Meet Shelby Vexler, Alternative STEM sorority founder!

Shelby Vexler is a second year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, pursuing a major in biochemistry and molecular biology. Shelby is from San Diego, California, and in her free time she enjoys watching Game of Thrones and The Office, as well as laughing with friends at corgi memes. She is the founder of the Alpha Sigma Kappa Sorority.

What is the name of the sorority? What are its objectives?

The sorority is called Alpha Sigma Kappa. It is for women in technical studies and we are the Xi colony. Our goal is to support women in STEM both academically and socially. We foster a community of women that is sensitive to our majors but also not limited by it.

What prompted you to form the all girls stem sorority?

I rushed for a greek sorority and I wasn’t initially planning to. My mom was in a sorority in college and told me to try it out. I wanted to be in something that was more than just an organization, but traditional greek sororities did not feel like the right fit. I was worried I’d have to sacrifice my grades for the sorority or miss out on the sorority events I was paying so much for. However, the pre-existing professional sororities are for pre-med or engineering majors, so that did not feel like the right fit either!  


How many people joined and what are the requirements?

The founding class is 13 girls. GPA requirement is 2.5 and you have to be a stem major of some sort.  There are a few other academic requirements such as academic enrichment. We ask people to get three hours a quarter of attending research on campus, faculty nights, other things to put yourself out there and learn more.

What was the process for applying to start it?

I found Alpha Sigma Kappa online and contacted the director of expansion. Then I found other women interested in joining and that’s how we started. We had to get at least 10 girls and join the professional fraternity council. Right now we are a colony. After a year, we can get established as a full chapter.

What are some activities you do as a group?

We emphasize academics and social life, and we hope to get more involved in professional and philanthropy later on. We do things like book study rooms in the library. We have socials,  sleepover movie nights, and other fun events for our members. We focus on making everything fun, and not to add more stress to our members.


What are your hopes for the sorority?

We would love to expand and get more new members!  We are excited to find more women who are looking for their niche like us who like to be social but really value their academics. I like to study and care about my classes but also like to have fun!

We will be having recruitment week in spring and fall quarters. We also make an effort to keep dues low because we don’t want to add financial strain to our members.