Story by Kathryn Kriss
Photo by Luke Nankivell
Drake University has long been a home to a flourishing pharmacy program, with shiny new laboratories and several clubs and professional fraternities. But another group of students can be seen huddling in the Cline Atrium late at night.
The pre-medical students of Drake University have always been divided across several disciplines and majors but are finally united under an official profession fraternity.
Phi Delta Epsilon is an international medical fraternity that has recently launched a chapter at Drake.
A limited number of chapters are opened in the United States every year, so senior Sam Meyers and junior Peyton Faganel petitioned the national board to allow a chapter at Drake.
Going up against students from Harvard, they impressed the committee enough to earn colonization rights.
After colonizing last year with a small founding-father group of 28, they earned charter rights in September and began recruiting.
“Chartering was cool, and it was fun to be a part of something starting up,” said sophomore Emily Sadecki.
“Right now, we’re working on creating more positions and slowly building,” Sadecki said, citing the creation of committees as instrumental in recruitment this year.
Phi Delta Epsilon is considered a medical fraternity with pre-med chapters.
The various pre-med chapters, like the one at Drake, exist for the purpose of giving members opportunities and resources to get into medical school.
“I already have a lot of resources from my sorority to help with academics, but I wanted something more specific. This gives me a larger group of people who all take the same classes and have the same common goal in mind,” said junior founding member Kathryn Gilbery.
She said she thinks it’s espcially important that Drake has this organization because it’s a larger, international organization.
“Also, PhiDE chapters are on med school campuses, too, so you already have a bunch of resources on campus if you go there,” Gilbery said.
Many of the students who decide to join know they’re going to medical school and are looking for that extra leg up in a competitive field.
The average acceptance rate into med school is 44 percent.
Members of PhiDE, however, boast an acceptance rate of 92 percent, which they attribute to the support system and opportunities given to them as undergraduates.
PhiDE regularly hosts guest speakers to talk about medical schools or programs, or information and help with the MCAT, a hurdle all pre-med students must pass.
Phi Delta Epsilon currently boasts a blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page it uses to get the word out to potential new members.
Along with faculty advisor Gholam Mirafzal of the chemistry department, it is creating an organization system and recruitment plan from the ground up.
Emphasizing connections, philanthropy and the importance of being a well-rounded individual, Phi Delta Epsilon is working on growing one step at a time.