Alpha Sigma Kappa

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Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies
FoundedMay 1, 1989; 30 years ago (1989-05-01)
University of Minnesota
MottoA Posse Ad Esse
(From Possibility to Reality)
Colors     Royal Blue and      Silver
SymbolInfinity sign
FlowerWhite Carnation (Candidates)
White Rose (Actives)
JewelBlue Topaz
Members1000 lifetime

Alpha Sigma Kappa – Women in Technical Studies (ΑΣΚ – WiTS) is a social sorority for women in the fields of mathematics, architecture, engineering, technology and the sciences.

The sorority was founded at the University of Minnesota in 1989 by a group of women who had formerly been affiliated with the Sisters of Triangle Fraternity program. Alpha Sigma Kappa became a national organization in 1996 and currently consists of twelve Active Chapters, six Alumnae Chapters and two Colonies. The sorority is not affiliated with any national Greek council; however, some individual chapters are affiliated with their local Panhellenic organizations.


Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies originally grew out of a Little Sisters of Triangle organization at The University of Minnesota. In the late 1980s, Little Sister programs were being phased out by fraternal organizations across the country[1] and Triangle Fraternity's National Council resolved to do so with their local Little Sisters organizations. In order to maintain a formal relationship, The University of Minnesota's Little Sisters group chose to found Alpha Sigma Kappa. The sorority was created on May 1, 1989 by eighteen Founding Sisters.[2]

Alpha Sigma Kappa Founding Sisters[3]
Sonja (Antolik) Fisher Jacqueline (Dandurand) Seal Jean Etzell
Kelly (Gram) Riehle Jennifer (Holland) Richards Mara Hollinbeck
Sharon Kosmalski Sara Krawlewski Melissa Matschiner
Donna Monson Nicholie (Olsen) Bufkin Jennifer (Parker) Zylko
Cheryl (Perusich) Kussow Ann (Romani) Felteau Karen (Schlangen) Steele
Leanne Wolske Joan Zak Elizabeth Zimmermann

At the time that Alpha Sigma Kappa was founded, scientific careers were often filled primarily by men. In 1989, only 17 percent of the students enrolled in the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota were female.[4] The Founding Sisters of the organization wished to create a sorority dedicated to supporting women who entered these fields. Alpha Sigma Kappa was intended to bring women pursuing technical studies together in a social setting: working to develop, encourage, and support the academic and social needs of these women.[2] At the time of founding, Alpha Sigma Kappa was the only social sorority for technical women whose scope included those in architecture and non-engineering sciences.[4]

On March 4, 1996, an Interest Group of women was formed at the University of Oklahoma - Norman, which would ultimately become the Beta Chapter on September 13, 1997. The National Organization of Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies was officially formed on April 29, 1996 at the first National Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Between 1999 and 2005, four more chapters were installed[5] and, in 2010, Alpha Sigma Kappa became the first sorority established on the campus of New Mexico Tech.[6] Since 2015, the organization's growth has accelerated rapidly, establishing a presence on an additional ten universities across the United States as a social sorority for women in STEM.[7][2]

In 2014, the Alpha Sigma Kappa Educational Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was created to support women in technical fields by managing academic scholarships.[2][8]


The stated purpose of Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies is to promote friendship, academic achievement, unity within the organization, and philanthropy throughout the community.

The sorority states a quality goal of being women committed to achieving their academic goals and promoting women in technical fields through: leadership, friendship and support.

The sorority's Greek letter name, Alpha Sigma Kappa, is intended to represent social aspects; "Women in Technical Studies" specifies its membership. [9]


Active membership in Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies requires that a student pursues a major with a minimum of 1/3 of all credit hours in architecture, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, or biological sciences, with a minimum of 1/6 of all credit hours as upper division courses in these fields. Specific majors at each university are defined in the respective Chapter or Colony bylaws.[10]

Once a woman is Initiated, her membership is for a lifetime. Alumnae Sisters remain connected through Alumnae Chapters as well as informal networks of social and professional support.[11][12]

The National Organization of Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies is not affiliated with a National Panhellenic governing body; however, Chapters may be affiliated with councils at their respective universities.[13][14][15][16]


The National philanthropy for Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies is Individual Chapters may choose local classroom projects to support through this organization, with an emphasis on assisting STEM projects.[17]

Additionally, Chapters of Alpha Sigma Kappa organize and participate in local philanthropic events in their communities. Many events work to promote science and technical careers to young women.[18][19] However, these events provide direct service or raise funds for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including: the American Cancer Society, Charity: Water, Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Susan G Komen Foundation.[20][21][22][23][24]

Chapter list[edit]

Notable alumnae[edit]

Education and research[edit]

  • Dr. Christine (Tratz) Aikens (Beta Chapter) - Chemistry Professor at Kansas State University best known for nanomaterials research, including noble metal nanoparticle properties, water splitting catalysts and biorenewable materials.[25]
  • Helen (Gardner) Colvin (Epsilon Chapter) - Volunteer whose home computer detected a pulsar, named PSR J2007+2722, as part of the distributed computing program Einstein@Home; this was the first time an astronomical object was discovered using this kind of project.[26]
  • Karen (Schlangen) Steele (Alpha Chapter) - Named one of the top 20 college students in America by USAToday in 1993, as part of All-USA College Academic First Team.[27]

Military and community service[edit]

  • Capt. Nicholie (Noble) Bufkin (Alpha Chapter) - Captain in the United States Navy, Professor of Naval Science and Commanding Officer of the University of Minnesota NROTC program. Former Commanding Officer of the Navy Destroyer USS Milius (2011-2012).[28][29]
  • Candy (Bless) Heydorn (Epsilon Chapter) - Executive Committee Vice-Chair (2008-2012 and 2018-Present) of the Sierra Club Nebraska Chapter, former Chair (2014-2017) and winner of the 2016 Chapter Leadership award.[30]

Arts and entertainment[edit]

  • Sonja (Antolik) Fisher (Alpha Chapter) - SAG-AFTRA Actress, producer and model who served as Mrs. Corporate America 2009-2010 and is an author through Professional Woman Publishing.[31][32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CAMPUS LIFE: California; Fraternities Phase Out 'Little Sister' Groups". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d "Alpha Sigma Kappa History". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa UMN". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Silverman, Alexa. "STEM Sisterhood". The American Association of University Women. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Anderson, Jessica. "Women continue progress for technical sorority".
  6. ^ "the women of tech: the first 125 years" (PDF). Gold Pan.
  7. ^ Vlahos, Maria. "Alpha Sigma Kappa Initiates Its Beta Class".
  8. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa Educational Foundation". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  9. ^ "About Alpha Sigma Kappa". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "RamLink: Alpha Sigma Kappa". Colorado State University. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa Opportunities". Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  12. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa Alumnae". Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Young, English. "Council hosts information sessions today".
  14. ^ Krul, Karina. "Independent Greek Council Hosts Recruitment".
  15. ^ Baragary, Jenny. "New sorority hoping for membership in Council".
  16. ^ "let's meet panhellenic". Be Greek at UMN. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa Philanthropy". Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Jennett, Luke. "ISU event teaches girls about scientific job fields".
  19. ^ Hall, Bennett. "OU sorority to host Women in Science Day this weekend at museum".
  20. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa UMN philanthropy". Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "Alpha Sigma Kappa UMBC". Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "Fun and funky experiments demonstrate the wonder of engineering to local Girl Scouts". Iowa State University News Service.
  23. ^ Fuentes, Sebastian. "Canning it Up".
  24. ^ Canino, Teresa. "Marine Biology Club Hosts Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser".
  25. ^ "Department of Chemistry". Kansas State University. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  26. ^ Reich, Eugene Samuel. "Home computer finds rare pulsar".
  27. ^ "USAToday names all-USA college academic first team".
  28. ^ "Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps: Department of Naval Science". University of Minnesota. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  29. ^ "USS Milius". United States Navy. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  30. ^ "2017 Award Winners". Sierra Club Nebraska Chapter. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  31. ^ "Keepers of the Crown". Mrs. Corporate America. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  32. ^ "Sonja Ann Jones". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "Sonja Fisher". Professional Woman Publishing. Retrieved July 7, 2018.

External links[edit]