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Julia Cline, Beta Chi/Alberta, is the college district director (CDD) for College District X. She was a member of the risk prevention committee and operations advisor for Beta Chi.
Undergraduate officer roles: Chapter president (now chief executive officer), vice president education (now chief learning officer), and alumnae relations chairman (now alumnae relations director).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I knew about chapter advisors, because Beta Chi has always had a very strong and involved advisory board, but I learned about other volunteer opportunities when I was asked to join the risk prevention committee.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I had really fantastic chapter advisors as a collegian, whom I naturally looked up to as mentors and role models. It meant a lot to me that they would give their free time to support the chapter, and I believe in paying forward what they invested in me to the next generation of Thetas. For me, it was a very natural progression to go from a college chapter officer to an advisor. I knew that I wanted to have Theta in my life post-college, and volunteering is a great way to do that.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? 8 years!
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Cynthea Yestal has been my Theta mentor since I was a collegian. I had the opportunity to work with her when she was the ABC for Beta Chi during my tenure as president, as a member of the risk committee (which she currently chairs), and now in my role as CDD. She has consistently provided me with encouragement, guidance and friendship. I admire how she approaches even the most difficult of situations with a level head and sound advice.
I also draw a lot of mentoring inspiration from the amazing team of CDDs, who are full of sage advice. I have looked up to this group of women for years, admiring how much of themselves they give to this organization, and I am humbled to be among them.
Why do you stay involved with Theta?I believe in only doing things that bring you joy. Theta has given me so much joy in my life and constantly reaffirms the decision I made to join nearly 13 years ago. I truly love working with our collegians; they are so creative and do such amazing things! I love to see them succeed scholastically, philanthropically and as leaders on their campus and within Theta. I love how they embrace challenges and come up with unique solutions. They constantly inspire me!
Do you have a special volunteering moment? This summer I had the honor to serve as a small group facilitator for the Emerging Leaders Institute at DePauw University. I got a front-row view as this group of leading women dug deep to tackle some tough discussion topics and activities, and saw how quickly they connected with one another—the beauty of Theta! The energy of this weekend was like none other. I still smile when I think of all the memories and fun we had that weekend! While at DePauw, we also got to visit the Alpha Chapter facility and visit Bettie Locke's grave, which was a truly special experience!
Do you have a special Theta moment? Surprising my youngest sister, Lindsay, at her initiation. I was living out of town and had convinced her I was too busy with school to make it for her initiation, but secretly, I had been planning my trip since her Bid Day! With a lot of help and coordination from family and friends, I was able to share this special moment with her. Another very special moment was standing up for my best friend Jenn at her wedding. Jenn and I have been friends since high school, joined Theta together, and have shared so much more since then!
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am really passionate about women in science technology engineering and math (STEM) fields. I studied astrophysics and aerospace engineering in college, graduating with my PhD in engineering in 2015. Most of the time, I was one of only a handful of women in my classes, and I want to see this improve in future generations. This is one of the reasons Theta is so important in my life. Theta gave me the support and encouragement I needed from a group of empowered and forward-thinking women role models when I needed it the most. The skills I developed as a leader in Theta have carried over as vital skills to my professional career, so you'll also find that I am passionate about the sorority experience and developing leadership skills of our current collegians.
I also love visiting Theta chapters and campuses, whether it be for a Theta trip or just while I'm in town on personal or work travel. I set out on my "Theta chapter bucket list" a few years ago and recently visited my 30th Theta house! It warms my heart every time I see those three Greek letters!
Jenny Randall Nichols, Psi/Wisconsin, is college district director (CDD) in College District I. She has also served as an educational leadership consultant (ELC), development advisor for Psi/Wisconsin, and director of risk management (now risk prevention committee chairman).
Undergraduate officer positions held: Social chairman (now event director) and chapter president (now chief executive officer).
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? It's a funny story! I ran into former Grand Council member, Julie Gilpin, at Summerfest, a big music festival in Milwaukee. She told me about a new role the Fraternity was expanding: director of risk management. Julie was the CDD of my college district when I was chapter president.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I received great support as a college chapter from local- and district-level volunteers. My chapter faced some challenging times and they were always there to listen, guide and encourage me. They believed in me when I didn't and really helped us improve our chapter. I knew when leaving college that I wanted to give back what had been given to me.
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? 13 years.
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? There have been so many! Thetas have influenced every aspect of my life, personally and professionally. Two people stand out: Julie Gilpin and Regina Collins Simon. I've known these Thetas since I was a college chapter member and have valued their encouragement, wisdom and friendship for almost 20 years.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I stay involved so that I can give back to an organization that has given me so much: lifelong friends, confidence and leadership skills, and the opportunity to be a part of a group of strong, smart and committed women. I love working with college members; their energy and enthusiasm are contagious and I truly enjoy being able to support their goals and help them through their struggles. I also keep volunteering for some personal benefits: I get to travel around the country and see my fellow volunteers who have become great friends.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? A really special volunteer moment for me was getting to see my college chapter win the Soaring Kite Award at Grand Convention 2014. Another special moment was attending the centennial celebration of Alpha Tau/Cincinnati in 2013. I was their CDD at the time and met many of the chapter members and alumnae who worked so hard to put on a beautiful weekend. I had also visited the chapter as an ELC and reconnected with a couple of the advisors and the chapter president I had worked with that year.
Do you have a special Theta moment? Attending Grand Convention as a CDD is very special and a great honor for me. I am always very humbled to be a part of the business, social and ritual aspects of Convention among so many incredible women.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I'm very passionate about improving the lives of children, especially in Milwaukee where I live. I get to focus on this passion through my work in health education for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!