September 23, 2018  

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University of Southern Mississippi Graduate Named Phi Kappa Phi Fellow

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Ariel Elliott

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi — the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines — has named University of Southern Mississippi graduate Ariel Elliott a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, awarding her $5,000 toward the first year of graduate or professional study.

Phi Kappa Phi currently awards six fellowships of $15,000 each and 51 fellowships of $5,000. USM has had nine fellowship recipients in the past decade, including a seven-year streak from 2009 to 2015.

Elliott earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice with two minors in English and Human Rights from USM, where she was an Honors College student.

“The Honors College is enormously proud of Ariel for this crowning achievement, and we know she will represent us well at Florida State,” said Ellen Weinauer, Dean of the Honors College. “We are also proud of the lineage that Ariel represents: she is the 9th Honors College student to garner the Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship since 2009.” 

She will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University in the fall. Though she will be taking core courses normally taken when pursuing a master's degree, Elliott said she is able to pursue a Ph.D. at this time due to her credentials of research experience, academics, leadership experience and volunteerism, among other things.

Elliott is also a recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl Award, which is the highest scholastic honor awarded by the University also known as valedictorian status. This award is given to the student with the highest GPA with the most academic hours taken out of the entire graduating class at USM that year.

Out of this year’s graduating Honors College students, Elliott was also selected as one of two Honors College Standard Bearers. These two students have the highest GPA with the most academic hours and are selected to carry the standard of the USM Honors College at graduation.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi was established in 1897 to recognize and encourage superior scholarship without restriction as to area of study and to promote the “unity and democracy of education.” Membership requires an invitation from an established campus chapter and is restricted to students with integrity and high ethical standards and who are ranked scholastically in the top of their class, regardless of field of study.

Each year, active Phi Kappa Phi chapters select one candidate each among its local applicants to compete for its Society-wide awards. The selection process for a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.  

The fellowship program since its creation in 1932 has become one of the Society's most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $345,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study.