Donor Features

Without the generous support of Sisters and friends, the Foundation would not be able to accomplish its mission to fund initiatives that impact the lives of members of Alpha Sigma Tau. That’s why we are excited to highlight some of our loyal supporters through regular features.

Thank you to the individuals featured below, and thank you to everyone who generously supports the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation.

Want to share your donor story? Email foundation@alphasigmatau.org and you may be featured next!

 

Sarah Hinshaw, Delta Nu - Featured July 2018

Meet Sarah Hinshaw, Delta Nu. Sarah made her first donation to the Foundation in 2004 and has been a loyal supporter since. In addition to being a member of the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle, Sarah is recognized through the Sybil & Jerry King Society for Cumulative Giving and was a leading supporter in the Emerald Circle for Annual Giving in 2017. Additionally, Sarah volunteers her time to the Sorority as Delta Nu’s Assistant Chapter Advisor and has previously served both the National Organization and the Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter in a variety of roles.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory:  The most distinct memory I have is playing team Trivial Pursuit as a chapter during my senior year at Beloit. The camaraderie, intelligence, intensity, and joy of that game are a great example of the comprehensive experience I have had as a member. Joining Alpha Sigma Tau helped me find my home away from home and facilitated my becoming more brave, bold, and empowered. The women I was initiated with and then later recruited into the chapter are always close to my heart. They are why I have great memories of my collegiate years, and they remain inspirational to me now.

Fun Fact: I have a goal notebook that includes weekly, monthly, yearly, and life goals. These goals are personal, professional, silly, and serious. I love checking a goal off my list and continually being a work in progress. A few of my goals include visiting all 50 states (plus protectorates!), the 13 Canadian provinces/territories, and getting to more countries. I am currently working toward 30. The largest goal on my list is to live and work on every continent. Right now I have checked off three (North America, Europe, and Africa). Antarctica is the toughest one to get on the list, so one day soon I hope to be living at McMurdo Base in Antarctica. I may have to work as a custodian to do it, but that will be more than worth it to check a goal off my list! A few of my other goals include building my crazy Lego collection, giving blood at least five times a year, and so many more.

I Give Because: I support the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation for quite a few reasons. First, the mission of funding initiatives that impact the lives of members of our organization is paramount to the overall strength and impact of Alpha Sigma Tau. Whether through educational programming or scholarships that help make school more affordable, these initiatives enrich the lives of Sisters currently and well into the future, and that is powerful.

Growing up in what used to be a small Indiana farming community, I saw the difference education could make in a woman’s life and in turn the ripple effect it has in the life of her family. The strong education my mother had helped keep my childhood stable through hardships and divorce. Now that I work in the international education realm, I see how this is true around the globe. Educated women tend to live longer, healthier lives, build stronger families and communities, and create more income equity. Education and literacy are not cure-alls for all the problems in the world, but they are key attributes to improving lives.

Second, Alpha Sigma Tau has given me so much over the years that I want to make that experience available to as many women as possible. By giving to the Foundation I know I am helping fortify this Sisterhood for future members.

Third, I support the Foundation because charitable giving (of time and money) helps me feel grounded and content. Research has shown that charitable giving increases happiness, stimulates the brain, and even correlates with improved income earning. I have found this to be true – the more I give the better my life experience has been.

Lastly, I support the Foundation because each year as I meet members of Alpha Sigma Tau, in my collegiate chapter of Delta Nu, my alumnae chapter of Northern Virginia, or through national events, I am so proud of who we are. Alpha Sigma Tau is an organization that encourages growth in so many aspects of life and so many members embody that spirit to flourish as amazing individuals.

Briana Simko, Beta Delta - Featured June 2018

Meet Briana Simko, Beta Delta (Duquesne University). Briana was inspired at the 41st National Convention in 2016 to begin a monthly donation to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation and has been a loyal supporter ever since. Briana makes her monthly contribution as a member of the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle and has also served as an ambassador for our annual Founders Day of Giving celebration. Additionally, Briana volunteers her time to the Sorority as Beta Delta’s Chapter Advisor and as President of the Pittsburgh Alumnae Association.

Initiation Year: 2008

Date of First Gift to Foundation: June 23, 2016

Occupation: I’m currently working in Insurance Services for UPMC.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory:  It’s impossible to pick just one Alpha Sigma Tau memory, but I would say the friendships I found are incredible. I have met some of my closest friends and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Fun Fact: I lived in New York for a few years and managed to watch them film a scene for Gossip Girl!

I Give Because: I give because Alpha Sigma Tau has started so many great initiatives that need support. Illuminate is such an incredible program and when I heard that donations through the Foundation make that and scholarships possible, I knew I had to give back so that women could continue to get the most from the National Organization.

Melinda Henry Oates, Gamma Gamma, and Christina Alexandria Oates, Gamma Gamma - Featured Mother's Day 2018

In celebration of Mother’s Day 2018, we’re sharing the story of one of our favorite mother-daughter donor duos: Melinda Henry Oates, Gamma Gamma, and her daughter, Christina Alexandria Oates, Gamma Gamma.

Melinda, who was initiated into the Gamma Gamma Chapter at the University of West Alabama in 1991, has served in a variety of roles for Alpha Sigma Tau’s national organization as an alumna.

Melinda regularly brought Christina along when fulfilling her duties for Alpha Sigma Tau, including her role as office manager for the Foundation when the organization was located in Birmingham, Alabama.

“She [Christina] grew up at Alpha Sigma Tau’s office when it was in Birmingham, AL, and watched some amazing women give everything they had to this Sisterhood.”

-Melinda Henry Oates, Gamma Gamma

Despite her close ties to a national organization, Christina was always adamant that Sorority life wasn’t for her and decided to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which does not currently have an active chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau.

However, shortly after, her mind began to change.

“Some major things happened in my family, and the people that were there for us were the amazing Sisters my mom had through Alpha Sigma Tau. Those Sisters were women I had considered aunts for so long because they were that close with my mother. It was then that the true meaning of Sisterhood hit home for me, and I began to work on a plan.”

Christina Alexandria Oates, Gamma Gamma

In 2016, Christina contacted Alpha Sigma Tau with a request: She wanted to surprise her mother by becoming an initiated member of Alpha Sigma Tau.

With a bit of coordination and a few fibs, the plan came to fruition on June 25, 2016, during the 41st National Convention. When the doors opened to reveal the surprise initiate, tears streamed down Melinda‘s face.

“Alexandria [Christina] surprising me and becoming an initiated member of Alpha Sigma Tau was one of the most memorable moments in my life. Not only is she my daughter, but she is my Sister in Alpha Sigma Tau and that means so much to me.”

-Melinda Henry Oates, Gamma Gamma

Immediately after her initiation, Christina honored the vows she had just taken by setting up an automatic monthly donation to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation.

“She signed up to give $20 a month and she was a full-time college student with a part-time job. I asked her why and she said: “Mom, I just took a vow that said I would give back.”  I am very proud of her and know she truly enjoys supporting something that means so much to her.”

Melinda Henry Oates, Gamma Gamma

Melinda has been a loyal supporter of the Foundation since its start and helped establish the Gamma Gamma Chapter-Melinda Henry Oates Scholarship Fund. She generously contributes to the Foundation on a monthly basis through the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle and is also currently recognized through the Elliott Family Society for Cumulative Giving.

For Melinda, giving back is just what you do. “I guess for me it is easy to believe in Alpha Sigma Tau, so it has been easy to give to the Foundation. I want future young women to experience the joy and happiness that I have received and continue to receive every day as a result of this extraordinary Sisterhood.”

“To me, $20 a month would never amount to all that Alpha Sigma Tau has given me. The Sorority is a blessing in my life, and if my giving means that a scholarship is awarded to a woman who can receive these blessings as well, then my reward is greater than the donation.”

-Christina Alexandria Oates, Gamma Gamma

Debi McCain Pyszka, Alpha Nu - Featured May 2018

Pictured left with Bobbie M. Nichols, Alpha Gamma

Meet Debi McCain Pyszka, Alpha Nu (Central Missouri State University). Debi has served in several national volunteer roles as an alumnae member of Alpha Sigma Tau and was one of the first supporters of the Foundation. Debi contributes on a recurring basis through the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle and is also recognized through the Elizabeth Wilson Society for Cumulative Giving.

Initiation Year: 1969

Date of First Gift to Foundation: June 21, 1986

Occupation: I am a retired teacher. I taught 26 years in Missouri and twelve years in Illinois, all middle school English.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: When you’ve been a member as long as I have, it is hard to narrow it down, but a few of my favorites include new member ceremonies (I love welcoming our newest Sisters!), getting snowed in and missing the first day of class after Headquarters asked me and seven chapter Sisters to travel to Iowa to help with a recruitment party [circa 1970], my two candle lighting ceremonies when I was pinned and engaged (Having all my Sisters there was the best!), and my first National Convention in Pittsburgh in 1980 where I realized what Sisterhood for life meant.

Fun Fact: After college, some of my besties were Sisters from other chapters. Two of my chapter Sisters and six of my national Sisters started going to the beach together during the summers when there was no Convention and it has become a tradition.

I Give Because: I support the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because of the skills and talents I acquired as a collegiate member. I was better prepared to interview for jobs, manage projects and take leadership roles in my adult organizations. I want today’s women to have the same access to this training and true Sisterhood as I did.

Mary Askins, Alpha Lambda - Featured April 2018

Meet Mary Askins, Alpha Lambda (Radford University). Mary has generously supported the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation as a recurring donor and member of the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle since 2015 and is always quick to make additional contributions and serve as an ambassador and advocate during the annual Founders Day of Giving and the Foundation’s biennial Convention Campaigns.

Initiation Year: 2013

Date of First Gift to Foundation: October 12, 2015

Occupation: Commercial Real Estate Agency/Administrative Marketing Associate

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory:  During our new member process, one of the other women in my new member class spent the night at my apartment. She told me about her family in New Hampshire, her interest in race cars, and her fluffy cat Chevy. That night I made a lifelong friend and someone who I  look up to and trust.

Fun Fact: In the near future, I plan on becoming a Student Affairs Professional to help collegiate students reach their full potential. I also love the Clemson Tigers!

I Give Because: I give to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because this Sorority has provided me with so many fun-filled opportunities since joining in fall 2013. I have established deep-rooted friendships, connected with Sisters across the country at conferences, joined the Tidewater Area Alumnae Chapter, and I look forward to many adventures with Sisters in the future. I want to pay it forward to all of the Sisters who will follow me and want to be an example to them to do the same to help Sisters and their educational endeavors.

Ronica Jackson, Epsilon Beta - Featured March 2018

Meet Ronica Jackson, Epsilon Beta (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Ronica is the president of the Rio Grande Valley Alumnae Association and serves as the Epsilon Beta Chapter Advisor. Ronica generously supports the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation as a member of the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle and through additional contributions during our annual Founders Day of Giving event.

Initiation Year: 2005

Date of First Gift to Foundation: June 28, 2014

Occupation: CEO & Designer of Ronica Marie Couture and Financial Representative with Houston Methodist Hospital

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: I will never forget the day the Epsilon Beta Chapter was installed. As a charter member and president, I remember our Yellow Rose Banquet. I was standing at the podium and looking out at all my Sisters. As I was getting choked up, I said, “We did it and this is a legacy that we built together.”

Fun Fact: I love dancing! Since I’m a busy bee, my stress reliever is salsa dancing. 

I Give Because: I give to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because Alpha Sigma Tau has made me the woman that I am today. I love to give back to help other Sisters reach their goals. 

Stacey Daniel Fragile, Gamma Mu - Featured February 2018

Meet Stacey Daniel Fragile, Gamma Mu (West Virginia University Institute of Technology). Stacey is the president of the Southern West Virginia Alumnae Association and has also held a variety of national volunteer roles. Stacey is a loyal supporter of the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation, generously hosting challenges during our annual Founders Day of Giving event and contributing on a recurring basis as a member of the Friendship & Fidelity Monthly Giving Circle.

Initiation Year: 1995

Date of First Gift to Foundation: May 22, 1997

Occupation: Attorney

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: I have so many wonderful memories that it is hard to pick just one.  Some of my favorites are when I was pinned on Valentine’s Day 1995, the day I learned who my Big and Little Sisters were, and attending conventions with my fellow advisors which always lead to late night talk sessions in one of our rooms.

Fun Fact: I was the sole member of my New Member class when I joined in 1995.

I Give Because: Alpha Sigma Tau provided me with the opportunity to make lifelong friends from all across the country. It also taught me skills that I continue to use in my professional life even though I graduated over 20 years ago.  In giving back to the Foundation I feel that I am helping to provide opportunities to our current and future collegiate members and thus I am doing my part to contribute to the progress of mankind which is something we pledge to do every time we recite our Creed.

Alice Ball, Epsilon Gamma - Featured January 2018

 

Meet Alice Ball, Epsilon Gamma (Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus). For nearly two years Alice has generously supported the Foundation as a monthly recurring donor and has also contributed to various Convention Campaigns and annual Founders Day of Giving events. Alice volunteers for the Sorority as the Assistant Chapter Advisor for Epsilon Gamma and previously served on the Nominations Committee.

Initiation Year: 2009

Date of First Gift to Foundation: June 26, 2014

Occupation: Part-time Law Student at Savannah Law School and Legal Secretary to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory:  There are many to choose from, but some of my favorites are spending a bachelorette with Sisters in Disney World, multiple Advisor Academies spent laughing and learning, and Conventions where your committee you were serving on decides to share a suite. I can’t pinpoint one memory because each one has its own unique quality that makes it special.

Fun Fact: I am a Disney fanatic and love to be organized.

I Give Because: Alpha Sigma Tau gave me the courage and tools to bring out the leader in me and still teaches me how to grow in that role today. I want to be a part of bringing out that role in other women.

Diane Wehby, Gamma Xi - Featured December 2017

Meet Diane Wehby, Gamma Xi (Grand Valley State University). Diane generously contributes to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation as a monthly recurring donor and has also served as an ambassador for both the 2016 and 2017 Founders Day of Giving events. Diane became an initiated member of Alpha Sigma Tau as an alumna in 2015 after receiving encouragement to join from her daughter Kate Wehby, Gamma Xi.  Diane is a loyal supporter of the Foundation, and she is always quick to volunteer her time or offer a kind word of encouragement to a Sister.

Initiation Year: 2015

Date of First Gift to Foundation: June 26, 2014

Occupation: I am a registered nurse working as a quality improvement specialist for one of the largest physician groups in Michigan. I have a BSN and MSN from Madonna University in Livonia, MI.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory:  My best experience was being initiated into the same chapter (Gamma Xi at Grand Valley State University) as my daughter. It was so special to share the same vows that she took and to share that day with her and the members of Gamma Xi!

Fun Fact: After I completed my Master’s degree in Nursing at Madonna University, I had an annual clinical research scholarship named after me that is still given out twenty years later.

I Give Because: I support the Foundation because I believe that you should spend your money where your values are. I believe that all of the Sisters deserve quality programming and scholarship opportunities. It is my hope that my donations will help secure future funding in high impact areas. I feel it is especially important to support our collegiate members so that they remain active with the Sorority past their university experience.

 

Megan Escobar, Gamma Tau - Featured October 2017

Meet Megan Escobar, Gamma Tau (Lebanon Valley College). Megan generously contributes to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation as a monthly recurring donor and is also an ambassador for the 2017 Founders Day of Giving. She currently volunteers for the Sorority as Chapter Advisor for the Gamma Tau Chapter at Lebanon Valley College, and she organized a Founders Day of Giving Chapter Challenge event with other members of the Gamma Tau Chapter Advisory Board.

Initiation Year: 2011

Occupation: Solutions Manager and IT Support at a Telecommunications and IT Consulting company

Date of first gift to Foundation: June 23, 2016

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: There are so many I hold close to my heart, but if I had to choose one, it would be shortly after I joined the Advisory Board for Gamma Tau. All of a sudden, after a regular chapter meeting, I realized I was standing in a room with 30+ members. This was the largest the chapter had been in years, and I was overwhelmed by how much the chapter had accomplished. It was the same feeling I get at Convention surrounded by hundreds of my Sisters; an appreciation and joy at being a part of this amazing group of women who all have something in common with me – a love for Alpha Sigma Tau.

Fun Fact: I recently left the country for the first time and spent aweek adventuring in Iceland.

I Give Because: I support the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because I want future sorority women to have as many opportunities as possible. The scholarships and programs funded by the Foundation have measurable impact, and at the moment, my favorite is Illuminate. This program has so much potential and every chapter should have the opportunity to participate. I know the donations are used in ways that support the missions of the Sorority and Foundation, and I am proud to contribute.

Desiree Caro, Gamma Upsilon - Featured September 2017

Meet Desiree Caro, Gamma Upsilon (California State University, Los Angeles). Desiree currently leads her chapter as President and has previously served as Vice President of Community Relations, Panhellenic Delegate, and Director of Philanthropy. Desiree generously contributes to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation on a monthly basis and is passionate about the Illuminate program. She was also unknowingly the first member of the 1899 Society for Collegiate Giving thanks to her monthly support.

Initiation Year: 2014

Date of first gift to Foundation: March 9, 2017

Major: Childhood Development with a minor in Political Science. I am going to add a second minor and am currently deciding on Chicano/Latino Studies or Asian and Asian American Studies. I’d also like to pursue a PhD after my undergraduate studies.

Career Aspirations: I am inspired by my professors at Cal State LA and would like to teach at a higher education level while also leading my own research lab. I want to focus on topics related to developmental psychology while publishing my findings and presenting at conferences worldwide.

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: There’s so many, but if I had to pinpoint the one favorite memory where it all started, I’d say when I opened my invitation to join the Sorority on Bid Day after going through Panhellenic recruitment.

Fun Fact: I’ve studied abroad twice for two consecutive summers! The first time abroad was in London for photography, and the second was in Japan with the kinesiology students at my university. I have family in Japan and was able to meet my cousins for the first time!

I Give Because: I give to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because I believe it has provided opportunities to collegiate chapters nationwide to enhance their members’ experiences. It empowers collegiate members with programs like Illuminate and Not Anymore.

Leah Smith, Beta Delta - Featured August 2017

Meet Leah Smith, Beta Delta (Duquesne University). Leah contributes monthly to the Foundation through her employer’s year-round giving program and also hosted a matching gift for her initiating chapter during the inaugural Founders Day of Giving.

Initiation Year: 2007

Occupation: Clinical Pharmacist, Drug Utilization Review at UnitedHealthcare

Date of first gift to Foundation: June 28, 2014

Favorite Alpha Sigma Tau Memory: One of my favorite memories is the Big/Little night when I was matched with my Little, Maria Baker Theys. We officially became best friends that night, and now we live 2 miles down the street from each other.

Fun Fact: I also have a biological sister who decided to Go Greek when she went to college! She is a Zeta Tau Alpha, and now we are Panhellenic sisters too.

I Give Because: I give to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation because it helps educate the next generation of women to become leaders, donors, and philanthropists of tomorrow.