The University of Delaware Nu Chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional and social sorority for students in the engineering and technical science fields, celebrated its 20th Anniversary this semester.

It was a windy day on April 6, 2024, as UD students and alumni gathered on the South Green. 

But the weather  wasn’t the main reason why the sisters of the University of Delaware’s Alpha Omega Epsilon (A.O.E.) Nu Chapter were blown away: The Nu Chapter sisters and alumni had come together to celebrate its milestone 20th anniversary.

A.O.E. at UD

Founded on April 3, 2004, A.O.E. is a professional and social sorority composed of female and nonbinary students in the engineering and technical science fields. The sorority, which has welcomed over 12,000 members during the 41 years since its founding in 1983, operates on the values of friendship, leadership and professionalism. 

“A.O.E. means so much to me personally and I know to my sisters and everyone in the Chapter as well,” said Sofia Torres, A.O.E. 2023-2024 Chapter President and a senior in chemical engineering. “Being able to continue to be the organization that fulfills engineering, technical science, and development for women is something that I’m proud of.” 

In 2004, when A.O.E. came to UD, the organization was so small that chapter meetings were held in a basement. Now, in 2024, the Nu Chapter currently has over 110 undergraduate members and about 350 people in its alumni network. 

As A.O.E. continues to grow, alumni are eager to contribute to the organization through networking with current sisters, providing career advice and offering job shadowing opportunities. “I really appreciate being able to give back to what was given to me,” said Sandra Bruno, EG2021 A.O.E. alumna and senior design engineer at Bohler. 

All attendees of the 20th anniversary event pose with the A.O.E. letters.

An event to remember

Bruno was one of many alumni who attended the A.O.E. Nu Chapter’s 20th anniversary. The event was a chance for sisters to catch up with recent graduates, meet some of the founding members of their organization, and make connections on a personal and professional level. 

Multiple months of planning and dedication from A.O.E. executive board and chair board members went into the celebration. The leadership team began coordinating the event in January, integrating A.O.E.’s traditions and activities from previous milestone celebrations throughout the planning process. By working as a team, the sisters were able to organize key logistics such as the location, date (trying to keep it as close to the founding date as possible) and catering. 

The anniversary event started outside on the South Green, where sisters and alumni convened to celebrate with conversation, mingling and a delicious barbeque spread. Eventually, the A.O.E. executive board moved the event into the Rodney Room at Perkins due to the weather, where the festivities continued. Two decades of A.O.E. Nu Chapter members were able to bond with each other — even during an A.O.E.-themed bingo game that quickly got competitive. 

Inviting as many alumni as possible and reaching out to the A.O.E. alumni network contributed to the  success of the 20th anniversary celebration. A.O.E. Alumni Relations Chair Sarah Donaldson played a huge role in making this happen. As the essential communicator between the Chapter and alumni, she is responsible for sending alumni alerts about events and a monthly newsletter with chapter updates, including advance notice of the anniversary event. 

“Being able to reach a larger base of alumni, even though I speak to them on a more regular basis, has definitely brought out way more alumni because they wanted to be here to celebrate this event,” said Donaldson, a senior in biomedical engineering. 

The 2023-2024 A.O.E. Executive Board (from left) Brenna Derby, Amara Kollas, Sofia Torres, Aadhira Gopalan, Avery Wolverton and Allison Delozier.

Empowering Female and Nonbinary Engineers

Not only is A.O.E.’s purpose to continue the advancement of underrepresented genders in engineering and other science and technology fields, it also exists as a safe space where women and nonbinary people are able to empower each other while navigating their paths as professionals. 

“We really value leadership and we push our members to be leaders. Even if you don’t have a specific title you can be a leader within a group, within a project or within your friend group. That’s something we really push our younger members to grow into because it’s so helpful in the future.” Torres said. 

A.O.E. is also dedicated to uplifting the community. The Nu Chapter recently broke their fundraising record for the B+ Foundation, contributing to UD’s total of $1.8 million raised for the organization in its fight against childhood cancer through UDance

Last fall, the sisters visited Saint Mark’s High School’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team. A.O.E. has a strategic alliance with FIRST and the Nu Chapter was excited to connect with a local team. 

At the core of the A.O.E. Nu Chapter is a heartwarming environment where members can grow as professionals while making lifelong friendships. It’s here that leadership, friendship and professionalism are perfectly braided together into an organization that continues to inspire its members. 

“My favorite part about A.O.E. is definitely the people, there’s always people there for you. There’s always a familiar face in your classes or if you go to the library or even just walking outside you’re always gonna see someone and it’s really comforting.” said Erin DeGroat, A.O.E. sister and a first-year student in chemical engineering.