Sigma Alpha Sorority - Emerald Times - September 2019

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Emerald Sigma Alpha Sorority

Times September 2019

Sigma Alpha Sorority Welcomes Megan O’Connell as the new Emerald Times Editor Megan O’Connell, an alumna of the Alpha Phi Chapter at Fresno State, has accepted the opportunity to be the first editor of the Emerald Times.

City, Missouri where she is a Marketing Specialist for the Midwest and Central Regions.

Born and raised in California, she was introduced into agriculture through FFA when she was a pre-teen. Never knowing anything about it, she soon fell in love with learning and exploring the different facets of agriculture.

Megan joined Sigma Alpha her freshman year. While active, she served as Treasurer and President for two terms at her chapter. She continued to serve on the National Board as Treasurer in 2017, Outreach Director in 2018 and has now taken on a volunteer position of Editor in 2019. Megan lives with her fiancé, Craig, and their black Labrador, Buddy. Together, they are planning to get married next May in Weston, MO.

During her time in the FFA, she competed in various speaking competitions, which helped her find her confidence and her voice for telling the story of agriculture. Because of this, she graduated from California State University of Fresno in 2017 with a degree in agricultural communications. After graduation, she moved to Delaware and started her career in Public Relations in the garden industry. Now she resides in Kansas

In This Issue: President’s Message Honorary Sister Activated National Convention Highlights Leadership Updates

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Sisters Cultivating Professionalism Celebrating Sisters Partner Highlights Alumnae Dues

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President’s Message President’s Message Thank you everyone who attended the 2019 Sigma Alpha National Convention in Scottsdale! Your participation and energy are what made the convention an amazing experience for everyone! I was so impressed with your engagement in the sessions, the questions you had for us and all of your passion for the organization we love! This summer has been a busy one for me and my Sigma Alpha duties. In June, on behalf of Sigma Alpha, I attended the “2019 American Agri-Woman’s Fly In” in Washington, DC. It was a great four days of networking, learning about advocacy and meeting with multiple people throughout Washington that influence agriculture on a daily basis. One of the highlights was hearing from Molly Foley, a fellow sister who works on trade issues in Washington. My biggest take away from the weekend was that we need more of you bright

and shining stars working in Washington and interning with federal agencies that are working with agriculture. Learn more about my experience in the Emerald Times. During my State of the Sorority at convention, I addressed our fantastic growth and the hard work you all are putting in to making your chapters shine. As I begin my final year as your president, I look forward to working with the National Board on the Sorority’s Strategic Plan and continuing to improve and refine resources for your chapters. In Sisterhood,

Kelly Kelly Lawler National Sorority Board President

2020 Leadership Seminars Save the Date February 7-8, 2020 February 14-15, 2020 February 21-22, 2020 February 28-29, 2020

St. Louis, Missouri Reno, Nevada Atlanta, Georgia Baltimore, Maryland

By partnering with Alpha Gamma Rho to present the 2020 Leadership Seminars, Sigma Alpha provides its members an opportunity to develop personally and professionally and to network with other young professionals dedicated to the agriculture industry. Start making plans with other members from your chapter to attend one of these programs.

Apply for a Leadership Seminar Scholarship Keep an eye on your emails for more information. Page 2

Welcoming Brad Garrison Into the Sisterhood staff and was continually exploring ways for the two organizations to work more closely together for mutual benefit. Due to his dedication to AGR, he understands the value of joining a sisterhood, something he doesn’t take lightly. During his speech before the ceremony, he explained that he wants to do everything he can to continue to help Sigma Alpha shine in the best light, to help us grow and develop into a stronger, more capable organization. Brad Garrison, Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) alumnus, has joined the sisterhood as the newest honorary member of Sigma Alpha.

Through his commitment to Sigma Alpha, Brad joined the Sigma Alpha Educational Foundation Board.

During the National Convention, the National Sorority Board welcomed Brad into the sisterhood with open arms. Being a longtime supporter and friend of the sisterhood, it was time he was able to join the growing list of AGR “sisters.” Brad’s substantial history with Sigma Alpha includes sharing knowledge with Sigma Alpha sisters as a Leadership Seminar facilitator in 2008 and 2009 and later chairing the Leadership Seminar Steering Committee. Over the years, he’s also developed friendships with many Sigma Alpha sisters, board members and chapter consultants. He was also the first ever to notify the Sigma Alpha Educational Foundation Board of his intent to support Sigma Alpha through a bequest in his will. While on AGR staff, Brad provided encouragement and guidance by sharing fundraising expertise with the Sigma Alpha Educational Foundation Board and Page 3

2019 Nationa The sisters of Sigma Alpha Sorority had an amazing time at the 2019 National Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. With the theme being Trust. Respect. Success. this year, the National Board really focused in on how each individual chapter can encourage members to be the best versions of themselves, which will lead to successful chapters for years to come.

Just as each chapter should foster every pillar, the National Board believed convention needs to have a piece of each pillar celebrated. It is the foundation our sorority is built from. The convention was kicked off with the Party Like a Pineapple Pool Party! The sisters gathered at the pool for some sisterhood fun, games, food, and music late into the night. Friday was full of professional development opportunities. Between the sisterhood symposium, where sisters can get pressing questions answered and learn of partner opportunities, and workshops hosted by alumnae, the sisters learned how to be the

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best advocates in their personal and professional lives. Saturday was a day of service and business, as the sisters bounded together to vote on instrumental items during chapter congress. Followed by packing backpacks for the local school districts to pass out to elementary school students, which included local Ag facts. The sisters dived in on how to better serve their communities, universities and chapters in all facets of life. No convention could be complete without the Emerald Banquet. Here, sisters and chapters were awarded for all of the hard work they put in throughout the year. Keynote speaker, Stacy Nadeau encouraged and inspired us to be the best versions of ourselves. She radiated good energy throughout the hall and showed everyone that it doesn’t matter who you are on the outside, it matters who you are on the inside.

al Convention

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Convention Highlights


Sister Closet The National Sorority Board tried something new this year with the Sister Closet. For the past few months, Sigma Alpha Alumnae sent their gently used or brand new professional and business casual clothes in for the National Convention. There, the sisters were able to “shop” the closet, at no cost to the attendees, and take anything they need to help create an outfit they can take to help further their career or education. Items in the closet included full dress suits, cocktail attire, blazers and slacks, and of course new blouses to complete the look. The sisters swarmed the closet, with a line out the door and began to wrap around the building! Thankfully, the board put out more clothes every day, as it was close to being “sold out” the first day.

The National Board will be continuing to collect clothing for future conventions.

National Service Project

Be Ins ge be sty Sig lea the

Th ev div an se sis co ea we ca Tif be wo

Th we wo wh

On Tif res ou

The sisters of Sigma Alpha used their time during the National Convention to pack backpacks for the students at the Scottsdale school district. In order to keep it within the Ag in the Community standards, they included agriculture facts, especially Arizona facts. The sisters had fun getting the backpacks put together, decorating cards for each of the kids and putting on a mini photo shoot at the end. They were delivered to the superintendent who was beyond grateful for the help.

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Convention Highlights

isters Get a Makeover of a Lifetime

etween the highlight reel of stagram and the college budget, etting dressed in the morning can e difficult. Sigma Alpha alumna an yle expert, Tiffany Nielson, gave 5 gma Alpha sisters a chance to arn how to dress for their future, eir body and their personality.

sisters excitedly tried on the clothes, helping each other find the perfect outfit for the night. Cue the clothes montage in every girl’s dream movie. Three hours and 100 outfits later, the sisters were feeling confident and ready to strut their stuff.

he sisters went through an valuation process to ensure versity in career goals, body types nd personalities. Each of the girls elected were hard working, driven sters who just needed a little bit of onfidence to dress for success in ach of their fields. No two girls ere alike. With the diversity you an find in the field of agriculture, ffany was on a mission to let that e her guide to showcasing what all oman can do in this field.

The next morning, Tiffany snuck them out of the breakfast session and each sister had her hair and makeup done by a local salon.

hroughout this process, the sisters ere sworn to secrecy, so no one ould know until their grand debut ho was chosen.

n Friday night, the sisters and ffany headed to Macy’s to find served fitting rooms, filled with utfits for them to get started. The

Made-over sisters with Tiffany Nielson, unveiling their new looks.

As the luncheon speaker, Tiffany spoke about her time as a professional stylist and all of the men and women who come to her in need of help in both style and etiquette. Specializing in leadership groups, Tiffany helps groups from the Dairy Princesses in California to Farm Credit Board of Directors. During her speech, the sisters walked the runway around the room, before joining her on stage to tell all about this experience. Each sister had a story to tell on why and how this experience impacted them.

L-R: Madison, Animal Therapist, Rylee, Communications, Sara, Teacher, Kimberly, Veterinarian, Destin, Lawyer

Before + After Shots

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Emerald Ban Chapter Charters

Gamma Delta SUNY Cobleskill

Alpha Sigma New Mexico State University

February 17, 2019

Reactivated: November 15, 2018

Gamma Epsilon Arkansas State University, Jonesboro April 28, 2019

Chapter Anniversaries

In 2019

In 2018

35 Years: Beta Chapter 30 Years: Epsilon & Zeta Chapters 25 Years: Chi, Psi & Omega Chapters 20 Years: Alpha Kappa & Alpha Lambda Chapters 15 Years: Beta Gamma Chapter 10 Years: Beta Lambda Chapter 5 Years: Beta Rho, Beta Sigma & Beta Tau Chapters

40 Years: Alpha Chapter 25 Years: Tau & Upsilion Chapters 20 Years: Alpha Zeta, Alpha Eta, Alpha Theta, Alpha Iota & Lambda (Reactivation) Chapters 15 Years: Alpha Omega & Beta Alpha Chapters 10 Years: Beta Kappa Chapter 5 Years: Beta Omicron Chapter

For a full list of award re Page 8

nquet Awards Pillar Awards

Arkansas Tech University Beta Tau Chapter

University of California, Davis Lambda Chapter

University of New Hampshire Beta Kappa Chapter

Outstanding Leadership Outstanding Service

Outstanding Fellowship

Outstanding Scholarship

Heart of the Bull

Founder’s Cup First Place - Alpha Chi Chapter, University of Missouri-Columbia Second Place –Gamma Alpha Chapter, Wilmington College Third Place - Alpha Phi Chapter, California State University, Fresno

Emerald Chapters Delta Kappa Rho Alpha Lambda

Alpha Phi Alpha Chi Betz Zeta Gamma Alpha

Chapter Awards Beta Chapter Purdue University

Chapter Growth Beta Upsilon Chapter - 27% Alpha Chapter - 24% Beta Psi Chapter - 23% Gamma Beta Chapter - 39% Gamma Alpha Chapter - 33% Phi Chapter - 25%

Outstanding Social Media - Gamma Delta Chapter Outstanding Website - Xi Chapter Jennifer McMillan Service in Agriculture - Beta Epsilon Chapter

Individual Awards Outstanding New Member - Alexia Smith, Beta Psi Chapter Outstanding Leader - Carson Wienecke, Rho Chapter Outstanding Advisor - Rosemary Boggs, Alpha Omega Chapter Outstanding Senior - Abby Dunham, Alpha Delta Chapter Board Choice - Lisa Campion Sullivan, Gamma Chapter

ecipients, please visit Page 9

Leadership Updates

National Sorority Board

2019-2020 Board: (Left to Right): Christine Phipps (Treasurer), Kate Hadley (Development Director), April Burg (Collegiate Membership Director), Kelly Lawler (President), Alyssa Clements (Outreach Director), Molly Lass (Communications Director), Jessica Graham (Vice President), Angela Faryan (Secretary)

Chapter Consultants

2019-2020 Chapter Consulants: (Left to Right): Skylar Peters (Region 9), Sarah Hetirck (Region 1), Jennifer Webster (Region 6), Sydney White (Region 8), Lynn Bartholomew (Region 5), April Burg (Development Director), Katie Hodge (Region 4), Ashley Hauptman (Region 7)

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Leadership Updates Educational Foundation Board Sigma Alpha’s Educational Foundation has had a busy summer! The Foundation Board met during National Convention and welcomed new Board members, elected new officers and began their 2019-20 fundraising and strategic planning. The Board welcomed Brad Garrison, Alpha Gamma Rho alumnus, volunteer and former Chief Development Officer. Brad’s history has intertwined with ours, as he has provided encouragement and guidance by sharing fundraising expertise with the Board. He saw a potential in both organizations (Sigma Alpha and AGR) and explored ways for them to grow together and individually. He has given the Board invaluable advice and strategic guidance. We are excited to have Brad and his wealth of experience on the Sigma Alpha team!

Alumnae mixers at national sorority events. Throughout the next year, the Foundation will strive to enhance our individual giving campaigns and strengthen corporate partnerships. Every dollar counts and directly supports sorority programing and opportunities for sisters. If you or anyone you know is interested in giving to the Foundation or know of businesses looking to partner with Sigma Alpha, please contact a Foundation Board member, Chapter Consultant or Sigma Alpha staff.

The Board also welcomed Lindsey Liebig, past National President of Sigma Alpha Sorority and Kappa Chapter alumna. Lindsey was elected President of the Foundation and is excited to be returning to Sigma Alpha and working to enhance their fundraising strategies that support all our sisters. Katharine Rosser, Kappa Chapter alumna, was elected Vice President and Brenda Sellers, Delta alumna, was elected Secretary/Treasurer. The Board also said goodbye to three dedicated sisters, Lisa Campion Sullivan, Jessica Pyritz and Destinie Malish. We appreciate their contributions and look forward to keeping them as engaged alumnae. During National Convention, the Foundation hosted a Sponsor & Alumnae event at Top Golf Scottsdale. This fun, networking event brought together sisters from across the nation for fellowship and some fun in the desert heat. We look forward to continuing to offer these

Want to help the Educational Foundation? Make a gift today! Visit to donate at least $10!

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Sisters Cultivating

Professional Developm

Learning the Do’s and Don'ts of Being a Professional The Beta Xi Chapter, Illinois State University, held their first joint etiquette dinner with the University’s Farmhouse Fraternity Chapter on January 23, 2019. Cindy Byrd, a personal branding expert and the founder and owner of Image Potential Training and Consulting, presented The Do’s and Don’ts of Dining and Social Etiquette. Byrd taught the chapters how to make a lasting first impression with a handshake and introductions; to eliminate fatal distractions in dress, mannerisms and dining; social media etiquette and cocktail hour etiquette; and how to write the proper thank you note or follow up email. Forty members from both Sigma Alpha and Farmhouse enjoyed a four-course meal with instruction on how to use the utensils in a formal dining full-place setting and continental style dining. Members of these chapters were able to take these tips and tricks and use them during job interviews and dinners in their career after graduation. The members of Sigma Alpha were also able to further build their relationship with the Farmhouse fraternity.

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g Professionalism

ment Grant Highlights

Creating Community Connections More than 150 people attended the Alpha Chi Chapter’s Annual Sigma Alpha Symposium in March. The event brought together University of Missouri-Columbia students within the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, faculty and many well-known agricultural businesses across Missouri for a night of career exploration and fine dining. Many sponsorships and grants were needed to fund the evening and the professional development grant was used to pay for the venue. The evening started with a formal dinner where students and guests were paired together according to the area of interest of students and businesses. Kellie Bray, of Crop Life America, and Kristie Larson, of the American Royal, gave an upbeat and exciting talk about how we can each use our talents to play a part in the agriculture industry.

2019 Alpha Chi Symposium attendees

The professional development chairmen presented a honorary award from the Sigma Alpha Chi chapter to the Covered Bridge Market for donating their services for numerous years during the Alpha Chi chapter’s annual fundraising event. To end the evening, names were pulled for door prizes. The Alpha Chi chapter will sustain this event by keeping in touch with the business representatives who attended and reaching out to invite more industry leaders next year. Many connections within the agriculture industry were made and a deeper appreciation for community was instilled.

Chairs Rhiannen Schneider (left) and Jessica Hoelting (2nd from left) present award to the Covered Bridge Market

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Chapter Highlights Celebrating Sigma Alpha Sisters Spring semester means awards season at most universities and boy, do we have a lot to celebrate! We are so proud of our members, and we would like to congratulate our chapters on their awards earned last semester by showcasing them below!

Beta Theta chapter awarded “Outstanding Values-Based Recruitment” at University of New Hampshire Greek Life Awards. Beta Delta chapter awarded the Junior Community Spirit Arthur Virtue Award from the Platteville Regional Chamber. Beta Sigma chapter was awarded 2nd place for the Spring New Member Highest GPA and 3 sisters were added to WKU’s Greek Academic Hall of Fame.

Xi chapter received the Gold Level achievement from the Oregon State University Greek Awards. Lambda chapter was awarded the Pillar of Excellence in Leadership and Member Development presented by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life at UC Davis. Gamma Beta chapter’s sister Baylie was 1 of 40 recipients at the Montana State University Foundations for Excellence.

Alpha Iota chapter’s sister Hillary Brennan competed and won 1st place for the 5th year in a row with her team at the American College of Healthcare Executives Western Region College Bowl Academic Competition. Seven members

from the chapter received scholarships from the College of Agriculture. Alpha Delta chapter’s sisters Isabelle Stewart and Grace McDonald were nominated as Outstanding Student Organization Officers and sister Kara Phillips was nominated for Outstanding Student Worker during University of Nebraska’s CASNR Week. Gamma Delta chapter’s sisters Katie Keller and Alyssa Jellison both received the Excellence in Student Leadership Award. Beta Theta chapter’s sisters Bailey Kilburn and Alayna Turbyfield received the Emerging Leader awards during UTM’s Greek Awards. Nu chapter’s sister Tabor Kalcevic was 1 of 6 recipients of the Senior Leadership Awards presented by the CSU Department of Agriculture and Resources Economics. Kappa chapter’s Michayla Davidson was awarded “Rep of the Year”, Chole Fowler was awarded the “Soares Award”, Sara Sparks was awarded for “University Contribution”, Hannah Neer was recognized for “Academic Excellence”, Madison Meredith was recognized for “Contribution to Community” at the Cal Poly College of Ag Food and Enviro Sciences (CAFES) Banquet and Laila Rollen was elected CAFES Council President, and Beth Noel was elected the CAFES Council Secretary.

Want to see your chapter highlighted in the next Emerald Tim Page 14

Chapter Highlights

Welcome Gamma Epsilon! Brianna Shanholtzer, past National Development Director visited Arkansas State University on April 28, 2019 to activate the Gamma Epsilon Chapter to induct eight new sisters.

mes? Email me your story at today! Page 15

Partner Highlights Advocacy in Agriculture: Powered by American Agri-Women In June, I had the opportunity to experience the 2019 AAW Legislative Fly-In for the first time. Sixty women and children met in Washington, D.C. to advocate for agriculture and listen to some of the biggest players in agriculture policy.

One of the highlights of the trip was our next stop at the Embassy of Israel. We had lunch and heard from Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator for USDA Agricultural Research Service and USDA Chief Scientist, which was inspiring, to say the least.

American Agri-Women has been hosting this event for more than twenty years. It is a great opportunity to connect with women from coast to coast, with each bringing passion for their states and where you can learn about what is trending in agriculture policy.

The afternoon was spent on Capitol Hill, meeting with congressional and senate offices from each member home states. I sat in on four California members meetings and we dropped packets off at other offices. We got our steps in walking all over the capitol complex and rode the subway under the capitol!

The Fly-In began Sunday with a monuments tour on the Potomac and an opportunity to meet attendees in a casual setting. Sunday afternoon, we had an orientation meeting to go over the schedule and instructions for the week. From Monday until we left on Wednesday, we hit the ground running and never slowed.

Monday, June 10th For the 26th annual Fly-In, the group focused on the “Federal Land Policies: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. We listened to a keynote speaker share on the current state of Federal Land Policies, which was followed by a panel discussion, led by three leaders in both the private and public sectors of government. Next, we headed to the USDA for lunch and an afternoon of speakers. The evening concluded with a reception to network with sponsors, industry leaders and to hear about the new project from American Agri-Women: “Cultivating Resiliency.”

Tuesday ended with a Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill with legislators and staff, followed by a networking dinner with AAW. Wednesday, June 12th The final day did not disappoint. We concluded the Fly-In with a visit to the White House in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. There, we heard from outstanding speakers including, Anne Hazlett, Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs, Office of National Drug Control Policy and Sigma Alpha Alumna, Molly Foley, Director, Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, USTR. It was great to hear from these influential women about the work they are doing on behalf of the President for rural America and trade. I made many new connections in the agriculture industry and had great takeaways from the week. I look forward to exploring how Sigma Alpha can participate in the future with this worthwhile activity. Author, Kelly Lawler

Tuesday, June 11th The morning started at the EPA for a roundtable discussion of Waters of the U.S., Water & Air Quality issues, the Endangered Species Act and Pesticides.

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To learn more about American Agri-Woman, visit

Do you know a sister who embodies the spirit of Ruth? Give her the recognition she deserves - Nominate her for the Spirit of Ruth Award! The Spirit of Ruth Award was created to recognize Sigma Alpha Alumnae who embody the spirit of Ruth through active involvement, leadership, and commitment to the field of agriculture. Recipients of this award demonstrate the ideals of Sigma Alpha by living the four pillars: Scholarship, Leadership, Fellowship, and Service in their personal and/or professional lives.

Application Information   

Applications Open Applications Close Number of Awards

Now accepting October 31, 2019 Four (one per Leadership Seminar)

Eligibility: Dues paid alumnae in Good Standing

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Sigma Alpha Launches an Automated Path to Lifetime Membership Beginning with the 2019-20 Fiscal Year all annual alumnae dues payments will be credited toward lifetime membership in Sigma Alpha for alumna. Alumna who make 10 consecutive annual alumna dues payments (beginning with the 2019-20 Fiscal Year) will be granted Lifetime Membership Status and will no longer need to pay annual dues. Dues payments must be made in each of 10 consecutive years in order for this status to be granted. For those alumna who would prefer to pay the $600 Lifetime Membership Fee all at once, this is still an option. Simply contact Sigma Alpha HQ to have an invoice posted to the Greenhouse. Annual National Alumnae Dues are due each year by October 31st. To pay national dues, login to the Greenhouse ( and navigate to the “Billing� tab. Enter a 1 in the Quantity Box, then complete your credit card information and submit. If you do not see Alumna dues as an option under the billing tab, please contact National Headquarters. For those people who are already on the old Lifetime Member Installment Plan, you will continue to pay your installments as previously outlined and will see an invoice on your billing tab. Please follow the instructions listed to pay your annual installments. Contact Sigma Alpha Headquarters at (262) 682-4690, for more information.

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