Letter from the editor
3 New Beginnings
A Gamma’s Life Abroad 4 7 9 12
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone An Overseas GammaLand Peace. Love. Travel Expect the Unexpected
Features 6 10 11 15 16 18 20 21
We Are Our Brothers’ and Sisters’ Keepers Empower You! Paperwork Deadlines Taking Up the Fight Against Hunger A Fit Gamma’s Success Story Resume Do’s and Don’ts The Importance of Self-Love Meet the Committee
Spotlights 22 23 24 25 26
Sione “Ihu’Makoa” Lister Omicron Beta Phi Alpha Upsilon Beta Southern Florida Alumnae Association
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
Letter from the editor Greetings Sisters! I hope this issue finds you all in positivity and good health! La Mensajera Committee is excited to announce some updates we have made over the past couple of months. As the number of submissions for La Mensajera have increased, interest in our committee has as well. We have added to our team of volunteers, defined roles and titles for members serving on the committee and added contributing writers who have created their own columns on specific topics. I would like to take this time to welcome our newest committee member, Sister Bianca “Sparta” Salvant, Alumna of the Psi Beta Chapter. She joins us to serve as the Editorial Coordinator. Bianca is responsible for managing all submissions, communication with contributors and organizing submissions for editing. I am excited to re-introduce our tenured committee members with their new titles! Sister Racquel “Clásica” Henry, Alumna of the Mu Chapter, is our Copy Editor, responsible for editing all submissions. She is also serving as a Contributing Writer and is debuting her column “Take Care.” Our Creative Director, Sister Valentina “Prevalezco” Valdes, Alumna of the Omicron Alpha Chapter, edits all photo submissions, designs our beautiful covers and images to incorporate throughout our issues. Alumna of the Zeta Gamma Chapter, Sister Lydia “Oriana” Gutierrez, serves as our Layout Design Editor, preparing and designing each issue. To complete our volunteer committee, Alumna of the Zeta Gamma Chapter and Headquarters Staff member, I will be serving as the Editorin-Chief ensuring all issues align with Sigma Lambda Gamma’s values, overseeing committee members and communications.
this issue! Please welcome... •Sister Claudia Garcia, Chi Alpha Alumna- Fit Gammas •Sister Britteny Dunson, Iota Delta AlumnaGammas Guide to Getting the Gig •Sister Racquel Henry, Mu Alumna- Take Care
“We truly thank all sisters that contribute to La Mensajera making each issue empowering, creative, insightful, and educational!”
We have also added Contributing Writers to the committee. We are very excited to debut their columns
These sisters have committed their time to write for La Mensajera twice a year on their topic of interest and expertise, we hope that you enjoy these new columns for La Mensajera.
If you’re interested in becoming a contributing writer please contact Mensajera@SigmaLambdaGamma. com. We truly thank all sisters that contribute to La Mensajera making each issue empowering, creative, insightful, and educational! In Sisterhood, Christina “Ayana” Cassan Editor-in-Chief La Mensajera Fall 2013
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: England
Stepping out of the comfort zone Sister Mayra “Ardeliz” Faz
This is my attempt to get people to do things—things they never would have thought of doing. When I transferred from a community college to The University of Texas at Arlington, I never thought about how I would be involved on campus. I knew I had to do something because I probably had one friend there. I wanted to do things and get to know new people. Joining a sorority was the last thing I thought I would do, but when you meet a group of girls who not only initiate conversation with you, but start inviting you out to lunch or to study with them, there is no way you can decline. These girls don’t even know me and they want to hang out with me? Of course I was up for it! That was pretty much how I made one of the best decisions of my life. Becoming a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma wasn’t something I knew I wanted to do, but it was one of the greatest things I have ever done. Not only have I met some amazing women but joining gave me a confidence that I never knew I had, a confidence that led me to do even more incredible things.
classes I was taking abroad were going to transfer and apply to my degree plan at UTA. All of this was nothing compared to convincing my dad that this was happening—I was going to be living in another country for four months, far away from everything I knew and loved. It was extremely difficult and when the day of my flight to England arrived, I immediately was regretting my decision. I was on a plane for thirteen hours and all I wanted to do was go home. As my plane from Dallas landed in London, I was missing everything about Texas: my family, my friends, and my sisters. I didn’t know how I was going to survive four months without people I was used to seeing every day. Even when I arrived at my residence hall, the combination of jet lag and missing my family was impeding on what should have been excitement and anticipation of my new adventures. That probably went away after the first twenty-four hours. Despite feelings of homesickness, the excitement of being in a new country, in an English city covered in snow that was beautiful, and meeting new people, distracted me from being sad. My flat mates became incredibly close and we explored
I never thought I would be one to travel out of the country, much less across the Atlantic Ocean and onto another continent. However, in January of 2013, I found myself in Leicester, a small city in the east midlands of England. After the ridiculously long application process, I finally received an email in early October 2012 notifying me that I had been accepted to the exchange program at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England. Then things got a little crazy. I had to make sure I had enough money, I had to find somewhere to live, and I had to make sure the
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: England
Stepping out of the comfort zone
Leicester together and started planning trips.
I dove right into my adventure, scheduling my first trip to Stonehenge and the historic city of Bath. Stonehenge was unbelievable! Trips after that included London (and I can’t begin to explain my love for London), Nottingham, Ireland and a weeklong tour of Scotland with a tour guide (who had the greatest Scottish accent ever, in my opinion). I returned to Leicester and was juggling spending time with my new close friends and working on my essays for university (after all, I suppose it was a study abroad trip). Leaving my flat mates and England was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. We cried together while the taxi driver loaded my luggage and said our goodbyes. I had no idea when I would have the opportunity to go back to England, let alone see my flat mates again (one from Germany, one from Korea, one from Australia, and one from North Carolina). Even though we can’t knock on each other’s doors anymore, we still talk to each other over Facebook and Skype. I left Leicester broken-hearted, but as I waited for my plane back to Dallas, I realized that in a couple of hours, I would see my family, friends, and sisters.
had not gone on that trip?” Meeting people from all over the world, experiencing different cultures, and visiting new places have all benefited me. I am a better person because of it. I have more knowledgeable about different cultures, cities I have visited, and traveling on my own. I also expect more from myself. I set goals and attempt them in order to have the best outcome for myself. I went on a trip that I did not think was going to be possible and had an amazing time. I truly believe that none of this would have been possible for me without the support of not only my family, but my chapter sisters. As much as I wanted to go on this trip, I could not imagine myself in another country. When I told my sisters about my plans, the amount of encouragement and support I received from them was so uplifting. I had not even been accepted into the exchange program and they were already talking about how amazing it was that I was going to be in England. My experience was incredible and I do not know if I would have been able to go through with it without my sisters. I am so thankful for them. So, I want to do for other people what they did for me: encourage people to do good things for themselves and to do things that they never thought they would. It’s only a little bit of work in comparison to what you might get out of it.
“No matter how scared you are of something, do it! Even if you having the slightest want.. ”
Moral of my ridiculously long story (in case you didn’t know there was one – there is): No matter how scared you are of something, do it! Even if you having the slightest want—whether it’s to do something, be something, or go somewhere, DO IT! If you don’t, you will spend your time wondering what would have happened if you didn’t and there’s nothing worse than that. And I know we have all heard the “You’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what if.” Even I think about that. I went on my trip and I still wonder, “What if I La Mensajera Fall 2013
We Are Our Brothers’ and Sisters’ Keepers Sister Seterria R. Brodnex
We are an organization of high morals and standards. We are active in our communities. We take our sisterhood and fraternal relationships seriously because they are valuable to us beyond our undergraduate educations. We stroll and socialize, study and take exams, laugh and cry, work and volunteer together. We SUPPORT one another. However, as sisters and as figures in our various communities, we also have to be bold and brave enough to have the tough conversations that people would rather not have. Those conversations
can change lives.
Sexual Assault. It’s not fun or popular to talk about. In our different cultures and households, many of us may have been taught that it’s something to be ashamed of, embarrassed by or something that happens to someone else. To my sisters and friends, I say this thinking, the stigma of quiet and shame, is dangerous.
As an attorney and advocate for victims of sexual violence and abuse, and as a sister, I appeal to all sisters and our organization as a whole to tackle this issue. What can you do? You can: •Incorporate intra-chapter and organizational policy and training that address preventative measures and vulnerability factors. •Locate and prominently display local resources and advocacy programs. •Hold an “Empowerment and Education” orientation for new members, all fraternal organizations, and/ or the general student body. •Partner up with other organizations to host Town Hall discussions of current events or to bring advocates to your campus. •Investigate the policies in place for your school and petition for better policy, procedures, and resources for students. One of our principles is Community Service. Sisters can participate in after-school programs for at-risk youth, children from single family homes, and anything that empowers young people across gender, economical, and racial disparities. This is helpful as a means of primary prevention of sexual assault because research shows these populations and factors as being particularly vulnerable to victimization and to behavior that is victimizing to others. The possibilities are endless. Ultimately, anything that you can do collectively and as individuals to “level the playing field” by promoting equality, respect, and consideration for all, is a positive step AND is in line with our principles and purpose.
“My hope is that Sisters will read this, educate themselves, and work to educate others.”
Recent statistics indicate that as many as 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. The majority of victims of sexual assault are between the ages of 16 and 23. These numbers tell us two things. First, we are not removed from the issue of sexual violence. We are either victims or the friends and family of victims. We are all affected. Second, our organization is in a unique position, (as a national, fraternal organization on hundreds of college campuses) to reach a large number of victims, potential victims, and even potential perpetrators—at least those who would commit an offense from ignorance or lack of education on the issue.
Sisters, we can no longer think of sexual assault as someone else’s problem or as someone’s shameful secret. This is an issue that affects every one of us in our homes, organizations, and communities. Whether we are aware or not, we are impacted socially, economically, and spiritually. My hope is that Sisters will read this, educate themselves, and work to educate others. We, as leaders in our communities, must take responsibility for our brothers and sisters. In this struggle, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
Sigma Lambda Gamma strives to be the premier organization committed to providing a mechanism of empowerment to all women
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: French Polynesia
An overseas gammaland Sister Sione Lister Five years ago the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the University of Washington created a study abroad program to the French Polynesia: Tahiti, Huahine and Moorea. Each summer since, for one month, a group of dynamic and passionate UW faculty members have taken 20-25 students to the Pacific to stay with an amazing family: the Lependu’s. Since the program’s beginning in 2009, ten sisters from the Upsilon Gamma Chapter in Seattle, WA have studied abroad in French Polynesia with this department. These sisters, in order of attendance, are Stephanie Pena, Lessy Valdovinos, Cecelia Sanchez, Natalie Santos, Ashley-Anne Feria, Sione Lister, Belen Bazan, Maria Garcia, Julie Mendoza and Epiphany Nick. While we have all had different experiences and learned different personal truths, the one thing we have in common is that we have left with a stronger sense of self, family and culture. For many of us, our time in Tahiti was an agent for our academic interests and career ambitions, a reminder of our personal priorities and a gift of peace-of-mind away from any distractions and technology.
“.. the one thing we have in common is that we have left with a stronger sense of self, family and culture.”
unselfishly for those four weeks, allowing us all to come out as stronger, more confident and self-loving women.
The land, the people and the culture gave itself La Mensajera Fall 2013
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: Spain
PEACE. LOVE. TRAVEL. Sister Victoria ‘Euforia’ Gonzales From believing that a dream couldn’t come true, to realizing that I must dream bigger, traveling and studying abroad was one of the best experiences I’ve lived by far. I was able to see and live things you hear about in history books, in the movies, and from peers. I use to think that I would never be able to visit Paris, London, or Madrid until I was older with a family and a GREAT paying career. My parents would tell me, “Vicky, si pones atencion en la clase y sacas buenas notas, un dia vas ha poder viajar el mundo.” That was definitely one of my motivations to keep doing great in school.
When I got to college, I didn’t understand how a lot of my friends had already been across the world. To them it was just a “trip” and it was “no big deal.” I wanted to see for myself, so I took advantage of the resource on campus and decided to take Spanish in Spain. I had been to Paris six months prior to traveling to Spain, and it was during that trip that I decided I was going to study abroad. Being able to see where the world’s history occurred was so unbelievable. Sometimes I feel like my dreams weren’t stretched enough. I once dreamt of moving to New York and having an awesome career, now I dream about living abroad for a couple of years. I’d like to own my own business abroad and just continue traveling. I was able to not only feed my brain with knowledge, but also EXPAND it. It doesn’t matter where you go, but traveling abroad with an opened mind will allow you to consume more then you can imagine. My favorite, and probably one of the best parts of the trip was going to
Ibiza. Yes, it’s a party town, but besides that, it’s a beautiful island with so many amazing views! I literally fell in love with that place. The next thing to Ibiza must be heaven, not exaggerating! Now as a senior in at the University of Texas, I hope to travel to Spain next year to teach English. I need to start where I left off, there’s a great deal of adventures waiting for me to encounter.
La Mensajera Fall 2013
Sister Anissa “Borregita” Parra So often, when many of us hear the word empowerment, we think of how we can boost confidence in others. Sometimes, we forget to empower ourselves. We ensure that we’re not in a good place and that we’re not selfish, but the true testament of empowerment is to find the energy within us and let it radiate outward. Not only will we find ourselves on an amazing journey, but we might bring so many others up with us.
“I was a panther that roared and thought that I blazed a trail for others.” Let me tell you a little about me. I have been a sister since 2001. I thought I lived and breathed empowerment. I was a panther that roared and thought that I blazed a trail for others. I look back and think of what key components of life I learned from, and how I can share my story with others. I had no clue what empowerment was until 2007. That year, I was about to embark on a journey in which I never would have guessed I’d find myself. After 17 years of silence, I spoke. I spoke up. I confronted my predator of my self-confidence and worth. I learned I was a survivor. I was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I was no longer ever going to be a victim and allow another person’s actions to determine my worth. I had a voice from deep inside not only to confront this demon of a man, but to share my pain with my family. Even at this point in life, I could have let my soul be shattered, but I did not. So let me brighten up this story with the reason I am writing you. Let me tell you how I not only empowered myself, but EMPOWERED my family. To make a long story—that I am happy to share with anyone—much shorter, I started thinking about Anissa first. I realized that despite all the negative fallout among my family after sharing with them what I had experienced, I still had to think of myself first. Every decision I made
had to have a positive impact on me. Not to be selfish, but I started to see that I was no good to anyone else if I was not willing to help myself. Over time, I grew each day and so did my family. What I have accomplished since this pinnacle moment has been amazing. I have reached places of this world that I never thought I would be. Not just in my career, but I have literally seen places of this world that many people do not get to experience. The bonds with my family and friends have been strengthened to something out of this world. I treat every day as an adventure and expect to wake up each day with nothing but excitement. I don’t let the “what-ifs” and “I-might-fails” ever own my day. Don’t get me wrong, I fail, I fall and some moments are stressful. But as soon as I face these fears, the sooner I will get to the other side of success.
“I treat every day as an adventure and expect to wake up each day with nothing but excitement.” On a deeper level, here are a few of the many lessons I have learned during this journey: Love is not just about saying “I love you” or similar terms of endearments. Love yourself, love your abilities and most importantly, know and truly believe that you are worthy of being loved. Sounds simple, but you would be surprised. By avoiding this word or feeling I thought I was protecting myself. I had to learn how to open my heart and let the feelings flow. My relationships with my family and friends have strengthened immensely. Sometimes words cannot even describe the feeling. Not only does love make you feel powerful, but you are also able to return that love to others. That is power! Be humble. I constantly tell myself, no matter what I have been through and how I got through it, it could
Sister Anissa “Borregita” Parra
be worse. I am thankful for the insight that I have honed, and sometimes you just need patience to allow others to process and feel their story. Positivity will allow you to leap mountains. Anger or negativity is really an emotion that makes you stand still in the progress of life. Sometimes it’s okay to feel angry, if it is used in a transition to feel other emotions. When you feel the blanket of anger overcome you, reach out to your support system and ask for insight. I was thankful to reach out to many sisters who were there before I could even get the words out of my mouth. They were very candid with me at all times. Being open to words of support and advice created a road where I appreciated every facet and detail of life. Now that is amazing!
“The majority of the time it’s not about what we say, but what we do.” My journey is not over, and as long as I am breathing on this earth, I will continue to push my boundaries and push for never-ending results of personal improvement
and enrichment. I encourage you to continue to find ways in your world to do the same. Doing so will not only empower yourself, but create power to inspire and encourage others to do the same for themselves. The majority of the time it’s not about what we say, but what we do. We must realize that others are watching our actions. It never fails. When I have a moment where I think what I do does not matter, someone tells me how I have inspired them or how I have encouraged them. Sometimes I don’t know who is being empowered more, them or myself. Now that is empowerment!
8th of every month: Chapter Minutes community) are to be submitted to Regional Director Feb. 15: The last possible day to receive Induction paperwork via Online Dec. 15: The last possible day to Community (should be submitted at receive Initiation paperwork via Online least two weeks ahead of Ritual) Community (should be submitted at *If not having intake submit NO INTAKE least two weeks ahead of Ritual.) paperwork via Online Community* Jan. 30: Submission of Semester Fact Sheet through Online Community Member Dues received at Headquarters Grade Verification Report (located in the resource center of the online
March 31: Submission of alumnae association forms through Online Community Alumnae association dues received at Headquarters
La Mensajera Fall 2013
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: India
Expect the unexpected Sister Leigha “Solidez” Garcia George I was at work when my husband called to ask if I’d be interested in moving to India. Assignments are typically three years, he explained, but we could see if we could shorten it some. He knew that in moving, I’d be giving up a lot. I had finished my Master’s degree almost a year earlier, and at the moment was trying to start my career. It wasn’t just that. I’d also be giving up watching my nephews grow through their toddler years, putting off having our own children, and seeing my grandmother through her late 80s. Our house, our friends, our families, and the conveniences of the United States would be thousands of miles away. Regardless of the things I knew I’d be giving up, I knew there was a lot to be gained as well. Sigma Lambda Gamma prepared me for a lifetime of intercultural experiences, and I was ready to tackle the world headfirst.
Expectations, or in this case, the lack of expectations, are everything. Since meeting my husband, he would always point out to me that the main source of my frustrations and annoyances in life were the high expectations I put upon others and myself. When we decided to move to India, I tried to keep that in mind, but deep down I still had expectations. I expected to be living in India for our 18-month assignment, with one trip home. I also envisioned living with the locals, learning to cook Indian food, and taking Hindi lessons. The first few months we did live with the locals—until our neighborhood ran out of water. When we could get it, the water that was brought in was unsafe, and this was the water that we needed to wash our dishes and our bodies. Suddenly, my expectations began to shift. Before, where I expected to wake up in the morning to a shower or electricity, I now expected the well in our yard to be dry and the power to be out. I also realized that we needed these things, and my expectation of living with the locals was causing me frustrations, and potentially danger. Slowly, but surely, my expectations began to disappear. Two years later, I am still living in India, I’ve been fortunate to have multiple trips home, I’m now living in a gated community, I still do not know how to cook Indian cuisine, and the Hindi Rosetta Stone my husband
bought me for Christmas is still in the packaging. Some of the things I wasn’t expecting have been the most fulfilling. In the past two years, I have gained deep friendships and
“Sigma Lambda Gamma prepared me for a lifetime of intercultural experiences, and I was ready to tackle the world headfirst.”
A Gamma’s Life Abroad: India
Expect the unexpected Sister Leigha “Solidez” Garcia George bonds, (likened to the sisterhood we all experienced in college and beyond) because of our shared experience. Just as in college, the friends I have made here are all transplants from another place, in India for similar reasons, facing the same hardships as well as the same exhilarations I face. Most have left behind the same things I have. We are all coming from different backgrounds. They are Americans, Dutch, German, Australian, Danish, and British. They are teachers, investment bankers, defense contractors, librarians, engineers, and housewives. My friendships with these amazing women (I say women, because 99% of the expat spouses are women) was unexpected, but just like the sisterly bonds that grew from a mutual understanding while in college, I know they will last a lifetime. Since moving, I’ve also been able to see more of the world than just India, which was a pleasant surprise. I’ve been lucky to hear a Balinese driver’s view of India while overlooking the terraced rice paddies. I experienced the Bar Mitzvah of a dear little friend in Jerusalem, the day after the 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. With the same friends, we cycled from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap Cambodia to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat.
I’ve seen the shopping malls of Singapore and the streets where my uncles fought in Vietnam. In moving to India, I gave up a career, seeing my friends and family on a regular basis, and unless I wanted to have children in India, I gave that up for the time being too. But once I started to expect nothing from people or my situation, I realized that I had so much more to gain than I had to lose. I could FaceTime with my family and friends, keep up online with the trends in my profession, and wait to start a family. The friendships, the places I have been, and the experiences I have gained from living abroad have been more valuable to me than anything I could have ever expected.
“.. the experiences I have gained from living abroad have been more valuable to me than anything I could have ever expected.”
La Mensajera Fall 2013
Taking Up the Fight Against Hunger Sister Ultima “Primor” Castro
Joining Sigma Lambda Gamma this past spring has really changed my life, and I am proud to represent our sorority and our principles. This past summer I worked at the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) in Austin, Texas as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I applied midsemester during the spring, without really knowing what my job would entail, but knowing that I wanted to serve my community. I thought I would be working directly with Summer Meals, serving meals and playing games with kids. However, my main goal was to increase participation in Summer Meals, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides free meals to anyone 18 and under. The Texas Hunger Initiative works with various organizations collaboratively to meet their goal of fighting hunger in the state of Texas.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-serviceprogram-sfsp to find Summer Meals programs in their area. Helping hungry kids find meal sites by delivering over 2000 outreach materials around the city made me realize how much one person can do to really make a change. Overall, my job, like life, was about communication, and doing it well. Working with Summer Meals over the past two years has shown me that every helping hand that can either donate time or supplies is very much needed. It’s not necessarily the most prestigious work, but it is exceptionally rewarding to the soul.
“As a sisterhood with a national reach, During my time at THI, I worked we can do great things to improve the to promote the Summer Meals program through the media, organize a Summer Meals lives of the children in our communities.” Kickoff, coordinating volunteers, checking the map of meal sites for errors, and other day to day operations. Although it was very different from my expectations of what I would be doing over the summer, it is equally important work. After all, how can we eliminate hunger with the program, if no one knows it exists, or how to find it? Working with THI gave me the confidence to approach things I don’t understand, or am overwhelmed by. As an individual, I made a difference. As a nation, we can do even more to end this hunger inequality. As a sisterhood with a national reach, we can do great things to improve the lives of the children in our communities.
Summer Meals is a national summer program, and sisters can reach out to their local food banks, or use
Is there a cause that you and your entity support? Share your story and how you help! Send your submissions to Mensajera@SigmaLambdaGamma.com
Next issue: Spring Semester La Mensajera Fall 2013
A fit Gamma’s success story Sister Claudia “Corazon” Garcia Sister Anna “La Piedra ” Williams
Hello wonderful readers! In the previous issue of La Mensajera, I wrote about Fit Gammas, a new Facebook group created by Gammas, for Gammas to support each other on our journeys to lead healthy lives. Since that article, Fit Gammas has grown to 817 Gammas, all supporting, motivating, and encouraging each other daily. Need inspiration? Feeling lazy? Wanting to skip that workout, or needing an extra push to make the healthiest choice of meals? Reach out to Fit Gammas. Chances are, there will always be someone willing to give you that cyber push you need! We’ve discussed our goals, our meals, shared successes, asked for motivation, sent each other interesting articles, joked with each other, and in one recent post (with over 40 responses) a certain sister shared a picture of her (very handsome and very fit) brother to give everyone some eye candy. I mean, motivation for the days! I wanted to share a success story with our readers from one of our Fit Gammas. Originally, I told Anna that I’d send her a list of questions for her to answer, and I had planned to write my article around her responses. In typical overachieving Anna style, she submitted the article, and I’m not sure that I could give her story justice if I didn’t share it in her own words.
stopped lying to myself. In order to achieve results, I was going to have to put in WORK! That work meant changing my diet and eating clean foods as often as possible and making exercise a priority. I began eating lean proteins and good carbs at every meal. Veggies, a former enemy, became my friends. If it was in a package or from a drive-thru, I didn’t eat it. I did not let myself cheat except for one meal a week.
“With so many things in this world that are out of our control, my health became the one thing that I had the power over.” With my prior failed attempts at weight loss, I always kept my goals a secret. What I found helpful this time around was the fact that I talked about it with everyone! I found people at work to hold me accountable and took progress pictures to check in with myself weekly. In addition, I planned my cheat meals and when I would refuse a cupcake offered to me by a co-worker, I would be sure to tell them why. “It looks good, but it’s not my cheat meal day!” Soon, people would plan
My story is not much different from many. I grew up active and playing sports. I even majored in Kinesiology in college. However, at some point, my life took a turn. I got busy with work, and when stress ran high, I turned to food. My active lifestyle was put on hold and soon, I found myself 60 pounds overweight. I knew my weight was a problem, but it wasn’t until my father was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and my grandma’s health got out of control, that I really had to stop and check myself. Did I want this to be my story too? Did I want to become another statistic like so many Blacks and Hispanics who suffer from obesity and diseases related to their poor health choices? I decided to take control of my life. With so many things in this world that are out of our control, my health became the one thing that I had the power over. I started changing and losing weight (after multiple failed attempts) when I got serious about it and
A fit Gamma’s success story Sister Claudia “Corazon” Garcia Sister Anna “La Piedra ” Williams dinners around my cheat meal day or offer healthy alternatives at their parties. It made me feel good to know that I had the support of people around me. In seven months, I have lost 37 pounds and know I have what it takes to reach the 120s within the next few months. My work in education provided a forum for me to affect change in more than just myself. I wasn’t healthy yet, but I wanted to share my journey with others and positively impact my school community. I started a Girls’ Fitness and Weightlifting club in 2012. The girls had so many questions about food choices and exercise. They were starving for information and wanted to make good choices. Often, I found that the information I shared was not only new to them, but their families as well. As a result of my club, interest in health and fitness on my campus grew and I quickly became known to others as a source of information. Students would ask me questions about what foods they should eat, teachers would ask me how to lose weight. It should have been no surprise, that when a group of my students wanted to challenge themselves beyond anything they had ever done before, they turned to me. These students approached me and asked if I would do the MS 150 with them. The MS 150 is a 180 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin, Texas that lasts two days and raises support and awareness for multiple sclerosis. With only a second of hesitation, I agreed. Together, eight girls, four teachers, and I have begun
the training and fundraising process. A few of the girls could barely even ride a bike when we started. We have received a generous donation of bicycles from a local organization and are fundraising the $500 per person required to participate in the ride. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. We have started this process through bake sales and letter writing campaigns and have until April to meet our goal. I know that this is building a wealth of skills that my girls will take with them for the rest of their lives. Not only are they helping other people, they are helping themselves. If you would like to support us in our efforts, please share our website with those you know and donate to our cause if you are able. http:// www.gofundme.com/kippms150
I hope you enjoyed the first of what we hope to be many more success stories. If you’d like to join the Fit Gammas group on Facebook, you can find us at:https://www.facebook.com/ groups/fitgammas/ and on Instragram under FitGammas1990. To submit questions, success stories, or suggestions for Fit Gammas, please email email@example.com.
La Mensajera Fall 2013
A Gamma Girl’s Guide to Getting the Gig
Resume Do’s and Don’ts Sister Britteny “Niayira” Dunson As a Recruitment Assistant for Edelman PR, the world’s largest public relations firm, I review, pass along and throw away hundreds of resumes a day. They are emailed, faxed, mailed or even dropped off at our reception desk. When you’re the recruiter, everyone wants to impress you; and what better way to impress a recruiter than with an amazing resume? And how do you avoid the adverse, by having one that is less than great? Before landing my dream job in my current role, some may say I was a professional job applicant. Applying for hundreds of roles, going on dozens of interviews and landing 10 jobs for some of the best companies in the country (Google, Workday, Inc., Edelman, etc.). Ironically, I somehow landed in Recruitment. Based on my experiences, here are a few tips to make sure you have the best first impression and how to make sure you don’t end up at the bottom of the recycle bin! DO Learn to Spell (Or at least how to “Spell Check.” F7 Anyone?) One of the first things we learn to do in school, is to spell. So when you’re applying for an Internship or Full-Time job, we would expect that to be something that comes with the package of a degree. Sounds harsh, but Careerbuilder.com states that 61% of resumes have typos.
“pearly whites” and show them your awesome personality) is to stand by one rule: SLOW YOUR ROLL! Take your time, read every last thing. Press “F7” or whatever spell check function you have, at least 90 times and ask a sister or friend to review it. You may think it is a minor thing, but I have seen individuals with great experience get rejected because of a poorly composed resume. It is a testament to your attention to detail. Secret Tip: Spell check does not check items spelled in ALL CAPS. If you insist on using ALL CAPS, but want to insure all is spelled correctly, type your section in lower-case or sentence case first, spell check and then convert to ALL CAPS within the “Format” toolbar. DON’T Include a picture. We all know how gorgeous you are, sister! But the resume isn’t the place to show it. The exception to this rule is overseas where it is common practice, or when you are applying for a role that requires a headshot (Acting, News Reporting, Print Modeling, etc.).
“Before landing my dream job in my current role, some may say I was a professional job applicant.”
When it comes to something as important as your resume, the one thing that sets you apart from all the rest, (before you are given the chance to flash those
Why don’t we want to see your picture? Nothing personal, but no one is perfect. This is allowing for unintentional (or sometimes unfortunately intentional) profiling. We want there to be no cause for this. Leaving a picture “out of the mix” lightens the chance of this happening by 99%. DO Link-Up!
A Gamma Girl’s Guide to Getting the Gig
Resume Do’s and Don’ts Sister Britteny “Niayira” Dunson There’s nothing worse than having to copy and paste an email address into the “To:” Box. Make your addresses— whether they be email or web pages—hyperlinks. This makes it easier for recruiters, schedulers and sources to contact you. Secret Tip: It wouldn’t hurt to include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
“Brag about yourself! Be your biggest cheerleader.” DON’T use a template or at least don’t make it look like you used a template. I will never forget this: Two women applied for the same role and with the exception of their personal information and job histories, their resumes were identical. That made one of two things clear. Either they were “bffs” and wrote their resume’s side by side, (highly unlikely) or they used a template. Now, if you do use a template, by no means does this devalue your content. But it’s hard on the eyes to see the same thing repeatedly and it also shows lack of creativity or individuality. Who wants someone based on a template? Secret Tip: If you DO use a template, play around with it; make it your own. Change the font: don’t be afraid to journey out of the world of Times New Roman and Arial. However, keep it “readable,” Curlz and Comic Sans are a “No-No.” Add a “pop” of color: Nothing to extreme, perhaps a bar or an icon. DO be relevant. Not every job you apply to is the same, so why should your resume be? Update your resume according to the position to which you apply. Bring relevant experience to the forefront or highlight specific skills first on your skills list. (Always include a summary of skills.) Secret Tip: If you are a new grad, with little to no job experience, remember that “Work Study,” seasonal jobs and Internships are work experience.
Everything has its value. Being a cashier can be seen as a customer service skill prevalent to a multitude of other responsibilities. Everything counts, even classes. Include everything that shows you are the ONE! DON’T be shy. Brag about yourself! Be your biggest cheerleader. Include your accolades, innovations or awards. There is no such thing as TOO MUCH achievement. Secret Tip: Add an achievements section if you have room to spare. DO save in PDF form Not everyone has the same system in which your resume was created. Saving as a PDF, ensures that no matter what system the person reviewing your resume is using, it will always be formatted just the way you intended. Secret Tip: You can save as a PDF by “Saving As” and selecting PDF from the “Save as type” pull down menu.
“Your resume is essentially a one page snapshot of the professional you.” DON’T just take it from me. These are great tips I’ve learned over the years and, as someone in the field, can lend a lot of advice. However, by no means am I an expert. Take this as a great starting point. Trial and error. Do some personal research to see what works best for you, and the roles in which you wish to apply. Secret Tip: Utilize your Career Center. I DO hope these tips assist you on your journey to a better resume and ultimately, “Getting the Gig.” Your resume is essentially a one page snapshot of the professional you. Make it count, make it truly reflective of who you are. DON’T stress about it. It’s not an easy task, but through trial and error you will be well on your way to the perfect, professional resume. La Mensajera Fall 2013
The Importance of Self-love Sister Racquel “Clásica” Henry As sisters who are close to me might know, I started a weight loss journey in March 2013. I was able to lose a significant amount of weight by cutting out processed foods, and replacing them with whole foods. The newfound knowledge about food encouraged me to further explore and research health and nutrition. What I’ve discovered is that wellness is just as important to the journey as controlling what goes into your body. Wellness is defined as the correlation between mind and body. Not only is maintaining a healthy weight important, but maintaining a healthy mind is essential as well. While writing will always be my first love, I’m learning that there is room for a passion in nutrition, fitness and overall wellness. This article will be the first of an ongoing series where I share information about how we can take care of ourselves.
“What I’ve discovered is that wellness is just as important to the journey as controlling what goes into your body.” Perhaps the most significant part of wellness is having a sound mind. Part of having a sound mind involves loving yourself. You can’t take care of your mind or your body long term if you lack self-love. First, evaluate your level of self-esteem. How do you view yourself? Are you happy? Whatever you may be unhappy about, remember that none of it is permanent. Your weight, career, relationships and life, are all things that you can make changes to. Nothing is permanent unless you want it to be.
Second, once you’ve identified any changes you want to make, ask yourself what you’re going to do about it. If weight loss is your goal, don’t be afraid to experiment. What works for others may not necessarily work for you. The same goes for career goals. If you’re not doing what you love, then figure out what it’s going to take to get you on your desired career path. Third, remember to have compassion for yourself. You’re going to make mistakes. There will be road blocks along the way. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect and that you may be in a place of transition. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Fourth, believe in yourself. You’ve probably heard the expression, “If you don’t believe in yourself then who will?” While the phrase may have been reduced to a simplistic cliché, it will still always remain the truth. You won’t meet goals unless you actually believe that they’re possible. Know your worth. You are possible.
“It’s okay if things aren’t perfect and that you may be in a place of transition.” Fifth, work hard. You can’t be afraid of a little hard work. Wherever you choose to go in life, know that it’s impossible to get there unless you are willing to dedicate the time and energy necessary to turning your dreams into a reality. I am in no way an expert. In my series I’ll be sharing what I have learned from experience. I only hope to encourage sisters to take control of their lives and not settle for anything less than what they deserve. I hope that if you’re reading this, you feel inspired to take care of both your mind and body.
La Mensajera Fall 2013
Sione “Ihu’Makoa” Lister Sister Karina “Tiziana” Rivera Sione is of Samoan, Italian, and Irish descent. She was born and raised in Bellevue, WA. She’s a 4th year senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Mathematics and Sociology. She currently serves as the Chapter President for the Upsilon Gamma Chapter.
Sione has always been an excellent example of a Woman of Distinction. She is currently the chapter President, while also serving as a Lead Student Ambassador for the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs. She was also involved with the Polynesian Student Association, and performed in our university’s annual Polynesian Day. In addition to her role within SLG, and her involvement on campus, she has also pushed herself in her studies by studying abroad in Tahiti, participating in the University of Washington’s annual Research Symposium, and participating in a Research Exchange where she worked on Sociological research.
Sione has a golden personality. She always has a smile on her face, and always leaves an amazing impression. She’s always there to lend a hand when anyone is in need. Recently, Sione put together a panel of women who have experienced addiction. To serve as a Morals and Ethics event, they came to talk to us about how they overcame these challenges in their lives. The event really exemplified the empowerment mechanism. Sione truly serves as a mechanism of empowerment for the chapter, sorority, university community, and everyone she meets. Favorite SLG Memory: Being able to witness the growth of the chapter with its new members. Being able to help them, be there for them, and watch them become stronger leaders on campus, in the chapter, and in their communities.
Image created by: Karina “Tiziana”Rivera Upsilon Gamma Chapter North Florida Alumnae Association
Entity sPOTLIGHT Omicron Beta
Sister Marcella “Auténtica” Castro The “Honorable” Omicron Beta Chapter was founded on December 13, 2002 and since then has always worked extremely hard to uphold Sigma Lambda Gamma’s five principles. Every spring semester is the toughest one on the chapter and spring 2013 was no different. These women of distinction hosted their 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on April 13, 2013. Many months of planning and stress go into this successful event but they wouldn’t have it any other way. The Omicron Beta chapter has been able to raise thousands of dollars each year from this event alone to donate to cancer research. At the end of the academic year, all donations are donated to a cancer facility voted on by the chapter. The end of the 2013 spring semester was a great one for the chapter. At the annual Greek Life Awards Banquet, Gammas kept winning! The Omicron Beta Chapter went home with the following awards: Spring 2012 Highest Sorority GPA, 2013 Cross Council Chapter, 2013 Outstanding MGC Chapter, MGC Council Officer of the Year (Maria
“Ambicion” Bravo) and TOP CHAPTER OF THE YEAR! All the hard work and dedication chapter sisters put in definitely paid off and they could not be more proud! The chapter said goodbye to 7 graduates in the spring semester and welcomed 12 new sisters to the chapter. They ended spring 2013 with a celebration of all the semesters’ accomplishments at the end of the year banquet co-hosted with the “Caliente” Chi Alpha Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Incorporated. The summer was spent hosting fundraisers for their TRIO Scholarship, taking supplies for the tornado victims in Oklahoma, and planning future events at our semester retreat. This fall of 2013 they are hosting their annual BCA Week on October 7-12, 2013 which will be filled with events intended to create Breast Cancer Awareness within the UTA community, and to collect donations for this cause. They will also be saying goodbye to 7 more graduates this semester. The rest of the fall semester will be an amazing one and it’s exciting to see what else the “Honorable” Omicron Beta Chapter has in store.
La Mensajera Fall 2013
Entity sPOTLIGHT Phi Alpha
Sister Franyelina Lopez As a chapter at the Pennsylvania State University (main campus), Phi Alpha has had the opportunity to connect with many TRIO students. Our campus is a host for the Upward Bound program which is one of 8 TRIO programs overall. Upward Bound provides students with support and preparation for college entrance. The program intends to serve first-generation, low-income, and migrant students (Upward Bound Migrant). Recently, sisters have become very involved with this program, intending to lend a hand wherever we can! We have developed a close relationship with the director of the program with hopes of being a helpful tool for her.
During the month of September, we attended one of Upward Boundâ€™s Saturday programs, in which they bring students from all over the state to guide them and help them make decisions regarding their futures, as well as open their eyes to all of the opportunities that are made available through education. We had an open forum where we talked to over 100 students about Sigma Lambda Gamma and what it stands for as well as answer any questions they may have had (not pertaining to one specific topic). This was an uplifting experience for the sisters because it was amazing to see how our efforts made a difference. It certainly was an exuberating experience to be able to spend a day with these students and give them our thoughts or advice because many of them reminded us of ourselves. Being
able to speak to a diverse group of students who may not have much reminded us all why it is so important to be the best person you can be and to always carry your letters with pride. Whether you know it or not, you are someoneâ€™s role model. We plan to do more events with the Upward Bound program here at Penn State in the weeks to come. We have been brainstorming innovative ways in which we can help keep the program alive whether it be through donations, volunteering with the students, raising awareness, or helping the office out with specific duties. We hope that our story and our experience with the TRIO programs motivates other sisters to get involved as well! If anyone in our area does not have a TRIO program nearby but would like to help, please contact us in order to get involved.
Want to share news or an accomplishment about your entity? Want to recognize an outstanding alumna or undergrad? Email us to see them in our entity/member spotlights! Send your nominations to Mensajera@SigmaLambdaGamma.com Next issue: Spring Semester
Entity sPOTLIGHT Upsilon Beta
Sister Erika “pualani” Alcala The Upsilon Beta chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma has created an anti-hazing video, with the collaboration of other Greeks on campus to bring awareness to the issue. We believe that a Woman of Distinction is built from empowering herself and striving to do her best in everything that she finds an interest in, or does in order to obtain a more successful future. We do not believe in humiliating or degrading others as a means to becoming our “sister.” To us, a sister is someone who supports, encourages, and always wants what is best for all of the sisters. A sister leads by example and by living our five principles in her everyday life. She is her sister’s keeper. According to StopHazing.org, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group... that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.” Hazing has been known to cause extreme consequences on both the person being hazed and the organization. It does not empower
individuals, it does however, make them more prone to follow what others want. Link to anti-hazing video www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_ePB1JUSHU Quote link http://www.stophazing.org/definition.html The sisters of the Upsilon Beta chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma at the University of Texas at El Paso, have established a new bi-annual fundraiser. A certain amount of tickets are sold to the community to attend the breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s. The people who attend get to eat breakfast at the Applebee’s location. Those who are not able to attend have the option of donating the ticket to individuals who are homeless. On the day of the event, as a sorority, the girls work together and become waitresses, servers, and hosts who provide the breakfast to the guests. Last, but definitely not least, the ladies package the remaining plates and tickets and donate them to the individuals who are homeless around the city. It is such a great feeling to know that we are helping others. Though we’re simply providing meals, we are helping our community.
La Mensajera Fall 2013
South Florida Alumnae Association Sisters Laura Caceres and Joanna Orrego
In March 2013, The South Florida Alumnae Association (SFLAA) was invited to co-host a TRIO event at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, FL with the Phi Gamma Chapter. This annual FIU event, called Career Day, brings in high school students involved with the Upward Bound program at FIU. Career Day focuses on providing students the basic information necessary to excel in their academic and future careers, while experiencing the university setting.
The students were bussed to FIU from various high schools throughout Miami-Dade County to spend their whole Saturday on campus. They were divided into three groups and rotated between different presentations created by Phi Gamma sisters, which covered various topics from college resources, business etiquette, professional attire, and networking. These presentations gave students insight on what university life has in store for them, how to make the best of their undergraduate years, and what to expect after graduation. The students were engaged with open discussion topics, PowerPoint presentations and games. SFLAA members were very excited to assist one of their local undergraduate entities with such an important cause. They were able provide students with the alumni perspective on how important a college education is to have an advantage in today’s competitive career
markets. Alumnae Sisters offered personal experiences on balancing a career with family and different postgraduate educational opportunities. The US Department of Education TRIO programs have funded FIU’s Upward Bound program since 1995. The Director of the Upward Bound program at FIU, Timothy Dean, has requested Sigma Lambda Gamma’s participation in this annual event for years, and looks forward to our involvement and creativity. TRIO is a federal-funded program that provides opportunities for disadvantaged youth to complete their high school education and continue on to college education.
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. National Headquarters 125 E. Zeller Street Suite D North Liberty, IA 52317
OFFICE: 319.626.7679 FAX: 319.626.7688 email: Headquarters@SigmaLambdaGamma.com SigmaLambdaGamma.com Questions about La Mensajera? email: Mensajera@SigmaLambdaGamma.com
La Mensajera Fall 2013