Professional fraternities unite students with similar academic interests

Greek life at the University of Miami isn’t all about parties and formals. For some students who belong to professional fraternities, their organizations represent opportunities for career advancement and academic achievement.

UM is home to numerous professional fraternities with concentrations ranging from film to business. Valeria Dimitryuk, the treasurer of Alpha Rho Chi, an architecture fraternity at UM, said she chose to pursue a professional fraternity for guidance and support as she navigates through her difficult career.

“We differentiate ourselves by being more academically based and conscientious about our image,” said Dimitryuk, a senior architecture student. “We’re held to a higher standard in that light. You’ll never hear about a professional fraternity being controversial because we don’t have the leeway to.”

Most fraternities recruit members based on social standards, but professional fraternities attract students with similar academic interests, Dimitryuk said. Alpha Rho Chi holds events that help members establish connections and succeed in their careers, rather than focusing on more socially oriented events such as parties, mixers, and tailgates.

Dimitryuk also added that there is a significant economic difference between the different types of fraternities. While a social fraternity can cost upwards of $700 a semester, a professional fraternity will probably only cost around $150, she said.

Professional fraternities can also provide students with guidance and support through difficult academic processes. Christina Markopoulos, the vice president of programming for UM’s medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, said she joined the organization to help her navigate the process of entering medical school.

“Joining PhiDE let me understand what I have to do to be a doctor and keeps me on track,” said Markopoulos, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major. “There are events geared toward my future and making sure I am as successful as possible.”

Kinnon McGrath, a sophomore on the pre-law track and treasurer of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, had similar thoughts on the benefits of belonging to an academically-like-minded group of individuals.

“Our pre-law program helps undergrad students make decisions about pursuing a legal career, deciding which law school to attend and preparing for law school,” said McGrath.

Both McGrath and Markopoulos are members of a social sorority as well as their professional fraternity. They each said they felt there were different benefits to each type of fraternity.

“Both have huge alumni networks, great connections, and an incredible environment,” said McGrath. “With a professional fraternity, you are grouped with people who have similar career goals to you.”

Markopoulos said both of the Greek organizations that she’s involved with offer opportunities for friendship and connection.

“I believe that both have different but similar benefits,” said Markopoulos. “I think it is worth it to be a part of both.”