A ceremony held Nov. 10 in the Daniel•Moultrie Science Center (DMSC) marked the establishment of the Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Health Preprofessional Honor Society at Erskine College. Erskine’s new chapter is only the sixth to be formed among colleges in South Carolina.
The induction and installation of officers and the induction of additional members were conducted as separate segments of the event. Dr. Cindy Stanfield, past AED president and a member of the national organization’s board of directors, joined the Erskine group virtually, inducting the officers first “so that the [Erskine officers] would be able to perform the ceremony for the other members,” Professor of Biology Dr. Al Mina said. Erskine College Provost Dr. Tom Hellams, also joining the ceremony virtually, offered congratulations to the new chapter.
Officers serving Erskine’s Alpha Epsilon Delta chapter are Chloe Hamilton, president; Sydney Eaker, vice president; Lexi Lewis, secretary; Sydney McInnis, treasurer; and Anna Parramore, historian. Parramore is also designated as the Erskine chapter’s reporter for The Scalpel, a magazine published by Alpha Epsilon Delta.
Three prospective members waited in the DMSC lobby while the first part of the ceremony took place in the auditorium. Now the newest members of the organization, they are juniors Kelci Brown, Ann Rose Conner, and Kathryn Torgerson.
In order to be eligible for membership, a student must be in a major approved by the AED National Office as a preprofessional track. “At Erskine, that includes biology, chemistry, and health science,” Mina says. “Students must also be at least a second-semester sophomore and have a minimum GPA of 3.2 in their science courses and overall.”
Mina, who serves as faculty sponsor for the chapter, stresses the student-led efforts behind the birth of the chapter. “This is actually something that has been in the works for a few years,” he says. “The students who put it in motion and did most of the work to get the chapter established have graduated.”
Students collected data on Erskine enrollment and the number of students who would be eligible for membership. They also secured letters of recommendation from two science faculty members, the proposed chapter advisor, the student organization advisor, and a chapter advisor from a different institution.
“They also had to write a constitution for the proposed chapter,” Mina says. “After completion and review by the national office, a petition for establishment of a chapter was submitted and approved. Along the way several things had to be revised and redone for various reasons, which was part of the reason for the delays.”
The process began about 2015, with Reid Windmiller ’17, the first student to express an interest in establishing a chapter. “He started the process, but we did not get all the steps done before he graduated,” Mina says.
A couple of years later, Zach Morgan ’19 “picked up the idea, but basically had to start from scratch,” Mina explains. “We got most of the work done, but again, we didn’t complete the process prior to Zach’s graduation.”
Mina says Cassidy Cross ’20 was the next student to work toward getting the honor society on campus. “We had to repeat some of the things we had done before because students on our prospective roster had graduated. We finally had our information updated and completely submitted in late fall 2019.”
The honor society’s national office took a few months to review Erskine’s submission. Just after approval was given, Erskine classes moved to an online format and many students left the campus as the COVID-19 pandemic began, “so we couldn’t establish the chapter last spring,” Mina recalls.
Alpha Epsilon Delta was founded in 1926. Membership is open to all students currently enrolled in a health preprofessional curriculum. AED serves as an honor society and a service organization. Membership is based on each student’s scholastic achievement. For more information on the society, see its website here.