Madelyn Smith 415x260

Apply for Theta Foundation Scholarships: Maddie’s Story

Category: Foundation

Maddie Smith

Beta Epsilon, Oregon State

When I started my college experience at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), I left my friends and family in Washington state. I knew I needed to build a new support system from scratch but didn’t know how. After conversations with my mom, who had an amazing experience as a Theta, I put aside my judgement about Greek stereotypes and participated in formal recruitment with my roommate. It didn’t take long for me to find my new home away from home.

When I transferred from Cal Poly to Oregon State University (OSU), the hardest part was leaving Zeta Theta Chapter. However, some of the chapter members were from Oregon and knew Thetas at OSU, so texts quickly began pouring in to welcome me to Beta Epsilon Chapter. As I had hoped, these girls eased my transition anxieties and became my new support system.

Within a few weeks of moving to Oregon, I met most of my new member class and the chief executive officer (CEO). I eagerly expressed my interest to get involved and contribute to the chapter in leadership positions. Over the past years, I had the opportunity to serve as scholarship director, chief financial officer (CFO), and service director.

In these positions, I have been able to develop my leadership skills. I have drawn on these experiences in interviews and internships to further my professional development. My involvement in these officer roles also enabled me to grow close to the Beta Epsilon community. I am extremely grateful for my Theta family and other chapter members who have become some of my best friends at OSU.

Because I was not an Oregon resident for the first two years of college, the financial burden of my undergraduate education has been significant. I felt overwhelmed during my first few years of college. I spent all my time investing in my classes and leadership development, but I didn’t receive many scholarships initially. I applied to every scholarship for which I was eligible, but rarely received a response, let alone an award. I was disheartened but stayed motivated to continue applying.

When Clare Boenisch, a senior at OSU at the time, told me about Theta Foundation scholarships, I felt simultaneously intimidated and hopeful. It felt unlikely, but I decided even a small possibility was worth an application. In May, I discovered that I was awarded a scholarship that would fund a third of my tuition and my jaw dropped. One year later, I applied again. Months later, I learned that I was awarded the Bettie Locke Hamilton Founders Memorial Scholarship. To say I was shocked, inspired, and humbled is an understatement.

I am extremely grateful for Theta Foundation’s investment in my future. These scholarships provided me with immeasurable relief and inspiration. They affirmed the intense work ethic that I applied to my academics, professional development, and leadership positions. In particular, the Founders Memorial Scholarship empowered me to create more ambitious goals as a service-oriented leader. This honor inspired me to cast aside self-imposed limits for how I should contribute to society. For the first time, I seriously considered myself a distinguished leader and trailblazer on my campus and in my community.

Theta Foundation’s scholarship application opens on Wed., Jan. 5. Please consider applying! Join the Theta Foundation Scholarship Application Tips & Support group in ThetaConnect to receive ongoing communication about the scholarship application process and to get answers to your questions.