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Alumna, upperclassmen elected to Phi Beta Kappa

McDaniel President Roger Casey and Phi Beta Kappa alumna inductee Judith Harkins ’72.
March 31, 2014

Alumna Judith Ellen Harkins '72 was inducted with 23 seniors and five juniors into the McDaniel College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at a March 30 ceremony held on campus. 

Harkins was, until her retirement in 2010, a professor in the Communication Studies Department and director of the Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University. She graduated summa cum laude at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) with departmental honors in French and Latin and received her Ph.D. in special education administration from Gallaudet in 1984, after completing a M.A. from the California State University-Northridge, and the M.Ed. from WMC.

“To assess the value of liberal arts in real life, it is instructive to have lived a life,” Harkins said in her remarks. “My life is still going on, but my work life is done. So I can tell you what it feels like to be on this end of a career, with a McDaniel Liberal Arts education as a foundation.”

Harkins recognized classmates and friends from college, who travel together each year and who achieved success after graduating “on the cusp of new opportunities for women -- but just at the cusp, not after many gains had been won.” Among these friends and McDaniel graduates are an admissions director and STEM coordinator at a public magnet school, chief financial officer of companies in the finance industry, manager of software engineering projects as a NASA contractor, full-time mother of six and adjunct farmer, supply chain manager for a global manufacturing company, director of an interpreter training program (American Sign Language and English), and computer systems analyst for the airline industry.

Alumna, upperclassmen elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Judith Harkins ’72, 23 seniors and five juniors were inducted into the prestigious national honor society Phi Beta Kappa during a March 30 ceremony.

“Pretty diverse. These are some of the results of a McDaniel education,” Harkins said. “Yes, most of us went to graduate school to go deeply into our professions. But all of us cherish our undergraduate time … as being critical to our success.”

Harkins noted she “went off the grid by going on the grid,” working in technology, in a cross-disciplinary research program she founded at Gallaudet University, aimed at improvements to communication accessibility among deaf people by providing useful information to consumers, government and industry.

“My liberal arts foundation gave me not only knowledge and skills, but a voracious love of learning and an interdisciplinary attitude that made it possible for me to collaborate among engineers, business professionals, attorneys and other policy experts, and leaders in the deaf and hard of hearing communities,” she said. “I found myself having to organize complex information into forms accessible to deaf undergrads, and finding ways to stimulate their critical thinking about issues that, for them, are very much In Real Life.

“And so I came full circle, helping (I hope) to stimulate maturing brains for life after college.”

She has received numerous significant awards for her work and service to the deaf, including the H. Latham Breunig Humanitarian Award at the International Convention of Telecommunications for the Deaf (1995), the Harvey Fletcher Award in Technical Applications by the League for the Hard of Hearing (1995), and the I. Lee Brody Lifetime Achievement Award given by Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI) (2009).

Alumna, upperclassmen elected to Phi Beta Kappa
McDaniel President Roger Casey, Phi Beta Kappa alumna inductee Judith Harkins ’72, Pam Zappardino ’71, Phi Beta Kappa Delta Chapter president and English professor Corey Wronski-Mayersak and Professor of Mathematics Emeritus and college trustee Jim Lightner ’59.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 280 colleges and universities, and over 600,000 members. Students inducted into the Delta of Maryland Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa are:



Cassandra Robbins Berube of Christiana, Pa.

Andrea Justine Briggs of McMurray, Pa.

Mary Helene Chow of Silver Spring, Md.

Kathyrn M. Dales of New Freedom, Pa.

Ramatullah Kane Deme of Silver Spring, Md.

Deanna Josephine Dicello of Gaithersburg, Md.

Kaitlyn Marie Eby of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Catherine Virginia Gironda of Clarksburg, Md.

Kristine Elizabeth Harjes of Rumson, N. J.

Rebecca Rose Kaler of Jefferson, Md.

Julie Anne Little of Woodsboro Md.

Zachary Adam Littrell of Taneytown, Md.

Braeden Laura Lovett of Gaithersburg, Md.

Jasmine Stacey McCormick of Antioch, Calif.

Brighid Katherine Molony of Conway, S. C.

Emily Kathleen Sanders of Danbury, Conn.

Amber Elizabeth Slater of Westminster, Md.

Samantha Rose Stair of Mount Airy, Md.

Sarah Marie Tate of Hagerstown, Md.

Zachary Robert Watkins of Cumberland, Md.

Jesica Suzanne West of Cambridge, Md.

Samantha Jean Wilson of New Castle, Colo.

Nicholai Earl Wingreen of Columbia, Md.



Eric Anthony Bowman of Westminster, Md.

Erin Mae Giles of LaVale, Md.

Cody Philip Knipfer of Ellicott City, Md.

Natalie Rosanna Stefanelli of Dallas, Texas

Kaitlyn Elizabeth Stepler of Jefferson, Md.