Phi Kappa Phi Inducts New Members

The Berea College chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society for all academic disciplines, held its spring banquet on February 18 in the Woods-Pennimen Commons.  During the banquet 28 new student members were inducted along with Dr. Chad Berry, who is the academic vice president and dean of the faculty, and Dr. Nancy Ryan, a physician at College Health Service.

Associate Professor Andrew Baskin, director of the African and African American Studies program and co-editor of The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies received the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi professor of the year award.

The following is a complete list of this year’s inductees, along with their future academic and career plans.

2014 Phi Kappa Phi Initiates


Sayid R. Bynefsi is a Philosophy major from Dearborn, Michigan.  A member of Vincit Qui Patitur, he received the Gilman Scholarship and the Hutchins Award for Literature.  He has studied at the Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity and is studying abroad in Grenoble, France this term.

Daniel Thomas Dennert, from Oceanside, California, is a Theatre major.  He has been active in Theatre department plays as well as in Concert Choir and Chamber Choir.  He hopes to become a professional musical theatre performer and to help others find and pursue their passions.

R. Ethan Taylor Hamblin, from Gays Creek, Kentucky, is an Appalachian Studies major.  A Bonner Scholar, he has received the Stammer Appalachian Service Award and the Sargent Shriver Youth Warrior Against Poverty Award.  His goal is to build community capacity in rural Appalachian communities through work with non-profits.

Dylan S. Hunziker, a Sociology major from St. Louis, Missouri, has been a recipient of two fellowships, the Freeman in Asia and the Gilman.  He has received multiple first-place awards on the Speech and Debate Team.  After graduation, he hopes to improve the global state of instruction in Chinese as a foreign language, through literature and global educational diplomacy.

Mercy Tallah Kershner is a Spanish major from Mansfield City, Pennsylvania.  Her Berea achievements include the Austin Scholar Award and the Cross Country Most Valuable Runner Award.  A member of Fleur de Lis Freshman Honor Society, she has served as Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Representative.  Mercy hopes to teach English as a second language to immigrants from Latin America.

Karen Lyle Reynolds, from Oberlin, Ohio, is a member of Fleur de Lis and Vincit Qui Patitur Honor Societies and a Gilman Scholar.  A Biology major, she has served as co-president of the Biology Club and of Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society.   Her goal is to help bridge the gap between scientists and citizens, to help people care more about the fascinating world we live in.

Dipendra Sharma Chapagain is a Biology and Chemistry major from Parbat, Nepal.  In addition to membership in Fleur de Lis and Vincit Qui Patitur Honor Societies, he is a recipient of the Pugsley Freshman Mathematics Award.  He plans to pursue a career in medicine, perhaps preceded by a year of work in a research lab.

Olivia June Spooner, from Knoxville, Tennessee, is a Bonner Scholar majoring in Public Health.  Her goal is to become an epidemiologist.

Matthew George Walker, a Physical Education major, is from Wilmore, Kentucky.  Through the CELTS human rights organization People Who Care, he has raised over $3000 for non-profits.  After graduation, he hopes to combine personal training, massage therapy, chiropractic and other drug-free health practices into a single clinic.

Shelby L. Williams is a Psychology major from Sand Gap, Kentucky.  A member of Psi Chi Psychology Honorary Society, she plans to pursue a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology with an emphasis in program evaluation.


Mikiyas Kurabachew Assefa, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is double majoring in Chemistry and Physics.  A recipient of the Thomas Beebe Organic Chemistry Award, he hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Victoria Grace Brown is from Jackson, Ohio.  A double major in Psychology and Theatre and a member of Fleur de Lis, she has served as secretary of Concert Choir and vice president of Psi Chi Honorary Society.   She hopes to earn a Ph.D. in clinical child psychology and to pursue a career as a child psychologist and researcher in interventions in schools and in educational psychology.

Shelby Marie Cansler is a Psychology major from Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.  A Bonner Scholar and member of Psi Chi Honorary Society, she has served as Communications Consultant for the Child & Family Studies department.  Her goal is to receive a doctorate in Neuropsychology and to pursue research in ways the brain processes language and memory.

Aja Michelle Croteau, from Winchester, Kentucky, is majoring in Agriculture & Natural Resources.  A Bonner Scholar, she hopes to use agriculture as a means of outreach to those living in food deserts or other impoverished communities.

Maria Lynette Deiter is a Studio Art major from Berea, Kentucky.  After graduation, she hopes to explore the use of art in community building and in facilitating personal and community transformation.

Khando Dolma, from Bangalore, Karnataka/India, is a Business Administration major.  Her goal is to be able to provide for her mother and three aunts.

Namukaba Hichilo is a Computer & Information Science major from Lusaka, Zambia.  A recipient of the Pugsley Freshman Mathematics Award and the Cleo and Rosa Charles Academic Award, he is a member of Fleur de Lis.  He hopes to pursue a career in software engineering and entrepreneurship.

Barbara Diane Hollstein is a Women’s & Gender Studies major from Morenci, Michigan.  She will be part of a panel presentation at this year’s Appalachian Studies Association and has been invited to join Triota, a women’s and gender studies honorary society.  She serves as a ceramics apprentice and is a member of Wind Ensemble.

Jesse Arthur Massucco, from Moravian Falls, North Carolina, is a major in Agriculture & Natural Resources.  He has been named to KIAC Intercollegiate Soccer All-Conference and is on the Dean’s List.  He hopes to explore untouched mountains in some far corner of the earth.

Courtney Leeann Mollett is a Physical Education major from Thelma, Kentucky.  She was named Lexington Clinic Athlete of the Year in 2013 and is on the Dean’s List.  Her goal is to become a Pediatric Physical Therapist working with special needs children.

Hatinawedu Mupiwa, from Tsatse, Nyanga, Zimbabwe, is majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.  He has received the Ballard-McConnell-Willis and Pugsley Freshman Mathematics Awards and is a member of Fleur de Lis and Epsilon Pi Tau.  A recipient of the Technology and Applied Design departmental labor award, he hopes to pursue a career in software engineering.

Bridget Marie O’Daniel is a Spanish major from Louisville, Kentucky.  Her goal following graduation is to work as an interpreter or translator and to travel to many places to experience other cultures, languages, and people.

Pyae Phyo is a Chemistry major from Myanmar.  A member of Fleur de Lis, she has received the Pugsley Freshman Mathematics Award and the Henry W. and Edna Austin Scholarship.  Her oral presentation in physical/analytical chemistry at the Kentucky Academy of Sciences won second place.  She hopes to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and to teach and do research at an American university.

Kaitlyn Reasoner, a Biology major from Falcon Heights, Minnesota, has received the W.H. and Mabel Simmons Dean Scholarship as well as a Hal Moses Research Internship.  Her plan is to become a Physician’s Assistant and then to practice medicine in a rural area.

Joscelin Rocha-Hidalgo, from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is double majoring in Psychology and Child & Family Studies.  She is a Bonner Scholar who has been on the Dean’s List every semester.  Her goal is to become a child psychologist and open a child development laboratory in her home town.

Quentin V. Savage is an English literature major from Moreno Valley, California.  He is a member of Future Investors of Berea.  His goal is to become an author and advocate for social justice causes.

Marissa Olivia Wells, from Los Angeles, California, is majoring in Communication.  She has received the Father Henry L. Parker Scholarship and the Cleo and Rosa Charles Award.  A Dean’s List student, she hopes to become an entertainment news journalist.

Kiersten Chantel White is a Music and Theatre double major from Kingwood, West Virginia.  She is a member of Concert Choir and was a finalist at the 2013 National Association of Teachers of Singing Vocal Competition.  She has been involved in various Theatre Lab productions.  Her goal is to travel and perform theatre and eventually to teach theatre in high school.


Chad Berry serves as Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty and as Goode Professor of Appalachian Studies and Professor of History.  He holds a B.A. degree from University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from Western Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has authored many publications, including Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles (U. of Illinois P., 2000); he has edited The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance (U. of Illinois P., 2008).   His research interests include Appalachian history and culture, teaching with visual imagery, local food and culture, community and student engagement, and international education.

Nancy Ryan is a Physician at College Health Service.  A graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, she holds a Master’s in Social Work from Marywood College in Scranton and an M.D. from Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.   She has practiced and researched issues in rural, elderly, and low-income health care in a various domestic and international locations.  She is a member of American Academy of Family Physicians and American Board of Family Practice.  In Berea, she has volunteered with Berea Health Ministry and PeaceCraft.

Categories: News, People
Tags: Dr. Chad Berry, Dr. Nancy Ryan, Phi Kappa Phi, Woods-Penniman Building

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.