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Lynne McCaul Miller, Mu/Allegheny, served as the Fraternity's wellness committee chairman from 2012-2015. She has also held positions as program specialist on the education committee (2011-2012) and as an administrative district director (2008-2011).
Undergraduate officer positions held: I was the social events chairman and also vice president of recruitment programming for our Panhellenic Council.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? While attending a national conference for a professional organization I belonged to, I networked with other Thetas and discovered the many opportunities for Theta volunteerism. At the time, I was living in an area where there was no local college chapter for me to serve. Given my background in working on a college campus as a fraternity & sorority life advisor, the opportunity to serve on a district level was very appealing to me. Several months later, Amy Kates (then vice president college), contacted me to talk to me about the administrative district director position.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? As an undergraduate student, my involvement with Theta had a huge impact on my leadership and personal development. I had both successes and failures as a leader in the chapter, and grew so much from both. My chapter was my support system through everything I did. I see volunteering for Theta as a way to give back to an organization that has become such a huge part of who I am. I hope that I can play at least a small part in impacting the Theta experience for our current undergraduates so that they can feel the same support and love from the Fraternity as I did (and still do!).
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Ellen Kauffmann Nolan, Zeta Sigma/Ohio Northern, was my campus Greek advisor when I was an undergraduate student. Watching Ellen interact with students and the impact she had on our campus inspired me to consider the field of higher education and student affairs. Ellen also was so encouraging of me in my role on Panhellenic Council and helped me to realize the bigger picture of Greek life and our values.
In more recent years, Mandy Burgett Wushinske, Zeta Sigma/Ohio Northern, has played a huge role in my development as a Theta volunteer. She was a great partner and leader on our district team and saw the potential in me to advance wellness education for the Fraternity, which has been an overwhelmingly rewarding experience.
I would be remiss if I did not also give a shout-out to Jaime Hall Wilson (my big sister), Paige Bendel Ellerman, Gamma Iota/Kentucky, and Amy Hayner Kates, Alpha Phi/Tulane—all women who have inspired me with their strength and vision.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? Theta has become such a huge part of who I am. My love for Theta has only deepened over the years as I have had the opportunity to meet an abundance of such loving, intelligent, and strong leading women. Having been fortunate enough to attend Grand Convention several times, the pride I feel of seeing so many women come together for a common reason—an organization created to support women to their highest aspirations—it can be very intense. Knowing that I have been able to play a role in advancing this organization is a very humbling feeling. Ultimately, I guess it also boils down to living the promise I made so many years ago on my initiation night.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? When I was selected as the Fraternity's wellness committee chairman. Without a doubt, it was such an honor to be trusted with such an important endeavor as Sisters Supporting Sisters. Watching this program grow over the years has been one of the biggest highlights of my Theta experience.
Do you have a special Theta moment? Too many to count! Other than my very special moments with initiation and my Theta family, I would say that the most special to me is participating in the Procession Line-up before the Convention Banquet at Grand Convention. I am fortunate to have initiated into one of the older chapters, so being able to walk through the procession from almost the beginning and seeing the growth of the Fraternity over the years creates such an indescribable moment of pride. It never fails to make me teary-eyed.
Do you have a profession or personal passion? I currently work at the University of Pittsburgh as the coordinator for commuter and transfer student programs. Working in student affairs has allowed me the opportunity to help today's student find their niche on their campus—just as I did with Theta. Outside of work, my husband, Jason and I have two daughters, Cadence (7) and Jacelyn (3). I love to read, travel, go to the movies and spend lots of time with my family!
After graduation, Laurie served Theta as a traveling consultant (now ELC) where she visited 20 campuses in 13 states. Laurie's Theta volunteer positions throughout the years are too numerous to mention but have included multiple advisory board roles at Gamma deuteron and Alpha Gamma/Ohio State. As a member of the Columbus, OH Alumnae Chapter, she has held positions of vice president programs, vice president Fraternity education, treasurer, interim president, and Founders Day chairman and emcee. She has attended an astounding 17 Grand Conventions, beginning when she was president of Gamma deuteron in 1976.
Laurie has held several national offices including alumnae district officer (Ohio North) and director of public relations, and Theta Foundation trustee. She worked on the Fraternity headquarters' building campaign as a division leader. Not only is Laurie a charter Life Loyal member, but she is a loyal Theta Foundation donor and a member of both annual and lifetime giving societies.
Currently serving as the Fraternity's director of government relations, Laurie is also Gamma deuteron's permanent alumnae secretary and a member of Theta Foundation's Give to Lead, Give to Learn Campaign steering committee.
Laurie has also found time for other volunteering including the Junior League of Columbus, Ohio Wesleyan Annual Fund Council and Heritage Day committee, extension committees for Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council at Ohio Wesleyan, and Experience Columbus as a certified tourism ambassador.
Volunteering is important to Laurie. "Others who have gone before us have been generous with their time, talents and treasures. It's in my DNA to try and help others in good times and bad. We all need support at some time in our lives."
When asked what made her interested in becoming a Theta, Laurie responded, "Some older gals from my hometown had gone to Ohio Wesleyan and became Thetas. The Thetas believed in me, supported me, and let me try my wings in so many situations. Whenever I meet Thetas today, I always meet someone I want to be like. There's so much to be learned from everyone I meet. I think of advisors from my college days who I still am close to: my finance advisor, my advisory board chairman, and even my college district president. In turn, I have maintained relationships with those I have advised and watched 'grow up.' It has meant the world to me to have Thetas surround me with love in the happiest and darkest times in my life."
Jennah's Theta story began when Kappa Alpha Theta was chartered on her campus in 2001 during her junior year. Already involved in other campus activities, she was hearing amazing things about this group of Theta women. Thinking that all the buzz must mean something good, she started to look into what Theta was about, and as soon as she did, like so many of us, she was hooked. She discovered that Theta was a group of diverse women focused on leadership, scholarship, and service. This immediately appealed to Jennah, and she quickly became involved on the member development committee and as marshal (now ritualist).
After graduation, she continued her involvement with Theta. In North Carolina, she joined the NC Triangle Alumnae Chapter. She also continued her volunteer commitment as the Chi/Syracuse advisory board chairman from 2004-2006, and on the Beta Rho/Duke advisory board (education, development, and public relations advisor) from 2006-2012. Having now moved to California, Jennah is looking forward to becoming involved with the Orange County Alumnae Chapter as well as her continuing work with the young alumnae board.
A higher education administrator, she is currently the director of student life at UC Irvine School of Law. A certified StrengthsQuest facilitator, Jennah knows the importance of helping others realize and utilize their strengths. She is passionate about leadership, and loves giving presentations and workshops on these subjects. She enjoys helping other people find their passions.
When asked why volunteering is important to her, Jennah responded, "I have been blessed with a supportive family and group of friends, as well as wonderful opportunities in life. It is important that I find ways to give back to others. I believe that you should love what you do, which is why I am in higher education as a profession, but also find ways to give back through education and leadership. Volunteering specifically for Kappa Alpha Theta is important to me because of what this sisterhood has done for me. The women of Theta made me a more confident young woman because they saw beyond what is on the outside. Things happen for a reason, and being involved with Theta is a part of who I am... I was meant to be a Theta."
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!