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BFS Students at an Event

BFS Faculty Council

The BFS Faculty Council works closely with the BFS Director to provide the program's intellectual and academic leadership. The Council consists of the BFS Director and the Directors of the BFS programs in Penn's four undergraduate schools, and meets regularly to discuss program vision and set academic, admissions, instructional, and other program policies.

  • Prof. Kimberly Bowes, Professor of Classical Studies, Director of Benjamin Franklin Scholars
  • Prof. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen, Associate Dean of Educational Initiatives and Assessment, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Director of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program in Engineering
  • Prof. Sarah Hope Kagan, Professor of Gerontological Nursing, Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Nursing, and Director of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program in Nursing
  • Prof. Benjamin Nathans, Alan Charles Kors Endowed Term Associate Professor of History and Director of the Integrated Studies Program (ISP)
  • Prof. Catherine M. Schrand, Celia Z. Moh Professor of Accounting and Director of the Joseph Wharton Scholars Program in Wharton

Advising Contact Information

BFS students receive expert advising from faculty and staff who serve as BFS Academic Advisors within the student's home school, and who help students take advantage of all that BFS has to offer: 

Single-degree College students participating in the Integrated Studies Program should contact their assigned College pre-major advisor. Students with general inquiries about ISP should contact Dr. Julio Tuma.

Engineering (including dual-degree students): Prof. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen,
Nursing (including dual-degree students):  Prof. Sarah Kagan, 
Wharton (including dual-degree students):  Dr. Utsav Schurmans,  

BFS Undergraduate Advisory Board

With the goal of uniting scholars from different classes and schools across Penn, the BFS Undergraduate Advisory Board was established to foster a sense of community within BFS. The board aims to facilitate interaction among scholars by organizing social and education events such as:

  • Study Breaks
  • Trivia Nights
  • Alumni Events
  • Annual Alumni Trek to New York

Our UAB:  


Griffin Pitt, Class of 2026, is studying the economics, development and cultural impact of water infrastructure in the College of Arts and Sciences. She serves as the 2024 President of the BFS UAB. Outside of BFS, Griffin is an SNF Paideia Fellow, member of the Penn Women’s Rowing team, and a student researcher at the Penn Water Center. She enjoys eating breakfast at Hill College House, biking along the Schuylkill River Trail, and SABS-ing on Locust.


Daria Haner is a member of the college class of 2026. She grew up between Minneapolis, MN, and Istanbul, Turkey, and is double majoring in Biological Anthropology and Earth Sciences with a minor in Data Science and Analytics. She has been a member of the BFS Undergraduate Advisory Board since freshman year, works at the Penn Museum Gordion Archives, and is also a member of Penn Quiz Bowl. Beyond academics, she enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy books, traveling, and sampling Philadelphia's fantastic food scene.

Hannah Shumsky is a sophomore in the College from Arlington, VA. She is on the pre-med track, pursuing a Neuroscience major and a minor in Religious Studies. Outside of her role as VP of Social Event Planning for the BFS UAB, she is president of Sigma Kappa, a member of Club Tennis, a photographer for the Daily Pennsylvanian, and a leader of the PennArts pre-orientation program. She has been involved with research through PURM - she studied medieval Jewish books last summer under the direction of Professor Joshua Teplitsky. For fun, she enjoys watching professional baseball and hockey and loves running along the Schuylkill river trail.

Leo Solga is a member of the Class of 2026, studying political science and statistics with an interest in Spanish and Portuguese. He is from just outside of Philadelphia, Lower Merion, PA, to be precise. Outside of the BFS UAB, Leo is a Perry World House Fellow and a member of the Undergraduate Assembly. He is also a Resident Advisor (RA) at Hill College House. Leo is interested in local courts, complicated board games, and canned fish.

Dennise Sanchez is considering a double major in Cognitive Neuroscience and Creative Writing, with a minor in Urban Education. She serves as Secretary for Aspiring Educators at Penn, a math and literacy tutor through the Penn GSE tutoring initiative, and will be a research assistant in the Changing Brain Lab at Penn this summer. Outside of class, Denise loves to journal, ski, swim, collect CDs, and take her dog for a walk in her South Philadelphia. 

Alexandra DiMauro is considering double majoring in Astrophysics, and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology,  in the College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2027. In addition to the BFS UAB, she is a part of the Women in Life Sciences club, Society of Physics Students club, and a peer mentor. Outside of school she is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and enjoys hiking, and playing piano. 

Laurel Caruso is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2027, studying art history and statistics. Aside from being a member of the BFS board, she is a coxswain on the Men's Heavyweight Rowing team, the social chair of Penn's pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, the events director of Penn Appetit, and on the social media committee of the Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Ellen Choi (she/her) is a freshman intending to major in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. Coming from a small beach town in Florida, she is excited to meet diverse friends and enjoy the distinct seasons at Penn. Outside of the UAB, she is the Wellness Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board (DAB), Outreach Chair of Penn for UNICEF, and an active committee member of Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club (WUHC), Wharton Korean Undergraduate Business Society (WKUBS), and Penn Student Agencies (PSA). In her free time, Ellen enjoys golfing, swimming, and playing the violin.

Ashwin Laksumanage is studying Economics and Political and Moral Philosophy in the College, Class of 2027. They are a member of the Philomathean Society, Penn Debate Society, and Without a Net Improv Comedy Club.

Ezra Dubowitz, Class of 2027, is studying Biology and Health and Societies on the pre-med track in the College. His other academic interests include anthropology and the history and sociology of science. In addition to serving on the BFS UAB, he conducts research at the Levy Lab in Penn’s Microbiology Department, volunteers with Service Link, competes on Penn Men’s Club Soccer Team, and is involved with other community service-related initiatives on campus and around Philadelphia. His hobbies include hiking, reading, spending time with friends and family, camping, and running.