Honors College

Two USF Honors Students Named 2021 Key into Public Service Scholars – Only Two in Florida

Granting 20 Awards this Year, the Program Connects Arts and Sciences Students with Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship and Public Sector Opportunities

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Tampa, FL. — June 3, 2021 — Two Judy Genshaft Honors College students — Sarah Glaser, a rising senior pursuing dual degrees in Political Science and Public Health, and Samuel Rechek, a rising junior majoring in Political Science and Philosophy with minors in Economics and History — are two of just 20 students nationwide selected as Key into Public Service Scholars by The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. The award recognizes students who have demonstrated interest in working in the public sector and possess a strong academic record in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Chosen from over 800 applicants attending chapter institutions across the nation, each scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and take part in a virtual convening in late June to receive training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into active citizenship. Inspired by many Phi Beta Kappa members who have shaped the course of our nation through local, state, and federal service, the award highlights specific pathways for liberal arts and graduates seeking public sector careers. 

“The Society selected these exemplary students for their intellectual curiosity; breadth and depth across liberal arts and sciences coursework; positive contributions on and off campus through academic research, internships, and community work; and demonstrated commitment to serve the common good,” Phi Beta Kappa Secretary Frederick M. Lawrence said. “As the country tackles concurrent health, economic, and social crises, the Society applauds the 2021 Service Scholars for their pursuit of arts and sciences excellence in service of the greater good.”

A Sarasota, Florida, native, Glaser has a passion for public service and served as a legislative intern for Florida State Representative Fentrice Driskell. She founded and chaired Florida Students for Biden, currently interns in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Representative Charlie Crist, and is a member of President Biden’s National Youth Advisory Committee. “It is an honor to receive this scholarship,” says Glaser. “I am excited about the mentorship opportunities it will provide, and the monetary award will allow me to intern in London this Fall, hopefully in Parliament.” After graduation, Glaser plan to pursue a Master’s degree abroad and study democracy in elections, particularly related to election monitoring.

“I recently completed an Honors thesis under Dr. M. Scott Solomon from USF's School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies,” says Glaser. “We studied Chinese interference in developing democracies in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on telecommunications used in election interference. I would like to work with the United Nations to protect against this type of interference in the future.” 

Rechek, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is passionate about the First Amendment's value for democratic law and society. He is the president and founder of a student organization dedicated to engaging students with their First Amendment protections on campus, and he recently co-authored a manuscript exploring social media users' tendency to avoid diverse political opinions. He credits the Key into Public Service application with helping him further define his career trajectory.

“One of the essay prompts was to tell about the PBK member you admire most,” says Rechek. “I chose Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who served on the U.S. Supreme Court in the early twentieth century. I admire him because he was open to new ideas and reevaluation of the law during his career, moving from supporting censorship to advocating for broad freedom of speech under the First Amendment. After graduation, I plan to pursue a JD/PhD and enter the law profession with a long-term goal of becoming a judge who, like Holmes, is open to new ideas in the spirit of the First Amendment.” 

Both USF recipients worked with the university’s Office of National Scholarships to apply for the award.

“We are so proud of Sarah and Samuel and their commitment to public service,” says Judy Genshaft Endowed Honors Dean and President of USF’s PBK Chapter, Charles Adams. “Their impressive achievements and ambitious goals embody the mission of Phi Beta Kappa to champion learning in the liberal arts and sciences and freedom of thought. I look forward to seeing the remarkable things they’ll do next.”

The complete list of 2021 Scholars includes:

John Boland, University of Notre Dame
Malina Brannen, Georgetown University
Max Chayet, Williams College
Gabrielle Crooks, Stanford University
Jacob Feuerstein, Bucknell University
Sarah Glaser, University of South Florida
Sydney Gray, Yale University
Joseph Hartung, University of Kansas
Jaeger Held, Gettysburg College
Michael Hernandez, University of Connecticut
Raziya Hillery, Butler University
Wren King, West Virginia University
Kassandra Le-Huynh, University of Tulsa
Isabel Lopez, Rhodes College
Karishma Muthukumar, University of California-Irvine
Nazm Rahat, Millsaps College
Sujay Ratna, Rutgers University- New Brunswick
Samuel Rechek, University of South Florida
Khaylah Scott, Millsaps College
Isha Yardi, University of Maryland-College Park

For more information about the scholarship and links to individual biographies of the recipients, please visit pbk.org/KeyintoPublicService.

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 290 colleges and universities in the United States, nearly 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 41 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit www.pbk.org.