This week’s seminar focuses on evaluating the academic performance of groups of Williams students.

In a recent thread, Derek (“you then don’t have empirical numbers”), Name-Removed-by-Request (“make up statistics out of thin air”), Rory (“make up numbers”) and others chided me for a lack of data about the racial breakdown of Phi Beta Kappa membership at Williams. Point taken! So, let’s gather some data using the distributed power of the EphBlog readership. There are no African-Americans in Phi Beta Kappa for the class of 2010 at Williams College. See the course catalog (pdf) for the raw data. Start with the Summas:

Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude
*+Christopher Alan Chudzicki, with highest honors in Physics
*Kristine Grønning Ericson, with highest honors in Art
*Ruth Madeline Ezra, with highest honors in Art
*Cristina M. Florea, with highest honors in History
*Andrew Lawrence Forrest
*Sophie Ariel Glickstein
*Yibai Li
*Zachary Clair Miller, with highest honors in History
*+Ralph Elliott Morrison, with highest honors in Mathematics
*+Kathleen Malone Palmer, with highest honors in Neuroscience

The * indicates membership in Phi Beta Kappa. None of these Ephs are African-American. (Corrections welcome!) See below for the Magnas.

Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude
*+Emily Silberstein Barrios, with highest honors in Psychology
*Eric Osborne Beam
*+Alexander Nathaniel Beecher, with honors in Chemistry
*Madeline Farver Berky
*Chloe Alexandra Harkness Blackshear, with highest honors in Comparative
Literature
*Eva Kern Breitenbach
*Elizabeth Bailey Brickley, with honors in Biology
*Ethan Peter Buchsbaum, with highest honors in Art
*Ireane Si-Ru Cao, with highest honors in Art
*Karen Chiu, with highest honors in Chemistry
*Miriam Elinor Chotiner-Gardner
*Carolyn Anne Clark, with honors in English
*John Paul Comforto
*Alexander Louis Creighton, with honors in English
*Yang Du, with highest honors in Economics
*Colleen Mary Farrell, with highest honors in Women’s and Gender Studies
*Julianne Leigh Feder
*Matthew Murphy Furlong, with highest honors in Sociology
*Jonathan Michael Galinsky
*Desire Tatenda Gijima, with highest honors in Chemistry
*Hanna Lee Gisel
*+Allison Rachel Goldberg, with honors in Geosciences
*Taylor Maxwell Goller, with honors in Biology
*Charlotte Alexandra Healy, with highest honors in Art
*Whitney Lynne Hitchcock
*Allegra Mary Hyde
*+Benjamin William Iliff, with highest honors in Biology
*Elizabeth Joanna Irvin, with highest honors in Music
*+Steven Ratcliffe Jackson, with honors in Physics
*Leah Corinne Katzelnick, with honors in Anthropology
*Lina Maliha Khan, with highest honors in Political Science
*Stephanie Haewon Kim, with honors in English
*+Jamie Lee Lahvic, with highest honors in Biology
*Sarah Sun Lee, with honors in Political Science
*+Kefei Lei, with highest honors in Computer Science
*Jacob Joseph Friedman Levin, with honors in Religion
*+Jun Liu, with honors in Biology
*Joseph Brooks Lorenz
*Trevor Clark Lynch
*Petya Pankova Miteva
*+David Andrew Moore, with honors in Computer Science
*+Edward Souder Newkirk, with honors in Mathematics
*+Scott Wilder Olesen, with highest honors in Physics
*Ma Khin Pyi Son, with highest honors in Biology
*Patrick Daniel Rouhselang Rhine
*Thomas Rubinsky
*Danielle Celia Selcer, with honors in German
*Lauren Elizabeth Sinnenberg, with honors in Biology
*Susan Shau Ming Tan, with highest honors in English
*Fida-e-Tashfia, with highest honors in English
*Alexander Perry Taylor
*Elly Jane Teitsworth
*Stephen Patrick Vrla
*Amanda Clark Widing
*John Roderick Withers
*Leiyu Xie, with highest honors in Economics
*Kate Louise Yandell, with honors in English

I have deleted the Magnas who were not Phi Beta Kappa from this listing. Again, there are no African-Americans. Corrections welcome! (There is one student who is from Africa but not, a US citizen. Williams would classify him as a non-resident alien, not African-American.)

If anyone wants, I am happy to repeat this exercise for the class of 2009. Again, the point of this post is not to try to explain anything. I am merely documenting the racial breakdown of the Phi Beta Kappa members in the class of 2010, just as Williams itself documented the racial breakdown of the class of 2010 as a whole when they enrolled four years ago. In the fall of 2006, 52 African-Americans started at Williams, almost 10% of the class of 2010. Last spring, none of them made Phi Beta Kappa.

Methodology: For those curious, my methodology is simple. I asked a bunch of students in the class of 2010 if any of these students were African-American. According to my sources, none are. Now, these students could be mistaken. A Williams student may have checked the “African-American” box without appearing African-American to his Williams classmates. So, there might be one or even two African-Americans in this list. But there is no doubt that virtually none of the Phi Beta Kappa students at Williams in the last few years are African-American.

How would you explain this empirical finding? Rory is an expert on the topic of student performance at elite collegese. Perhaps he can help us to understand it . . .

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