For four decades, the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority have been encouraging foreign service among the women of Georgetown.

Founded in 1973, the sorority celebrated its 40th anniversary Feb. 24.  It takes its name from the DPEfraternity, which was founded in 1920. Though the fraternity and sorority are separate, they are both the charter chapters of the DPE nationwide fraternity.

The sisters will celebrate their 40th anniversary with a Founder’s Day luncheon next month with DPEchapters at American University and The George Washington University.

“We’re definitely trying to increase communication with our other chapters in the D.C. area because in the past there hasn’t been a lot of coordination,” DPE Vice President Alexandra Eitel (SFS ’13) said.

The sorority hosted a panel in the fall featuring eight D.C.-area alumnae working in jobs everywhere from Deloitte to the Department of Defense, an example of the networking it tries to facilitate across generations of members.

“I am in awe of where our alums are and how they help us get there,” DPE President Lara Markarian(SFS ’13) said. “In this bad economy it helps to see people that are very successful.”

The sorority is working on a mentorship program between alums and current sisters based on career and personal interests.

“Sisters in DPE can empower them and show them different career options,” Eitel said. “Getting this many motivated women in one room is a great thing — we feed off each other. We pass around internship opportunities.”

Markarian said that the group’s presence on campus has changed since it was founded.

“I think we have a bigger campus presence now,” she said. “It’s progressed to an organization that encompasses everything Georgetown is about: community, integrity, professionalism, community service.”

This year, the sorority partnered with the Knights of Columbus on a community service project and sponsored dance classes with Take Back the Night and campus dance groups to support the nonprofit One Billion Rising,

Makarian and Eitel said that DPE could not have found a better home than Georgetown.

“For us to be able to open our own professional foreign service organization at Georgetown was a big stand for women,” Eitel said.

DPE Secretary Christine Folger (COL ’13) agreed.

“We have such a politically, socially, and economically conscious student population,” Folger said. “I can’t imagine a better place to have a foreign service sorority.”

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