Chemistry Related
Alpha Epsilon Delta
by Mark Putnam

After James Writer spent some time studying architecture, it was obvious he had chosen the wrong path. “Architecture just wasn’t my calling,” he explained. Since then Writer, a junior chemistry major, has keenly focused on medical school and is preparing to take the MCAT next year.

One of the motivating factors behind premedical education for James and other students is the university’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), a national premedical honor society. Founded in the late 1950s, today AED has seventy-five active members at the University of Houston.

That is welcome news to Malcolm L. Mazow, MD, (MS ’56), who, along with a handful of other students, labored to establish a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta at UH forty years ago. Back then the motivation was to improve the University of Houston’s image among medical schools.

“It was called Cougar High back then,” Mazow said. “We wanted a way for medical schools to recognize this was not Cougar High.’”

Mazow explained that forty years ago medical schools may have considered an undergraduate degree from UH less desirable for admission than an undergraduate degree from other state universities. But today, with UH gaining more prominence and producing more medical students, the university’s reputation is improving. Organizations like AED have played an integral part of that progress.

But the organizations themselves are not the only motivating force in students’ lives. Mazow fondly recalled the inspiration and drive of Catherine Cominsky, MD, a professor and advisor whose efforts motivated her students to establish AED at UH. “‘What can I do for you?’ was her attitude,” Mazow said. “ Cominsky’s involvement in AED was her constant encouragement while remaining in the background as advisor and real leader.

Alpha Epsilon Delta prepares students for medical school by teaching them what to expect and preparing its members for the rigors of medical education. It also provides a forum for students to meet and discuss common interests. In October the group welcomed a representative from Kaplan Test Preparation to discuss medical school exams.

Members of Alpha Epsilon Delta can major in any discipline, as long as they are pursuing a career in medicine or dentistry. Members must hold a 3.20 in both their cumulative and science grade point averages while having completed forty-five hours of college credit. Attendance at 50 percent of chapter meetings and participation in two community events each semester also are required.

For more information on the UH chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, visit its Web site at or e-mail the chapter directly at

© University of Houston 2006