Croft Student Secures Phi Beta Kappa Society Writing Internship

Jacob Gambrell to write articles for society's Key Reporter

Jacob Gambrell

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi senior Jacob Gambrell, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has received the Phi Beta Kappa Society Writing Internship Award.

Every year, the Phi Beta Kappa Society, one of the most prestigious academic honor societies, seeks writing interns to help publish pieces about the society and to cover various stories about alumni members for its publication The Key Reporter.

Gambrell, an international studies and Spanish major, recently had studied abroad in Chile, where he was placed in advanced upper-level classes. He was able to exhibit his high level of language and writing skills alongside Chilean students. He also had the opportunity to advance his writing skills in a variety of classes by minoring in anthropology and economics.

“Jacob has excelled in all of the areas of our curriculum, both qualitative and the quantitative,” said Will Schenck, associate director of the UM Croft Institute for International Studies. “He has taken advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the international studies major to take classes in history, political science and public policy leadership, as well as classes on human rights and environmental issues in Chile.”

To receive this type of honor, recipients must be a junior or senior majoring in either liberal arts or sciences. Awardees receive a $1,000 grant to go toward their writing. During the internship, they are required to publish a minimum of five articles that range from 500 to 700 words and include a photo.

Before receiving this award, Gambrell also spent time writing for The Daily Mississippian in August. Shortly after, he heard about the Phi Beta Kappa internship from Sandra Spiroff, associate professor of mathematics and president of PBK’s UM chapter, and hopped on the opportunity.

“I guess they liked my DM Waffle House piece in my writing sample,” Gambrell said. “Even though reporting is very different from opinion writing, I am still able to be creative and have some cool pieces in the works.”

“Jacob is very receptive to learning new things and not worried about being changed by what he learns,” said Luanne Buchanan, instructional associate professor of Spanish and secretary-treasurer of the UM chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. “A fundamental part of a college education is to allow oneself to learn and change, and Jacob has mastered that.”

Schenck is passionate about Gambrell’s ability to take on this internship.

“I would say that one of Jacob’s strengths is his ability to use his analytical abilities to think about real-world problems,” he said.

Gambrell said the Croft Institute has prepared him for this internship.

“Croft has done an excellent job in helping me develop my writing skills, especially when it comes to developing a strong thesis statement and logically organizing the supporting arguments,” he said. “This is something that I apply to all forms of writing, not just academic papers.”

After graduating from Ole Miss, Gambrell plans to attend Vanderbilt University for graduate studies in either the Divinity School or the Center for Latin American Studies.