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Sisters who Serve the World

In honor of National Philanthropy Day and our alliance with Make-A-Wish America, Chi Omega honors five Sisters who truly embody our Vision Statement: Sisters inspired by our values who serve the world while keeping Chi Omega ever at heart. We are so inspired by each of these alumnae and the way they serve their communities and the world every day, through Make-A-Wish and other incredible organizations.


serve-the-world-connie-oneillSMU Chi Omega alumna Connie O’Neill serves on the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors, ensuring that through the best scientific research and community awareness, the organization can save lives and end breast cancer forever.

“Get involved! Find something you are passionate about and volunteer,” Connie said. “My two passions are health and education. There are countless nonprofits to choose from in any community. Carve out a few hours and do something for someone else.”

Connie has been involved with Susan G. Komen for almost 25 years.  She has also been involved with many other charitable organizations in the Dallas area, including the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Children’s Health Services of Texas, and as past President of the SMU Alumni Association and the Junior League of Dallas. She has served on the boards of the Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, St. Paul Medical Center Foundation, and St. Mark’s School of Texas Parents Association Board.


jan-george-andrew-west-coastal-lifeCU Boulder Chi Omega alumna Jan George has spent more than half a century volunteering for the American Red Cross, following disasters from West, Texas to Ground Zero and serving as a steady source of support for hurricane victims near her home in Florida.

Jan taught children’s swimming lessons for the Red Cross for years, but after retirement, she knew she still wanted to help.

“I thought, well, I’m not going to teach swimming anymore – but I can certainly do something,” Jan said.

Since then, she has been deployed to more than 20 Red Cross missions across the country, managing dozens of volunteers. Jan was named the Governor’s Hurricane Conference award winner in 2014.

Photo Credit: Andrew West, Coastal Life


erika-togoThree years ago, Erika Wright, an alumna of Tau Beta Chapter at Oklahoma State University founded Somebody’s Mama, a volunteer organization focused on raising awareness and funding global projects focused on women’s healthcare, education, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women.

Along with co-founder Leia Johnson and the support of a Board of Directors that includes two Chi Omegas, Erika has worked to build a community proving that small and simple acts of love can create great things – resulting in the construction of a maternity ward and schools in West Africa, the support of business startups in South Sudan, healthcare training for women in Uganda, and many other successes.

“This not-so-crazy idea we had—doing good things with our friends in a simple and fun way—has become a global sisterhood movement that is bringing women around the world together for good,” Erika said. “I am humbled every day by our giving community and am simply astounded by what we have accomplished together in such a short time.”


jill-prof-picAs an award-winning high school counselor, supporting victims of violence and devastating loss through the Pima County (Tucson, Arizona) Attorney’s Office of Victim Services was a natural volunteer role for Jill Ronsman, an alumna of University of Arizona Chi Omega.

A military mother, Jill often spends between 20-40 hours each month voluteering through victim services in addition to her full-time job as a high school assistant principal.

“The most rewarding part of this opportunity is the hugs I get when I leave the unbearable situation, knowing that my team has helped soften the blow that life can give,” Jill said. “We are just a small part of this big world, and we need to realize that life and happiness is not just about us, it is about what [we] can do to make life better for others. What [we] can do to help our neighbor or sister.”

 

 


katlyn-with-wish-child-davidAt 14, Katlyn Gould was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Two years later, her Wish was granted – meeting Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jacob Ellsbury. When she began college a few years later, Katlyn found a home in the Psi Kappa Chapter at Clemson University, where she was able to volunteer through her chapter’s Make-A-Wish events.

Today, Katlyn is nine years cancer-free and working as a Wish Manager for Make-A-Wish South Carolina, planning and coordinating Wishes for children all over the state.

“There is a reason that both Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish hold special places in my heart and they work hand-in-hand together,” Katlyn said. “They both provide hope, strength, and joy to the individuals that they serve. They have both provided me with incredible memories full of joy and strength, a positive outlook, and helped grow my heart into a more passionate giving heart which has shaped me into the woman I am today.”

We could not be more proud of all Katlyn has accomplished! Chi Omega is honored to partner with Make-A-Wish as our national philanthropy.


 

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CHI OMEGA HONORS PAT SUMMITT, BELOVED COACH AND SISTER

Sports Journalist Christine Brennan (Xi/Northwestern), in a powerful tribute to Chi omega Sister and colleague, Pat Head Summitt (Xi Zeta/U of Tennessee, Martin): “Every girl and every woman who plays sports, and there are millions of them in this country, owes Pat Summitt one thing today: A thank you. She showed that a woman could be tough and unrelenting and powerful — and be rewarded for it.Mostly, she wanted to win. And win and win and win. And she did, more than anyone else who has ever coached the college game, male or female. She was a women’s basketball coach, yes, but she really was a basketball coach who happened to be a woman.”


Along with many family members, former players, friends, and admirers, Chi Omega was devastated by the loss of our Sister, Pat Summitt on June 28, 2016.

Summitt was initiated into the Xi Zeta Chapter of Chi Omega in 1971 at the University of Tennessee-Martin and remained involved with the Fraternity during her 40-plus years of membership, speaking at local and national events for Chi Omega and inspiring Sisters all over the country.

In 1988, Pat Summitt was awarded the Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Award. At that time, Summitt had won her second national championship. Since then, she won six additional national championships and won more basketball games than any other coach in basketball history.

“Today, Chi Omega mourns the loss of extraordinary Sister Pat Head Summitt,” said National President Shelley Potter. “Her unrelenting drive for excellence transformed the narrative and paved the way for the success of women’s sports. She will long be remembered as a woman of purpose – an inspiration for her own story as well as how she empowered others to be their best selves. A Chi Omega Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement, her Sisters at University of Tennessee-Martin also fitting named their lodge in honor of Pat. Chi Omega Sisters join the chorus of all who admire Pat, celebrating her extraordinary life and contributions.”

Our Fraternity is proud to have called Pat “Sister” and offer our condolences to her family and friends, especially her dear Xi Zeta Sisters.


 

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ABOVE & BEYOND: NASA ASTRONAUT KATE RUBINS

Sister Kate Rubins (Kappa Lambda/UC – San Diego) blasted off on July 6 for the International Space Station as a Flight Engineer for Expeditions 48 and 49.

A microbiologist with a doctorate in cancer biology from Stanford University, Rubins is set to become the first person to sequence DNA in space. Her research during nearly four months on the space station will also include how living in space affects the human body, especially the skeletal and cardiovascular systems.

Rubins was one of 14 people selected from more than 3,500 applicants for NASA’s 2009 astronaut training class. During her career, she has worked to create therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses, aided in development of the first smallpox infection model, and conducted research on HIV-1 integration patterns as an undergraduate studying molecular biology at UC – San Diego.

Humans representing more than 95 countries have been living continuously aboard the International Space Station for more than 15 years, working in the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge, test new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. Other projects on Rubins’ mission include regulating temperatures aboard spacecraft, tracking ships all over the world, and protecting computers from radiation in space.

Rubins will stay at the space station with crew members from all over the world until late October. Chi Omega is proud to be represented by the 60th woman in space!

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(Left) Sister Kate Rubins; Photo credit: NASA.gov

Newly arrived Expedition 48 crew members on board the International Space Station, Kate Rubins of NASA (right foreground), Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, (center), and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (center, left) are adjusting to station life on orbit. (Photo/caption credit: NASA.gov)

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