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Elizabeth B. Reed Memorial Scholarship

In memory of Elizabeth Buttler Reed (Elizabeth Schmidt) and in appreciation of the generous bequest received by Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association, on November 14, 1992 the Association Board established the Elizabeth B. Reed Scholarship.

Elizabeth Schmidt was born in Friedrichshafen, Germany on May 19, 1923 of American parents. She moved to the U.S. at age nine months.

Elizabeth, who preferred to be known as Frieda, left home at 16 to become an actress at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 1941 she married one of her instructors, Robert Reed. They moved to San Francisco, where she designed and silk-screened greeting cards and studied the Mandarin Chinese language.

Her parents were living in Pearl Harbor at the time of the bombing, and although they were not hurt, Frieda became very active in the war effort. She worked the night-shift at Marin Shipyard, Sausalito, as a "burner", cutting iron with an oxy-acetylene torch.

She and Robert divorced and she decided to go to sea. The U.S. Merchant Marine would not accept women, so she hired on as a waitress on a Norwegian Freighter. She studied radio telegraphy on board, replaced a drunken radio operator, and was made an officer of the Norwegian Merchant Marine. She also found time to become proficient in Russian.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from U.C. Berkeley in 1949, did postgraduate work at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, then received her M.D. degree from UC San Francisco (U.C.S.F.) in 1953. She discovered a remedy for gout. She also studied the cello.

In 1960 she married Kurt Bendit. During their 27-year marriage, they were active politically, and in their middle age, they were involved in the anti-war protests in Berkeley. She obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1967 from UCSF. From about 1982 to the time of her death she was a part-time physician at Student Health, UCSF. She published numerous papers, translated Russian scientific papers, and also became fluent in Italian.

Frieda is listed in Who's Who In American Women. She had an interest in numerous socially responsible organizations in addition to PBK, including The Nature Conservancy, The Cousteau Society, The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and many others.

Although she had treated countless patients suffering from lung cancer, Frieda smoked heavily, and succumbed to lung cancer at age sixty-seven on February 12, 1991. Frieda had no children.

We of Phi Beta Kappa are very grateful to Frieda Reed for her thoughtfulness in contributing part of her estate to the Association.

In selecting the recipient of this prestigious award, we try to relate to the interests and research to Ms. Reed, not all that difficult considering the wide range of interests she had!

E. B. Reed Scholarship Winners Are:

Year Awardee School Field
2024Alexia Hernandez StanfordLinguistics
2023Nicholas SteversUC San FranciscoBiomedical Sciences
2022Hope SchwartzUC San FranciscoMedicine M.D.
2021Nina VenutiUC DavisEcology
2020 Anna Nisi UC Santa Cruz Environmental Studies
2019 Emma Steigerwald UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
2018 Yvanka de Soysa UC San Francisco Biomedicine
2017 Rebecca Ora UC Santa Cruz Film and Digital Media
2016 Racheli Wercberger UC San Francisco Neuroscience
2015 Stephanie Redmond UC San Francisco Neuroscience
2014 Carissa Chu UC San Francisco Medicine
2013 Andrew Chang Stanford Chemistry / Bioengineering
2012 Elizabeth (Liz) Boatman
UC Berkeley Materials Science & Engineering
2011 Noël Bakhtian Stanford Aeronautics and Astronautics
2010 Lilliana Radoshevich UC San Francisco Biomedical Sciences
2009 Laurel Seely UC Santa Cruz Literature
2008 Manisha Bahl UC San Francisco Medicine
2007 Robert Pringle Stanford Biological Sciences
2006 Corinna Riginos UC Davis Ecology
2005 Sarah Eyerly UC Davis Musicology and Criticism
2004 Lisa Lital Levy UC Berkeley Comparative Literature
2003 Boris Yanislav Wolfson UC Berkeley Slavic Languages and Literature
2002 Roopali Phadke UC Santa Cruz Asian and Environmental Studies
2001 J. Winston Chiong UC San Francisco Medicine
2000 Julie Anderson UC Berkeley Comparative Literature
1999 Helen Fox UC Berkeley Integrative Biology - coral reefs
1998 Laurie Schaffner UC Berkeley Sociology -female juvenile delinquency
1997 Serena Volpp UC San Francisco Biology, Woman's Studies; Medicine
1996 Katherine L. Wu UC Santa Cruz Astronomy and Astrophysics
1995 Cathryn C. Clayton UC Santa Cruz Cultural Anthropology in contemporary China
1994 Elizabeth M. Oudens UC San Francisco English, Medicine
1993 Michelle M. Walker UC Davis Chemistry, emphasizing Cancer research and therapy

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