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Two 2013 Scholars Go Greek

We are excited to announce that two of our 2013 CVAP Scholars joined a sorority this past year, completed the necessary application process and will receive a sorority scholarship during the summer.
As part of their application, they were asked to submit an essay that included their career goals, reasons for applying for this scholarship and the impact that sorority life has had on their college experience. Enjoy the essays below by Courtney Cabansag and Hannah McCune!

"Going Greek" by Courtney Cabansag

It was my senior year of high school.  I was in a tense environment and the pressure was on.  College was only months away and I knew I had to work hard to achieve my goals, graduate, and make my hometown, school, and family proud.  Throughout high school I was involved in a number of clubs and organizations including Link Crew, a club made up of upper classmen whose goal was to acclimate incoming freshmen to the high school environment, and the Anti-Bullying Campaign, an organization I co-established that took a group of high school students to elementary and middle schools in the Coachella Valley to present and give personal experiences on the impact of bullying.  In addition, I was Vice President of my graduating class and had been dancing with the same dance company for twelve years.  In the end, my hard work paid off and I was accepted into the University of California, Santa Barbara – my dream school.  I had the world at my fingertips and an endless amount of possibilities; the only thing holding me back being the financial burden that comes along with pursuing a higher education.  Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be gifted a $2500 scholarship from the Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic group before my high school graduation to aid in funding my collegiate future.  Upon receiving this scholarship, I met women who had graduated from colleges across the nation who were members of several different National Panhellenic Conference sororities.  I had never met such well versed and inspiring women gathered in one place, celebrating the success of the local youth.

After meeting and interacting with these women, my interest in sorority life was peaked.  I did some research to find out more about what “going Greek” was all about and I agreed to go through the process of rush at UCSB.  During rush, I went from house to house, each full of gorgeous girls with pearly white smiles, wondering if sorority life was for me.  I wasn’t like these perfect girls that graced my presence day after day as the rush process continued.  Feeling discouraged, I went to my last house on Unity Day.  Kappa Alpha Theta – more Greek letters I thought would mean nothing to me.  I couldn’t be more wrong.  I hadn’t felt more at home anywhere else in Santa Barbara than I felt at Theta.  In the end, this was the house I joined and I could not be happier.

  Theta has been a large part of my college experience already,  and I don’t know where I would be in college without it. 
Coming to UCSB, I was slightly misguided.  I was excited to be at a top university, but my goals were far off in the distance
and seemingly intangible.  I came in with a declared major, English.  It was a subject I excelled in going through grade school,
and I assumed this trend would continue through college.  However, it was achieving a career with a degree in English that
worried me.  Enter Brooke Lyon.  Brooke is a senior in Theta who is also majoring in English.  She was assigned to be my mentor
in the month of January and it has been the biggest gift.  She has helped me shape both my academic and career goals, reassuring
me that UCSB is a step in the right direction for my future of pursuing a job in publishing and editing.  Ever since, she has held
my hand, introducing me to professors and graduate students on campus in my field and helping me decide which classes will
benefit me most at UCSB.

Theta has also aided me in adapting to the university environment, outside of academics. Being four hours away from my hometown
has taken its toll on me at times, and it has been Theta that has picked me up when I have fallen.  I know I can count on my sisters for
anything and everything – whether it be helping me study for finals or watching Disney movies and eating junk food with me on the
weekends.  They have shown me the ins and outs of campus and have taught me what they wish they knew as freshmen.  Being an only child, I had never experienced sisterhood and I truly believe Theta has taught me what it means to be a sister.

Now, having experienced Greek life firsthand, I think back to the day that the Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic group awarded me a scholarship my senior year of high school – before I had been to UCSB, before I knew what a sorority was, before I knew what the Greek letters Kappa Alpha Theta would mean to me.  Joining a sorority has changed my life and has shaped my success as a collegiate student.

In the future, I can see myself as the women I met that day I received my scholarship.  I hope to be smiling as they were, proudly wearing my letters, joining together with other Greek women in my local area awarding youth and telling them what it is like to join a sorority and be a part of something bigger.  I chose to reapply for the Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic scholarship again this year in an effort to defray the cost that comes along with joining a sorority.  Although I believe every penny is worth it, I am trying my best to help my family, as they are the ones helping me pay sorority dues as of now.  I hope I have the opportunity of meeting with the extraordinary women of the Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic group once again and have a chance to share stories and build a bond that being in a sorority has taught me is the most important thing in life.


  Essay by Hannah Kay McClune

I originally applied for this scholarship my senior year of high school because I believed that I embodied all of the attributes that made up a well-rounded Panhellenic woman. At the time I was not sure if I would join a sorority in college, to be honest it didn’t really seem like “my thing”. But I was still curious about it so I decided to give it a shot, see what would happen. I chose to attend the University of San Diego, a small private institution with just over 8,000 students. Here I am working towards earning a degree in Industrial Engineering and pursuing minors in International Business and Marketing. I am not entirely sure what I want to with this degree yet, but it’s only my freshman year, thankfully I have time to figure it out. I love to travel, I love “hands on” work, and I
love communicating with others, so any combination of those three would be just fine for me. Sorority Recruitment was in January of 2014, just before the beginning of the second school semester. Most universities hold rush before the first semester of college, but I was thankful that USD goes through Winter Rush because this gave me the opportunity to meet some people through roommates, clubs I involved myself in, and classes. Recruitment was a little intimidating, and at the beginning I still was not sure if rushing a sorority was the right decision for me. I figured I had nothing to lose and everyone said the bright side was: “you meet so many new
people, it’s awesome.” They weren’t kidding. At the University of San Diego we have eight sororities, and throughout rush I had to visit each and every one of them. I was a little overwhelmed, anxious, but
also excited; to potentially find a group of girls I could possibly call my sisters.

Before I knew it the end of recruitment came, and then there was Bid Day, the most exciting day of the week. This is what I was waiting for. All the busy and engaging days of rush led up to this moment! The next thing I knew, I received a bid to my number one choice: Kappa Kappa Gamma. I was ecstatic. I chose these girls because they reminded me of myself, all their own individuals of course, but I could see myself calling those girls my sisters. Over 150 new sisters.

Joining Kappa has been one of the best decisions I made since coming to the University of San Diego. It was a huge turn-around for me, from being the skeptic to the full-blown sorority woman, and I do not regret a thing nor would I change anything. Becoming a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma has introduced me not only to some amazing women, but equally spectacular opportunities.
I am absolutely dedicated to our philanthropies, and of course our social events are always the talk of the town. Kappa Kappa Gamma has done nothing but positively enhance my time here at the University of San Diego. I am now part of something greater than just a fun group, but a nationwide family that will stay dear to my heart for a lifetime.