PBK Young Scholar Award Submissions


See winners from previous years here


The Phi Beta Kappa Association of East Central Illinois is very excited to announce our 31st annual PHI BETA KAPPA YOUNG SCHOLAR AWARD competition: http://castle.eiu.edu/~pbk/award.php

Please note that we have revamped this award by increasing the number of prizes and the cash prize amounts, and by changing the submission process, as explained below.

Note: While we do expect winners to attend the Spring Banquet, future enrollment at EIU is not a requirement for entering this competition. We do hope that all student winners will check out the wonderful opportunities and environment that EIU has to offer!


Eligibility requirements                                                                              

1) We will be happy to receive nominations of any high school JUNIORS who are excited about learning and using the gift of learning to see the world in a new light.


2) A complete nomination packet must be submitted online by Tuesday, February 12, 2019:


  • A letter of support from a teacher who knows the student’s work well (a single teacher may nominate up to 5 students--in a single letter--here)
  • Current contact info for the student, including email, mailing address, and phone
  • An essay of approximately 500 words written by the student in response to the prompt below



Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the most prestigious honors society in the U.S. (see www.pbk.org). The PBK motto is:

Love of learning is the guide of life.


****WRITING PROMPT: Describe an experience that piqued your intellectual curiosity.****


For instance, you might want to tell us about a time when you…


*struggled to learn something and persisted; or


*learned something on your own, through scientific inquiry or close observation; or


*posed a question as a child—such as “why is the sky blue?”—that was answered by what you learned in school; or


*gained a more global perspective by studying a foreign language; or


*learned of an historical event; or


*understood how a Midwestern background prepares you to make unique contributions as a citizen


Any of these suggestions may address experiences inside or outside of school.


NOTE: Since winning essays will be read at the banquet, please ensure that the material is appropriate for public sharing. 


Submit essay using this online form by
Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Teachers, please click here to submit your letter of recommendation!


Information about the Phi Beta Kappa Spring Banquet                                                     

Attendance: Winners will be expected to attend the PBK Spring Banquet at Eastern Illinois University


Who: Winners and their parents, teachers, and principals will be invited, along with Phi Beta Kappa Association members and current Honors Eastern students.


When: Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 5-7pm


Where: the beautiful Doudna Fine Arts Center Main Concourse, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, 1860 7th St., Charleston, IL 61920


Six Prizes: The first prize, second prize, third prize, and three honorable mention winners will be awarded a book and prizes of $300, $200, $150, $100, $100, and $100. The banquet costs for each winner and up to two guests of their choice will be covered. 


Campus tours: Current Honors College students will conduct a special campus tour of Eastern immediately before the banquet. Please request a campus tour and we will be in contact with you.


Keynote: Dr. Don Holly, Professor of Anthropology, will deliver the riveting keynote!


The Honors College at Eastern: The Honors College offers an exceptional Honors education as well as very generous scholarships to attend EIU. Please see http://www.eiu.edu/honors/Dean_welcome.php and http://www.eiu.edu/honors/Freshman_scholarships.php


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at sapark@eiu.edu or the Co-Coordinators of the PBK Young Scholar Award Competition: Sarah Johnson (PBK Secretary) at sljohnson2@eiu.edu or Woody Skinner at wwskinner@eiu.edu.


We’re looking forward to your wonderful entries!


Sincerely yours,

Dr. Suzie Park, Professor of English and Assistant Dean, Pine Honors College

President, Phi Beta Kappa Association of East Central Illinois

Senator, National Phi Beta Kappa Council