Student with short brown hair wearing blue shirt and tie
By Roanoke College News

Roanoke College student named a 2022 Key into Public Service Scholar

James Suleyman, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice and sociology, is one of just 20 students nationwide selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. The award recognizes students who have demonstrated interest in working in the public sector and possess a strong academic record in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences. 

Chosen from almost 900 applicants attending PBK chapter institutions across the nation, each scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and take part in a conference convening in late June to provide them with training, mentoring and reflection on pathways into active citizenship. Inspired by many Phi Beta Kappa members who have shaped the course of our nation through local, state and federal service, the award highlights specific pathways for liberal arts and graduates seeking public sector careers.   

“The Society selected the 2022 Service Scholars for their intellectual curiosity; breadth and depth across liberal arts and sciences coursework; positive contributions on and off campus through academic research, internships, and community work; and demonstrated commitment to serve others,” Phi Beta Kappa Secretary Frederick M. Lawrence said. “As the world grapples with concurrent health, economic, democratic, and climate crises, the Society hopes that its scholarship award encourages more of our nation’s top students to apply their pursuit of arts and sciences excellence in service of the greater good.” 

“I’m thrilled to meet with other students who are as passionate about public service as I am,” Suleyman said. “I hope to network with public service leaders, develop my communication and critical thinking skills, and enhance my political awareness through this program. I want to be a school-based restorative justice coordinator and I think this program will help me do great work in local government.” 

“James is exactly the kind of student that Roanoke College’s Phi Beta Kappa is proud to recognize: those who have a passion for the liberal arts, and particularly using it to make the world a better place.” ”

Dr. Travis Carter, president of Roanoke College's Nu of Virginia chapter of PBK

In addition to his majors in criminal justice and sociology, Suleyman is minoring in psychology and Spanish. He is also a member of the Roanoke College Honors Program. Suleyman is active in Roanoke's Public Affairs Society, Student Government Association, and environmental club. He is a member of Alpha Phi Omega. He also serves as an elementary school tutor and a peer educator. Suleyman’s academic interests include restorative justice, social justice, conflict resolution and mental health.  

Dr. Travis Carter said “We are thrilled with this accomplishment!” Carter is president of Nu of Virginia chapter of PBK. “James is exactly the kind of student that Roanoke College’s Phi Beta Kappa is proud to recognize: those who have a passion for the liberal arts, and particularly using it to make the world a better place.”   

Suleyman has conducted research on mammography in the Republic of Palau and romantic relationships among former inmates. This past fall, he interned at a psychosocial rehabilitation facility for people with severe mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities. For his honors project, James will be studying exclusionary discipline and peer mediation programs in public high schools. After graduation, he intends to pursue a Masters of Social Work and work with youth as a restorative justice coordinator. He is from Wilmington, North Carolina.  

For more information about the scholarship and links to individual biographies of the recipients, please visit