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1 | WMAA Summer 2013

West Michigan Alumnae Association Est. January 12, 2013

“The West Michigan Alumnae Association strives to be positive role models to the community and young women of all interests. The West Michigan Alumnae Association provides an enjoyable and supportive environment for alumnae in all stages of life; including career, family, and continuous education. The West Michigan Alumnae Association will be a support to our undergraduate chapters within the region, and serve as an extension of our sisterhood at large.�

WMAA Hosts Graduation Ceremony! By Sister Elizabeth Arangure On April 21 the West Michigan Alumnae Association was proud to have hosted the first graduation ceremony in the Central Region! WMAA invited sisters and a guests from all entities is Michigan to participate in the ceremony of which we had seven sisters participate. Sister Beca Velasquez was gracious enough to have opened up her home and host the festivities. The dining room was set up with a table beautifully draped in a majestic purple table cloth, candles and roses. The ceremony opened up to the living room where our guests took their seats. Behind the table stood five sisters of the Alumnae Association and congratulated sisters for the achievements and welcomed them to Alumna status. After the ceremony, all attendees joined together for brunch. It was such a rewarding feeling to have a room full of sisters and friends who all work towards a common goal for success in higher education. The newly graduated sisters spoke of their hopes and plans after college, as the alumnae shared their careers, resources and how they can help the new alumnae sisters if they ever need it. As one of our five founding principles, it brings us great joy to recognize the sisters for their academic achievement. Again, we congratulate our sisters on their success and look forward to hosting many more graduation ceremonies in the future.

Left to right: Maribel Villa, Adriana Berent, Jakia Fuller, Candy Valenzuela, Derrika Caldwell. Not pictured: Anahi Gomez & Michelle Hosty

2 | WMAA Summer 2013 Ladies,

Letter from the President

First of all I want to sincerely congratulate you on this outstanding accomplishment of achieving your diploma and academic success! GRADUATION 2013!! It is finally here. No doubt you have worked yourself through endless nights at the library, countless drafts and database searches to reinforce your thesis or research topics. Your parents and siblings have heard some of your stories and share memories about time away in college, and in many cases like my own, you may have been the first to pave the path for future collegiate graduates from your family to follow in your steps. Whether you realize it or not, you have become a role model and can stand tall and proud of the example you have set, and the woman of distinction you have become.

There is a lot to be said about women like us in academia. We are resilient, determined and enlightened by knowledge and learning. Discovering what your passion in life can be, while making connections with faculty and administration on campus can lead to some life changing moments of truth. What has always left me in awe during those influential and transformative years is how we can make these intense, meaningful connections with other women who are there for us as struggling students and who often mentor and coach us long after we leave the classroom. After a while, you will soon find yourself in a position of relative success, with a younger version of your bright-eyed self looking for direction and advice, and it will be your turn to give back. It is in these relationships we build with those leaders we meet along the way that we are challenged to define ourselves and our lives as professionals, wives, mothers, sisters, and community members. We have to take time to really remember all that it has taken for us to get here, and while this journey focuses on your beautiful, smiling face during this special time of your life, also remember that you are not alone. So many people have been working hard all of your life for this moment…. Take time to say thanks for everything and embrace what this day holds for all who are celebrating for you. Congratulations! We are so very proud of you, and can’t wait to see what comes next! Hermanas Por Vida, Kim “Salvacion” Waslawski

With our family, friends, community and sisters the West Michigan Alumnae Association (WMAA) is hosting a Panther Dash group in Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday June 16 at 10:30am. If you would like to join us please register at: and contact us at Not in West Michigan, not a problem. If you are in the MetroDetroit area please join our sisters of the Michigan Alumnae Association in Detroit, MI at the River Walk on Saturday June 15 at 10 a.m. For more information, please contact our sisters of the MAA directly at for additional information.

WMAA - Grand Rapids, MI - Sunday, June 16th 10:30am The goal of the Panther Dash is to promote the work of MAA - Detroit, MI - Saturday, June 15th 10am The Sigma Lambda Gamma Education Foundation (SLGEF) mobilizes the giving power of our donors to support scholastic achievement, provide, and continue the commitment to life-long learning and service to the global community. On the weekend of June 14th, the SLG Education Foundation encouraged Sisters across the nation to mobilize their bodies and participate in the first Panther Dash for Education Virtual 5K and the sisters of the Central Region answered the call!

the SLGEF by supporting young women in their pursuit of higher education while increasing health and wellness within our sisterhood, families, and communities. We hope you take this opportunity to join us in the first Panther Dash for Education Virtual 5K. To register, donate, or for more information about the Panther Dash for Education 5K, please visit programs/pantherdash

By Sister Beca Velazquez

Sisters Zenaida Jimenez & Itzel Gomez

3 | WMAA Summer 2013

A Majestic GALA By Sister Candy Valenzula

The Phi Chapter Majestic GALA was designed to recognize the achievements that Phi chapter accomplished during the 2012-2013 school year. The first Majestic Gala took place during the spring semester of 2010. Due to lack of funding, the Gala did not take place during the spring semester of 2011 and 2012. The Gala is held during Phi Chapter’s founding week. This week includes a variety of events focused on the sorority’s five founding principles. During the spring semester of 2013, the Majestic Gala took place on April 6, which happened to be Phi Chapters 16 year anniversary. There was a total of about 50 guests at the Gala in 2013. The invitees were close family and friends of the undergraduate members, Phi chapter alumna, Western Michigan University active greek organizations, and WMU faculty who helped to make a difference in the existance of Phi chapter. Though the Gala is designed to recognize the chapter’s achievements, there were five awards given to five different registered student organizations as well as a scholarship to a TRiO program participant. The five awards given were designed to recognize a registered student organization who closely met the standards of the sorority’s five founding principles. The TRiO program participant was chosen on an academic and needs basis. Besides recognizing the achievements of the chapter, the Gala recognized sisters and alumni from the chapter who have gone above and beyond to show their passion for the organization as well as the chapter.

The undergraduate member awards included; academic achievement, most dedicated, most representative, sisterhood, citizenship, and neo phire. each individual was chosen through a private chapter vote. The alumna awards were most involved and most dedicated. The most involved award was given to a recent graduate from Phi chapter who, even after graduating, was there for the chapter in times of need. This alumna attended chapter meetings and offered her opinion and wisdom when she felt it was needed. The chapter felt comfortable coming to her for help. The alumna chosen for this award was Sister Itzel Gomez. The most dedicated award was given to an alumna from Phi chapter, who, throughout the years has remained in close contact with all of the undergraduate members of the chapter, including getting to know the neophytes of the chapter. This alumna has remained within arm’s reach of the chapter. She was readily available to offer her wisdom as well as her support. This award was given to Sister Zenaida Jimenez. Due to funding, the Majestic Gala of 2013 did not reach its full potential. For future Galas, Phi chapter hopes to see a larger contribution from their alumna as well as a bigger event including a bigger number of guest.

F Chapter

Left to right: Josephine Graham, Maribel Villa, Leslie Orduña, Candy Valenzuela, Scarlet Davis, Brenda Ortega, Derricka Caldwell, Kennetha Moody

4 | WMAA Summer 2013

My Health Journey By Sister Matea Caluk

In high school I was a year round athelete - volleyball practice every day, constant excersise, regardless of eating habits. In my undergraduate years I participated in intramural sports here and there, but never really made time for the gym or watched what I ate. Towards the end of my undergraduate time I started notecing some additional weight that I didn’t have before. It wasn’t “that bad” to me, so I didn’t do anything about it. However as years went on, it didn’t get any better. During graduate school I also worked full time, which left no time for personal wellness and exercise. As women, we tend to take on a lot and often our self-care is the first thing to be kicked to the curb. I went to a doctor’s appointment and was told that my cholestoral levels were not normal. This is when I knew I had to do something about my health. Even though I had only gained 20 pounds since high school, the difference could definitely be noticed physically and health-wise. I wasn’t sure where to start...starting is always the toughest. I began by searching the Internet for different programs and stumbbled upon the Lose It! application on my iPhone. This app was definitely a great tool for me and kept me on track for months. You must track your calorie intake as well as exersice daily in the app. Yes, this may seem daunting, but after the first week I was so used to using the app and was actually looking forward to logging my food. I went to the gym daily, I mostly did cardio as I did not know how to use many of the other machines. I did at least two hours per day for three to four days per week. The app also taught me how to eat. This may sound strange, but as you enter your food intake for the day, it will list the


Buy new workout clothes

Who doesn’t like to shop? New work out clothes will make you feel good about yourself. You’ll want to go to the gym and show them off! Choose bright colors to brighten up your mood as well!

2 Get a gym buddy


amount of calories each food has. I was surprised to learn that most calories came from salad dressings, cooking oil, items I would not think were potent in calories....and of course junk food. The app is one way to do it, but you MUST stick to it and not give up. After the inital weight loss journey - losing 17 pounds in about nine months, I went further with my wellness plan by meeting with a personal trainer to speak about resistance training. I learned that the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. So even though I had lost the weight, now to keep it off I had to build some muscle. Establising a gym routine was key to this. Also, I found a gym buddy who was familiar with the weight and machines. Her and I motivated and kept eachother accountable throughout our health journeys. Remember, this is just my experience. We all have different body types & habits. Choose a plan that best works for you!

My Health Tips for You!

4 Cook your own food

Use your resources

If you don’t have a gym membership or don’t have time to go, utilize YouTube for some “at home” excersises. It’s very important to establish a routine, regardless of where you are buring the calories.

By cooking your own food you will know exactly what you are consuming. Buy fish, chicken breast, avocados, lots of fruits and veggies. Be careful about juices as they may contain lots of sugar.

You will need motivation as you get started with your health journey. My advice is to choose someone who may be just a tad bit advanced than you. You want someone who is willing to put in the time, but also has some basic knowledge about fittness and excersise.


Ditch the yoga pants

Yes they are comfy, but don’t get stuck in these everyday. If you wear jeans more often than yoga pants, you are more likely to notice any weight gain. With yoga pants, you will notice it less likely because of the stretchiness in the pants.

5 | WMAA Summer 2013

Dream or Nightmare? By Sister Itzel Gomez

Some children grow up not knowing they were brought to this country illegally, but others like me knew since the moment I set a foot on this side of the border. At that age I did not understand completely what it meant, but as time went by I began to notice the ramifications of not having a Social Security Card, Visa, Legal Residency or Citizenship.

The four years of college were the best of my life. With my mom’s help and different scholarships and grants I was able to pay it off. Yet, I still wonder what a Bachelors Degree would do for me if I was not going to be able to legally work as a teacher. During my Internship, at a certain point interns earned enough hours to get paid for substitute teaching. However, I was not able to.

Many claim racism is no longer present in the United States, I disagree. As soon as I learned English, I was quickly introduced to adult problems when I had to translate for my mother. The worst experiences were her being intimidated to do as her employers wanted her to do, if she did not want them calling Immigration and Customs Enforcements. Now that I’ve obtained an education there is so much I wish I would have been able to tell them; starting with the fact that they too were committing a crime by knowingly hiring someone who was undocumented.

Two months after my graduation, President Obama introduced the Deferred Action for undocumented students who had been in the USA for the past five years and met other detailed requirements. This was not the Dream Act, but it was a light of hope for thousands of other students in my situation.

On November 22nd 2012, I finally received a work permit for two years. However, I was not able to renew my License until February 19th 2013 due to controversy that occurred in various states, of whether or not After moving around and numerous schools, my the Deferred Action recipients were legal residents. mom finally found a stable job. I was able to steadily attend the same high school. At this point is where I As soon as I had my SSN I began applying for began to develop feelings of impotence. During my jobs. Now that I am working at a diverse school, freshman year, the marching band took a trip to NY, where a great majority of students are Hispanic, I was really excited to go, yet the problem was the I see how the USA’s broken Immigration System trip also included a stop in Niagara Falls, meaning affects them too. Many of them live apart from their I would have to exit the country. Luckily, my band family because the family has been deported. Some director arranged different transportation for me. are able to deal with it, but others as teenagers are During this time Michigan still gave undocumented filled with anger and lose track of their potential. immigrants Driver Licenses, so I was able to participate in drivers training like most of my friends. My story is just one of many. Families moved to the U.S. looking for a better lifestyle. The vast majority I always knew I wanted to go to college and further my work hard every day to earn an honest living and education, but to my knowledge I would not have this help their families back in their country. My family opportunity not only because I did not have a SSN, but had no intention of staying here for a long period of because there was no way my mom would be able to time, but after my mom saw my brother and I would afford international tuition. During my senior year I have better opportunities here she decided to sacrifice had decided I was going to move to Mexico to fulfill my not seeing our family for over 10 years just to give us dreams. Fortunately, before the end of my senior year the American Dream. Immigrants have adapted and I learned about Western Michigan University. I was enriched American culture. We live here the majority admitted and given a Scholarship that would cover the of our lives and are ready to give back to this country. difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition. I My hope is that an Immigration Reform is approved was thrilled to go off to college like the rest of my friends. this year and that the thousands of undocumented immigrants are able to come out of the shadows.

6 | WMAA Summer 2013

5 Quick Tips for Success


Sisterhood Retreat June 13-15

By Sister Thalia Guerra

WMAA Panther Dash June 16 10:30am

Fathers Day - June 16

July USA Independence Day July 4 International Day of Friendship July 30 BWW Fundraiser TBA


Calendar of Events

MAA Panther Dash June 15 10am

WMAA Summer Retreat August 2-3 Summer Get Down WMAA & MAA BBQ August 10


President - Kim Waslawski VP of Finance- Sara Villegas VP of Community Service- Maria Perez VP of Programming- Genevieve Padro VP of Outreach- Itzel Gomez VP of Recruitment- Liz Martinez VP of Operations- Thalia Guerra

Contact Information: Twitter: SLG_WMAA Facebook: SLG West Michigan Alumnae Assoc E-Mail:


CREATE and MANAGE a RESUME and Cover Letter- it is always important to have a well-rounded resume and cover letter when applying for a job or an internship. A lot of universities have a writing center or career services department that can help you obtain the perfect resume and cover letter. If that is not an option for you, ask someone in the profession in which you are pursing, to proofread your work. Please know that there are several ways to format your resume and yours should be formatted according to your field.

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PRACTICE your INTERVEW SKILLS- you can never have enough practice when it comes to your interviewing skills. Ask a friend, professor, or advisor to ask you some mock interview questions.


NETWORKING- no matter where you are there may be a person in the room that can connect you to a job opening, an internship, or someone who knows someone. Networking can never hurt! DRESS for SUCCESS- it takes 10 seconds for a person to make their first impression of you. Make sure that your appearance does not hold you back from landing the job or the internship. It is always better to be over dressed then underdressed. If you are not sure what the company would like you to wear call their Human Resource department. 30-SECOND COMMERCIAL- ever been asked the question, ‘Tell us about yourself?’ and have not known what to say? Create a 30-second commercial about yourself. You 30-second commercial should include your full name, education, some of your interests. Make sure you interests correlate with the job description.

Lemon Pepper Chicken & Rice Recipe 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips 1. tbs. of butter spread 1 pckg. of Knorr Rice Sides, chicken flavor broccoli 2 cups of water 1 to 2 tbs. of lemon juice 1. Season chicken, if desired, with salt and black pepper. Melt spread in 12 in. non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken, stirring occasionally until chicken is thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes). Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. 2. Stir Knorr Rice Sides and water into the same skillet. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally (7 minutes) until rice is tender. Stir in chicken and lemon juice, heat through. Serve and Enjoy! For more information about the WMAA newsletter contact: Matea Caluk -

WMAA Summer 2013 Newsletter  

West Michigan Alumnae Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc Newsletter