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Delta Epsilon Iota — Sara (Barnett) Lawer

Delta Epsilon Iota was the first academic honor society with a strong emphasis on career planning and placement to be established by the Career Development Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The local DEI chapter would allow IUP to have an organization directly linked with the Career Development Center. DEI’s purpose on campus was simple in theory, but extraordinary in nature. DEI’s core mission was essentially to act as a “link” between the academic accomplishments that students were already achieving at IUP and in their future occupations.

Mark Anthony, the director of IUP’s Career Development Center, and Jessica (Reed) Tanaka, the graduate assistant for Service Learning in the center, approached then-student Sara (Barnett) Lawer with the concept of DEI during Spring 2004. After many discussions on the concept and numerous phone calls with Richard Drye, the executive director of Delta Epsilon Iota, the three decided to move forward with the organization’s development process.

With the initial leadership in place, they knew that more student representation was needed, and they began to seek out the rest of their founding team. Eventually a group of six students became the founding team and charter members: Kevin Conroy, an Elementary Education major; Eric Skryzpek, an Art Education major; Heather Dravecky, a Business Education major and found secretary; Henna Lockhoff, a Fashion Merchandising/Marketing major and founding treasurer; Sarah Bronder, a Dietetics major and the founding vice president; and Sara (Barnett) Lawer, a Special Education major and founding president.

It was through the hard work and dedication of those six students and their two advisers that the constitution, bylaws, and organization became a reality.

Only a year after the formation of the planning team, DEI inducted its first membership class during Spring 2005. It was an evening to remember for all parties involved, because the executive director of Delta Epsilon Iota traveled all the way from Georgia to attend our first new member reception. That February evening, more than three hundred students became part of IUP’s first initiating class, and by the next year membership skyrocketed to nearly seven hundred members.

Over the years, Delta Epsilon Iota has taken part in a variety of different service projects on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus and in the local community. The student membership has also been involved with many professional development workshops and job fairs. DEI’s mark on the IUP campus has been amazing to witness in its mere four-year existence.

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