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Mary Bocek Comstock, Alpha Sigma/Washington State, is ritual, education and scholarship advisor for Alpha Sigma/Washington State. She previously served at administrative advisor for the chapter. From 2015-17, she volunteered for Theta Foundation's Seattle Scholarship Application Review Committee. Between 2012-2013, she was a member of the Alpha Sigma Centennial Planning Committee, during which she started the Alpha Sigma Alumnae Mentors Program.
Undergraduate officer positions held: House manager (now facility management director) and president (now CEO).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I'd always known there were volunteer opportunities, of course, but I'll admit I didn't put myself out there as life seemed just too busy. Each of the specific opportunities happened because someone I knew asked me! It's the power of being asked, I suppose.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? Theta has always been very special to me. Of course Theta gave me lifelong friends and sisters, but there is more. It is not an exaggeration to note that Theta took a shy, awkward 18-year-old and gave me the confidence and tools to become a leader. I want to be a small part of empowering young leading women to grow into their best selves and watch them pay it forward. We lead, and we develop leaders.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? I have been influenced by so many Thetas, it is hard to choose just one, so I'll reach back to the very first. If she's reading this, my guess is she will be surprised. The day I pledged was super-busy, exciting and a little scary. I thought, "How will I get to know all of these women? They're never going to like me after they really get to know me." I had an English placement exam the next day and needed my student ID to take it. I realized I'd left my ID at the chapter house when I left Bid Day to go back to my dorm. I couldn't go back to the house alone! Who could I even call? My first academic challenge and...failure. I decided I wouldn't take the test and would not save the money to place out of 101. An hour later, I received a phone call from my Bid Day Buddy, Cindy Robinson Stevens, a woman I barely knew. She told me she had my purse and asked if she could drop it by my dorm; she remembered I had a test. She cared about my success and she was my sister. It was one of those moments that was both profound and taught me that Thetas take care of each other. Ever since, I hope that in big ways and small, I too, have been taking care of Theta and Thetas.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? The Alpha Sigma Centennial in 2013 was beyond special. Serving on the committee, meeting the alumnae and college women, and working with the ritualist, Renee Hausske, really stands out.
Do you have a special Theta moment? I love our ritual. Two special initiations stand out, without a doubt. In 2008, I was present for my daughter Sarah Comstock's initiation. I was so happy for her and I knew this was the beginning of a lifelong adventure for her. In 2009, I was present when our then chapter president (now CEO) Hillary Hadland and many other former chapter presidents initiated our decades-long and retired house mom (facility director), Judy (Julia) Smith, into Kappa Alpha Theta.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a Librarian Services Manager for the King County Library System. My personal and professional passion is for reading and information in all its iterations. In a public library setting this could include a patron's next great read, a student's concern about the validity of a source, where a family will find shelter for the night and everything in between. It's great to be able to serve in a place where libraries are so well supported!
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!