Students can join a wide array of academic honor societies such as Phi Kappa Phi or Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. But the office of Career Development saw the need for an academic honor society that would provide the opportunity for students to assemble, work together in exploring career development tactics and share their knowledge with the University. This semester, Delta Epsilon Iota is fulfilling that need and will soon be founded on campus.
Career Development is supervising and aiding the establishment of the career-centered and student-led organization. Undergraduates of all majors can now apply to Delta Epsilon Iota. The society may extend admission for graduate students once the society is entirely established, said Judy Carrico, coordinator of career opportunities with University's Career Development. Students who wish to apply for membership must have a 3.30 GPA or better.
According to the Delta Epsilon Iota website, the academic honors society was founded at the University of Georgia in 1994 by the campus' career center's associate director and a student. The society's main purpose is to assist members explore career options within their fields.
"The society will help educate students on career development issues, events, and will provide them the opportunities to learn about developing their career," Carrico said.
Members, and especially those in leadership positions, will also benefit by acquiring skills indispensable to any field.
"There are life skills they're learning," said Kevin Gaw, Career Development director. "This club is more than just about learning general career development things. They also learn transferable skills."
Ayaka Takashimizu, an art history major who applied for both the vice president position and the community service chair, joined not only to hone these abilities. She also wanted to meet new people, find a way to help inform students about opportunities in college and after, and show other international students what can be done with determination and hard work.
"I want to show, especially foreign students, that if I can do it, you can do it," Takashimizu said.
Gaw, Carrico, Becky Newsbaum, an intern, and Brandi Bernard, career counselor, are interviewing students who applied to the leadership positions of president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, webmaster and community service chair, a position that Career Development created. They are interviewing students based on dedication, enthusiasm and initiative, which form the acronym of the society's name, Carrico said.
The six leaders of the society will be chosen from the pool of 20 applicants by early March, Carrico said. Those who are not chosen for any leadership positions will be considered members. The founding chapter of Delta Epsilon Iota on campus will then construct a charter that will govern how the chapter will be run for years to come.
"This leadership group will move the chapter forward," Gaw said. "They will define the future direction for a long while."
Students' response to the society has exceeded expectations, according to Carrico. Many are excited to be a part of a founding chapter on campus.
"It was very impressive," Takashimizu said of Richard Dry's, director of Delta Epsilon Iota, first speech on campus last semester. "It made me think that I wanted to be a part of that."
The Career Development office at the University once had the notion for an academic society called Career Peers that would be focused on careers but Gaw said students would not have had as much control over it as they had hoped.
At the 2006 National Meeting of Colleges and Employers, Gaw and Carrico met with Delta Epsilon Iota officials and realized the society would be the solution to the concerns they had with Career Peers.
"We learned about the organization and we said "This is what we're looking for,'" Gaw said. "A formal student organization that's not run by Career Development."
The society, although they will be a separate entity from Career Development, will still receive advisement and aid from the office.
Takashimizu has high expectations for the society and has faith in it and its ideals.
"I think we can pull this off," Takashimizu said.
Gaw and Carrico hope the Delta Epsilon Iota chapter on campus will benefit both members and non member students.
"They will be ambassadors for thinking ahead to the future and how important it is to plan," Carrico said.