From Weekly Chapter to Congress: Representing DPhiE in Hill Visits

Kiara Josey- Gamma Lambda chapter, Caldwell University

From day one of the recruitment process during her freshman year at Caldwell University, it was clear to now senior Kiara Josey that the members of Delta Phi Epsilon had strong, unbreakable bonds that she strived to experience, especially during her undergraduate experience. 

After that moment, Kiara decided to join DPhiE and dedicate her next four years to developing those bonds while also pushing efforts in inclusion so more and more individuals could experience the friendships that she was able to form herself. 

Due to this steadfast commitment to inclusion and belonging, Kiara was nominated to represent the sorority as a whole at a recent virtual lobbying visit with her representatives. 

Normally hosted in Washington, DC, Kiara, along with representatives from other partnering sororities, met with offices of both representatives and senators virtually to discuss two pieces of legislation related to expanding the sorority experience. 

The undergraduate members were accompanied by representatives from the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), an organization dedicated to advocating for legislation that is important to the success of fraternity and sorority organizations across the country.

Kiara, along with a member from Sigma Delta Tau sorority, discussed the importance of Greek housing maintenance and anti-hazing policy. 

The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act of 2021, if passed, would allow tax-exempt charitable or educational organizations to make collegiate housing and infrastructure grants to fraternities and sororities that apply such grants to their collegiate housing property. Currently, alumni members of chapters are not guaranteed donations made to the campus will enhance sorority or fraternity housing. 

The Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act would create a federal definition of hazing, require universities to include incidents of hazing in their Clery Act reporting and provide students with educational programming related to hazing. 

“This was my first time lobbying and I did not know much about the process going into the sessions,” Kiara said. “It was a really rewarding experience being able to represent DPhiE on issues that affect us everyday.”

Within her chapter, Kiara serves on the leadership team as the vice president of equity and belonging. When looking back at her experience so far as a member, she noted her favorite memories were helping the sorority to navigate through the last few years of social uprisings. 

From Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country, to hate crimes targeting the AAPI community, Kiara helped her chapter navigate the best way to lead with empathy and make sure DPhiE is and remains an organization dedicated to diversity, inclusion and belonging. 

Because of her leadership within this space, Kiara received the nomination to represent the international community in the lobbying visit. 

“Because of DPhiE, I have been able to learn from fellow leaders on best practices to handle difficult situations and tactics to help navigate obstacles,” Kiara said. “I learned that lobbying for the things that matter most to you is a great way to get your voice heard.”

DPhiE Member Spotlight: Amora Laucella

St. Johns University

Amora Laucella has been active in the DPhiE network for over a decade, and she doesn’t see her commitment to the community changing anytime soon. 

As a freshman studying at St. John’s University, Amora lived away from her family for the first time. The physical distance from her two biological sisters pushed her to find an organization that could replicate their encouragement and support, leading her to DPhiE’s Beta Omega chapter. During recruitment Amora immediately felt comfortable with the members; she knew she had found a community both on campus and beyond.

She soon took on a position of leadership on the chapter standards board, where she worked to solve conflicts and promote positive resolutions between members. This experience addressing tough issues helped Amora overcome situational barriers and relate to others on a personal level, strengthening her leadership style. She later went on to become the chapter’s special event chair, and fell in love with the event planning process.

Amora currently serves as the Faith Formation Director of the Diocese of Rockville Center.

“I work with adults, children and families to learn about their faith. I love it, and I really feel like my time in leadership positions with DPhiE has led me toward what I do now,” she explained. “The experiences I've had with my own chapter sisters: officiating weddings, being a part of major life events and sharing in the lives of other people; it all comes down to supporting your community and being supported back.”

After graduating from undergrad, Amora continued her education at St. Johns and went on to earn a master's degree in theology. As a graduate student, she took on a temporary position as the Beta Omega lead advisor, which later turned into a permanent role. As lead advisor she won alumni partner of the year twice, and oversaw the organization as it won St. John’s ‘organization of the year’ award. After earning her master's, Amora also joined the advisory board for the Indiana University Delta Delta chapter, where she continues to encourage the personal growth of members.

This legacy of giving can also be seen in Amora’s own biological sisters, who joined DPhiE at St. John’s as undergraduates.

“I was able to give them the bid to join the organization and see them grow as women and leaders. Being able to see your family grow and succeed is an incredible thing,” she said. “To have something built on generations of sisters that came before you, to build to that success so many have worked toward - it was so special.”

Amora strongly encourages fellow sisters to give back to their community, even if it means starting small. 

“Eventually you can take on those larger roles once you have your life settled after graduation, she said. “You can always come back as a role model with life experience that collegiate members can benefit from, and even small acts of support are invaluable in so many ways.”

DPhiE Member Spotlight: Alyssa Fredin

Epsilon Lambda chapter - Michigan Technological University

When arriving on campus during her freshman year at Michigan Technological University, Alyssa Fredin was determined to find a way to get involved. Coming from a family of two brothers and attending a school with a large ratio of men to women, Alyssa knew that she was in search of sisterhood.

Fast forward to the present day, Alyssa is proud to say that she found that sisterhood and it has only grown since. She now serves as the lead advisor for her chapter and has held the position for the past five years. 

“Volunteering for a chapter allows you to continue your growth as an individual and offer support to growing chapters at the same time,” Alyssa said. “DPhiE brought me meaningful connections that have only continued to grow during my time as an advisor.”

Alyssa grew up locally to her university, with her parents only about 10 miles away from the DPhiE house. Nevertheless, she felt equally at home with her DPhiE sisters. 

“When I was first introduced to the sorority, I immediately connected to the mission and felt like DPhiE empowered well-rounded individuals. I felt like I had known the members for years after just meeting them and knew I would create connections for life,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa currently serves as the director of financial aid at her alma mater and is deeply grateful to work on a campus that shaped who she is today. Now as an advisor, she tries to offer historical data to the chapter such as past event successes and procedures, yet also encourages the new members to experiment. 

“As the only advisor local to the chapter, I am on the ground physically there for support,” she said. “I enjoy helping toward resolution and seeing my fellow members thrive in an environment that shaped so much of what I stand for today.”

In 2019, Alyssa was awarded advisor of the year by the Fraternity and Sorority Life on campus and was proud to watch DPhiE win chapter of the year at this year’s ceremony. 

“As a volunteer, I felt support from day one. From my chapter, from my fellow advisors, from IHQ, all of the above. I felt pushed to be the best version of myself.”

DPhiE Member Spotlight: Stephanie Cockerl

Cornell University – Delta Rho chapter

Flipping through the student newspaper one day during her junior year at Cornell University, Stephanie Cockerl (Delta Rho chapter) stumbled upon an ad that read, “Go for the purple and the gold.” Delta Phi Epsilon sorority was trying to refound the chapter on campus. 

Interested in expanding her involvement at school socially while balancing a difficult architecture major workload, Stephanie answered the ad and attended a meeting to start the discussion of refounding. 

“I loved starting the process from the ground up,” Stephanie said. “This experience taught me to be open to possibilities and go with what feels right. I had friends in other sororities and never felt a good fit, but I soon found that with the creation of DPhiE.”

After about a year of planning, the sorority became a chapter on campus. Stephanie served as the ritualist and corresponding secretary as an undergraduate member, but what really started her involvement with DPhiE was the creation of each sorority’s website on campus. The internet was just jumping off and Stephanie saw the platform as a great opportunity to engage members. 

The websites were so successful that International Headquarters caught site of the project and offered Stephanie a job to maintain the international website following graduation. She supported the website off and on for the next 10 years. 

“DPhiE taught me the importance of having a voice at the table, not being afraid to speak your mind and always daring to pick up the phone,” Stephanie said. “After two years of sheltering, I am looking forward to getting back with my sisters and embracing our sisterhood that taught me these life lessons.”

Meeting sisters at International Leadership Forum, at different chapter initiations in advisor roles and even joining a reunion of the original founding chapter at Cornell, Stephanie has felt support from members far and wide. 

Stephanie reflected on when she lost her mom 17 years ago, and when she had the privilege of initiating her grandmother 7 years ago – both events were filled with an overwhelming presence of support from her sisters. She now serves as the communications chair for the Educational Board Foundation, chapter president of the NYC alumni association and president of the NYC Panhellenic alumni association. 

“I feel like all of us in DPhiE leadership are like our own chapter as well,” Stephanie said. “Although we are all across the country, we know that we have a sister a phone call, text or a chat away.”

DPhiE Member Spotlight: Laura Miller

Beta Nu chapter- Wesley College

Laura Miller’s first introduction to Delta Phi Epsilon was a bit unorthodox. Although she wasn’t involved with the sorority during her undergraduate years, Laura proudly identifies with the organization that, according to her, pushed her to be a leader with empathy. 

Following a recent move to Delaware, Laura decided to attend an event hosted by the state’s alumni association to connect and network with other people in the area. She started the process of becoming an alumni member shortly after joining the association. 

“I knew I wanted to be part of something bigger,” Laura said. “Growing up I thought sororities were where you bought your friends. I learned quickly that it is not that at all. You are joining an organization that allows you to connect with others who are driven, focused and dedicated to our shared sisterhood.”

Laura now serves as the lead advisor of the Delta Delta chapter at Indiana University - Bloomington. For the past year and a half, she has been working with the leadership team of the chapter to improve morale and overall connection with the organization. Laura says she has seen great growth from her fellow members, especially when she had the opportunity to visit the Delta Delta chapter in person for the first time for a site visit last December. 

“Being an advisor, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from members in ways I wouldn’t get otherwise. My chapter is more aware of issues related to the gender binary and evolving identities and this has pushed me to become more of a learner,” Laura said. “I’ve brought the lessons I’ve learned from the chapter back into my personal and professional life.”

Laura currently works as the student learning initiatives coordinator at James Madison University and attributes some of her success to her time as a volunteer with DPhiE. 

“Although I wasn’t in DPhiE yet, I had great advisors when I was an undergrad,” Laura said. “ I wanted to provide a great support system to the next generation. Volunteering with DPhiE is an easy way to give back to a sisterhood that gives us so much.”

Looking back at her membership so far, Laura highlighted her unconventional introduction but noted that no one is a typical path. Members join from all different ways of membership and represent all different backgrounds and upbringings. 

“Our different experiences ripple and radiate through all members,” Laura said. “Life experiences may be different, but DPhiE still connects you.”

DPhiE Member Spotlight: Laura Bullock

Johnson & Wales University, Alpha Upsilon Chapter

Now an award-winning children’s picture book author and lead advisor for Delta Phi Epsilon’s Zeta Iota chapter, Laura Bullock wasn’t always so certain about where her college experience would lead.

Raised with a brother and no sisters, she knew it would be important to find a community of supportive women during her time at school. But as a freshman at Johnson & Wales University, Laura was hesitant to associate herself with the “cookie cutter” stereotypes surrounding sorority life.  

“My attitude totally changed when a friend invited me to an informal night with a DPhiE member,” Laura recalled. “I saw there were so many different types of people not only in diversity, but in attitudes, beliefs, and opinions – I knew I would fit right in.”

She quickly formed lifelong friendships, relying on the mutual support of her sisters to navigate the ups and downs of college life. The DPhiE community proved that she could be part of a close knit group and still be authentic to herself and her goals, and friends encouraged her to think big. With her self confidence growing, Laura decided to step out of her comfort zone and take on a key panhellenic leadership position on campus. In this role she learned an array of communication and teamwork skills, many of which she still relies on in her work today.

After graduation Laura decided to leave Rhode Island and travel across the country to Arizona, making sure to keep in touch with her sisters online. She also connected with new sisters in Arizona, and worked with local alumni in Phoenix to help North Arizona University found its first DPhiE chapter. In her new volunteer position as lead advisor of the Zeta Iota chapter, Laura noticed the need for additional advocacy and mental health support in the community. She soon became trained in mental health counseling and studied for her ASIST certification, providing key resources for struggling chapter members.

“There were a lot of tragedies happening on the university’s campus when I joined, so I strongly advocated for our chapter to add a health and wellness chair,” she said. “I hope that these types of mental health resources will become readily available across greek life, both on campus and nationwide.”

Laura’s experience volunteering with DPhiE created an entire new family in Arizona, and she cherishes the opportunity to give back to the people that supported her throughout college. She encourages other alumni to consider volunteering in their own communities, citing the countless connections available for the newly graduated.

“I’ve had opportunities that I didn't even know were possible, just because I connected with a sister,” she said. “It could be in the workplace, a new city you've just moved to, or even walking down the street wearing your letters - inevitably you’ll run into someone in the DPhiE network. You might not know where you’re going, but the community will always be here to support you.”

Delta Phi Epsilon Recognized with HEROES Award

Through a deep commitment to our policies and values, Delta Phi Epsilon prides itself in shifting to meet the evolving needs of our community, to accurately represent our members and all who wish to become members.

We’re proud to share with you DPhiE’s leadership in establishing the first and only membership policy welcoming both transgender women and non-binary individuals within the National Panhellenic Conference is being recognized by the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund with its HEROES award

Starting in 2003, the HEROES award was created to highlight youth, adults, nonprofits, straight allies and businesses that have bold ideas and are regarded as courageous in advancing the equality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the Delaware Valley and beyond.

We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to inclusion and living out our motto - “Esse Quam Videri” – to be, rather than to seem to be. Authenticity and a commitment to progressing social consciousness remain centered in our sisterhood experience. Since our founding, we have adapted in response to the ever-changing world around us. We lead with flexibility and understanding on our college campuses as well as internationally through our role within the Panhellenic community.

The sorority will join other recipients local to the Delaware Valley area to be recognized for the award in an intimate ceremony later this spring. 

DPhiE has worked tirelessly to build and promote diversity, equity and inclusion among our international community, within our chapters and more broadly, the Panhellenic community as a whole. Much like our Founders, we have been tested throughout these efforts. Nevertheless, we stand by our belief in the power of sororities to provide safe, inclusive spaces where all feel welcome to be their true, authentic selves.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) is an annual campaign that educates the public about the realities of eating disorders and aims to provide hope, support and visibility to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Organizations and initiatives like NEDA are just some of the many organizations that look to support, educate and help those that have been affected by an eating disorder. 

Although the term eating is in the name eating disorders end up being about more than food. They’re complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological doctors to help to alter their course. Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop in an individual. They might start out with an obsession with food, body weight or body shape. 

Eating disorders can affect individuals of any gender at any stage in their life but they’re most often reported in adolescents and young women. Up to 13% of youth may experience at least one eating disorder by the age of 20 ( Eating disorders may be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these factors include, genetics, personality traits, biology, cultural and media ideals. 

There are many resources that can help with eating disorders and they range from a family practice doctor, psychologist, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), and National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). 


DPhiE Alumnae Spotlight - Feb 2022 Newsletter

From DPhiE Chapter President to Mars: Leilani Trautman, Zeta Delta Chapter 

When asked the number one thing gained from her undergraduate experience in Delta Phi Epsilon, 2021 graduate Leilani Trautman enthusiastically pointed to her growth as a leader. Shortly after graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year, Leilani joined the Mars 2020 team at NASA, which operates the rover that landed on Mars about a year ago with a mission to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples for a possible return to Earth. She now is a lead coder, working to automate daily movement and data collection from the rover as it goes about its mission. 

“Every day we receive information from the rover about what it did on Mars and we need to make sure everything is going well,” she said. “I developed code to make this process faster.”

When Leilani arrived at school from San Diego, she was set on studying electrical engineering and computer science. Yet, she also knew she was interested in finding a community with a strong commitment to inclusion.

Leilani joined DPhiE the first opportunity she had during the fall semester of her freshman year. She was eager to gain a sense of belonging within a space that championed the values she was seeking. She soon developed skills as a leader, first serving as sisterhood coordinator, then informal recruitment chair and risk management coordinator all within her first two years as an initiated member. Although she was still relatively new to the chapter, Leilani was then nominated as president and eventually served for two separate terms. 

During her presidency, she continued to champion the diversity, equity and inclusion policies that drew her in as a freshman. She added an additional leadership position to focus on these policies and make sure that all decisions made by the chapter were rooted in DPhiE’s founding principles of justice, sisterhood and love, while also prioritizing the organization’s vision of empowering our sisterhood to engage in a lifetime of leadership and service.

These efforts continued to take shape as the world went into quarantine during the middle of Trautman’s tenure. 

“My goal was to maintain connection when everyone was forced to go home,” she said. “DPhiE taught me how to best interact with people and approach situations in a positive way. These skills have helped me motivate myself and others to work collaboratively.”

After graduating, one of Leilani’s first philanthropic contributions was to DPhiE. She gave because she saw the importance of funding leadership opportunities for undergraduate members. From participating in Engage U and other international events, she attributed skills in leadership and networking to the skills that DPhiE gave to her as an undergraduate member. 

“I like to remind myself and other members that we are so much more than our small chapter at MIT,” Leilani continued. “We are part of a large, international network, one that I am proud to be a part of, even while working for a rover on Mars.”

Welcome to the Foundation Board-Andrea Alhadari Patton, Alpha Gamma Chapter at FIU

As her self-described first love, Andrea Alhadari Patton named DPhiE as the longest, most important relationship she has ever entered. (With the exception of her husband, of course.) Andrea joined the Educational Foundation Board in January because after experiencing the multiple ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic she wanted to give back to something that is so monumental in her life. As an active alumna of Alpha Gamma chapter at Florida International University, Andrea has continued her involvement since her graduation 11 years ago, on DPhiE professional staff overseeing communications and extension, and now as a chapter advisor and active volunteer.

“The pandemic really scared me and it forced me to try to picture my life without my constants, including my sorority,” Andrea said. “A lot of my friends from my new member class are having kids right now, and many of them are having daughters. I want my future daughter to have the opportunity to have the same positive experience I had in DPhiE and be able to share that with her.” Supporting the Educational Foundation, she said, is the way to ensure the success of the sorority.

After working professionally for DPhiE for seven years, Andrea now serves as the director of strategic partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania while simultaneously working toward her master’s in organizational dynamics with a focus on the upward mobility of Latina, first-generation college graduates in the workplace. Although she now serves in a volunteer capacity, Andrea still sees DPhiE as the main factor driving her to invest in life skills and leadership opportunities for others.
“DPhiE has always been a constant in my life and I want to sustain that,” Andrea said. “Whenever I talk to a sister, they always talk about DPhiE with passion.” Andrea believe sisterhood is for a true lifetime as an active part of her daily life and hopes that every member finds that same commitment.

Interested in joining Andrea as a strong advocate for DIMES For DPhiE? Learn more today.