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Guggenheim Foundation, Alphonse M. Fletcher Sr. Foundation, and Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

A 1979 graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Sociology, Dr. Bobo exemplifies LMU’s commitment to a liberal arts education and its application to addressing issues of social justice. 

2020 Student Inductees

The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Omega of California chapter at Loyola Marymount University inducted the following students on April 21, 2020:

Veronica Backer-Peral is a triple History, Film and Television Production, and Computer Science major, Business Administration minor, and a member of the University Honors Program.  As part of the Clinton Global Initiative, Backer-Peral completed a project using computer models to study the health care plans of different countries.  She has presented her work on both Middle Eastern perceptions of United States policy and the public history of the Spanish Civil War at the Harvard National Collegiate Research Conference and is scheduled to present at the Stanford Undergraduate Research Conference.  Backer-Peral is also a member of Sursum Corda, a service organization that addresses food injustice, serves on the Sodexo Student Board of Directors, and works with the LMU Global Policy Institute organizing events related to global politics.  Her future plans include pursuing a joint JD/PhD degree and a career in academics or policy making.

Harman Singh Brah is a Biochemistry major and has served as a teaching assistant for classes in the Chemistry, Biology, and Physics departments.  As a member of the service organization Crimson Circle, he has worked with a program providing tutoring and recreational programs to elementary schools in low-income parts of Los Angeles, in partnership with LMU’s School of Education.  Brah will attend medical school at the University of California, San Diego, in Fall 2020, and is the recipient of the 2020 Alpha Association Graduate Study Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association in Southern California

Richard Colton Cavanaugh is a Women’s and Gender Studies major and a member of the University Honors Program. Cavanaugh’s research has included the use of the archive in Queer and Trans Studies, representations of queer childhood in memoirs, and an honors thesis on recent discussions of diversity and representation in the US book publishing industry. Cavanaugh has also participated multiple times in LMU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, published an essay in the Honors Program’s journal Attic Salt, and is co-author of a paper on the relationship between implicit theories, self-efficacy, and political participation submitted for publication in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Their future plans include working in the publishing industry, with a particular interest in young adult fiction.

Siobhan Kathleen Collins is a Political Science and Economics double major, Philosophy minor, and member of the University Honors Program.  Her research includes examining the history of metal detectors in Chicago Public Schools through the lens of a Foucauldian genealogical method.  A member of the LMU Mock Trial team, Collins is considering both law school and doctoral program in political theory.

Reilly Grzywacz is an Environmental Studies major with a concentration on health and society.  She has served as an environmental education intern for Friends of Ballona Wetlands, has conducted research for LMU’s Center for Urban Resilience, and is on the Executive Board of ECO Students, an environmental service club focusing on environmental legislation, campus sustainability, and community service.  Grzywacz also worked to create and is active with Divest LMU, which seeks to move LMU's endowment from funds and stocks related to the production of fossil fuels.

Marcela Lozano is an Economics major and Spanish minor.  She is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an international honors society for economics, and has worked as a volunteer for A New Way of Life (ANWOL)’s Criminal Record Expungement Program.  Lozano also completed an internship for Latitude Legal, a legal recruitment firm in London, and plans to attend law school.

Elena Martinez is an Applied Mathematics major, Computer Science minor, and member of the University Honors program.  She is also a McNair Scholar, works at LMU’s Center for Service and Action, and is Vice President of Finance for Agapé, an LMU service organization focusing on mental health advocacy.  Martinez won the American Statistical Association’s 2019 Fall Data Challenge, a national undergraduate competition for recommendations to address homelessness based on analysis of US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s statistics.  She was also the recipient of a 2019 Great Minds in STEM’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student Leadership Award, which recognizes high academic achievement, leadership, service, and potential to be both an innovative leader in STEM and role model for Hispanic youth.  Martinez plans to attend a doctoral program in Applied Mathematics.

Abigail Medlin is a Chemistry major and Applied Mathematics and Philosophy double minor.  Her research in physical organic chemistry has included studying the mechanism of an organic reaction to improve the selectivity of acylation reactions, while in philosophy she had done work on the moral obligations of addressing poverty and free will skepticism.  Medlin presented at the 2018 Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research and was selected for the 2020 American Chemical Society’s Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference.  In the fall, Medlin will enter the PhD program in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Announcement of the Alpha Association Graduate Study Award from the Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa member Harman Singh Brah (BS, Biochemistry) is the LMU recipient of the 2020 Alpha Association Graduate Study Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association in Southern California. 

Brah was selected because of his extraordinary undergraduate record and his interest in pursuing the study of medicine for both an academic career and to practice for the social good.  He will use the scholarship to support his attendance at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, beginning Fall 2020.

Announcement of the Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship

Phi Beta Kappa member Veronica Backer-Peral, an Honors Program sophomore with a triple major in history, film and television production, and computer science, has been selected by the national Phi Beta Kappa office as a 2020 Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship recipient.

The newly inaugurated annual scholarship is presented to only twenty liberal arts and science students from the 290 PBK member institutions. The award goes to students who have demonstrated an interest in working in the public sector and have a record of academic excellence, with breadth and depth in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.  As part of the award, recipients are provided with training and mentoring opportunities on pathways from liberal arts and sciences education into active citizenship and public service.