University Establishes New Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society for Preprofessional Health Students

The University's AED officers display symbols from the society's crest and explain their meaning during the initiation ceremony

From left are biology professors Claire Leonard and Carey Waldburger, College of Science and Health Dean Venkat Sharma, and the newly inducted members of AED

Alpha Epsilon Delta, a more than 90-year-old national honor society for students pursuing careers as healthcare practitioners, has just initiated its newest chapter in the Department of Biology at William Paterson University with the induction of 14 undergraduate biology majors. Inducted students include: Alan About, Saul Abreu, Steven Bambico, Jannat Begum, Mark Bodnar II, Joseph Croce, Ali Hasan, Ma Veronica Holganza, Jessica Lindemann, Michael Mangual, Elika Moallem, Carly Perrotta, Karisa Quimby, and George Vega. 

With more than 400 biology majors on campus, many of whom are interested in careers in healthcare, WP’s biology department recently changed its curriculum to include a premedical professional track. That new track varies from the general biology track in that it allows students more flexibility to select upper-level courses aligned with their specific professional goals – such as veterinary medicine, physical therapy, or dentistry.

A premedical professional honor society was subsequently a great fit for campus, says professor of biology and William Paterson University AED chapter advisor Claire Leonard, PhD. As healthcare is an ever-evolving industry with so many career options, which requires rigorous schooling, providing preprofessional healthcare students with their own niche is incredibly valuable, she adds. AED members will benefit from on-campus presentations by current practitioners, scholarship opportunities, and industry-specific community service projects, among others.

“Having an AED chapter here at William Paterson University allows students of similar interests and academic standing to come together and support each other while going through the same journey – the journey to becoming healthcare providers,” says chapter president Alan Abboud ‘20, an aspiring physician currently deciding which medical school to attend next year. “It certainly already brought a group of passionate pre-health professionals together that will not only contribute to, but also benefit from this society.”

Abboud worked alongside Leonard for the past year to bring AED to William Paterson, a process which included writing bylaws and a constitution, enacting feedback from AED’s national office, and adhering to a strict checklist for the organization’s very formal, symbolic initiation ceremony.

“AED really aims for ‘higher purposes’ – honesty and honor in medicine and in medical partnerships, respect for death, respect for book learning without it being totally the driver of medicine as it is practiced … the humanity of healthcare,” Leonard says.

Within the first week of the chapter’s installation at WP, its new members were already organizing a campus blood drive for next semester.