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Intern Spotlight: Morgan

(Education, Leadership, Philanthropy, Scholarship, Sisterhood) Permanent link

By Morgan Christie, Ohio Wesleyan

MorganChristie

After my chapter’s PR Chairman announced my summer internship news, I was bombarded with the “what will you be doing?” question above all others. My answer: “Well, I actually don’t really know.” Whoops! In the whirlwind process of interviewing and accepting my position, I might have forgotten to ask about my specific duties. Thus, it goes without saying that I came into the Education Department a blank slate, clueless about how my full-time summer job was going to play out.

Despite my uncertainty about my intern duties, transitioning into my role as Education Intern was smooth and easy. During my first day, I was given a list of projects that spanned all areas of Kappa’s educational programming—Leadership Academy, GIRLS Academy, leadTODAY, training workshops, online courses, and website content.

When it comes to educational programming, I was surprised by the breadth of our programs but also by their depth. I quickly learned that Kappa’s educational programs were numerous and needed countless hours of preparation in order to be successful; it seems like the planning never stops.

Leadership Academy chapter participants are chosen in March, over six months before LA even takes place. From there, the Education Department works on finding facilitators, planning travel, updating the event schedule, organizing groups, packing materials, finding alumnae participants– the list goes on and on. GIRLS Academy takes just as much work, including pouring through post-event evaluations, updating the curriculum, working with the chapters, and packing supply bins to be shipped across the country.

In addition to planning, my internship was a lesson in collaboration. Due to the volunteer-driven nature of Kappa and the Foundation-funded structure of our educational programs, so much of what the Education Department does is in collaboration with other individuals. The most obvious way in which this happens manifests itself in the partnership between the education staff and Kappa volunteers. Facilitators for Leadership Academy, Kappa Trainers, GIRLS Academy, and leadTODAY are all trained alumnae who give up their time to give back to Kappa. Without these volunteers, our educational programs would not be possible. The relationships built between the staff and the volunteers runs deep, as most volunteers have been members of the Kappa family for years.

Collaboration also occurs between the Fraternity and the Foundation. The Education Department lives within the Fraternity, but every single one of our educational programs are funded by the Foundation. The Foundation makes it possible for the Fraternity to develop leadership skills within its active and alumnae members, provide middle school girls with a program focused around a values-based curriculum, and bring alumnae and actives together to foster new growth within our chapters. In thinking about how to provide members with lifelong learning, the relationship between the Fraternity and the Foundation becomes so much more important.

Overall, my internship experience has been phenomenal. I was able to connect with a number of ambitious and inspiring women, learn so much more about the daily operations of our organization, and see the ways in which Kappas interact with the Fraternity long after their collegiate days. My time at headquarters has reminded me what our organization can do for its members and has proven to me just how lucky I am to be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Loyally,
Morgan

Intern Spotlight: Cara

(Education, Friendship, Leadership, Scholarship, Sisterhood) Permanent link

By Cara Bargiacchi, DePauw

CaraBargiacchi

My summer as the Catherine Schroeder Graf Heritage Museum Intern for Kappa Kappa Gamma originally started as a mystery. When someone would ask me what my job would be, I honestly couldn’t tell them. It wasn’t until I met with Kylie Towers Smith, Simpson, Archivist/Museums Director, that I learned what my role would entail. Not only would I give museums tours, polish silver and discover the history behind our organization, but I’d have the opportunity to choose my own project. I was overwhelmed at first. After all, Kappa has been around for nearly 145 years; how was I going to choose just one project?

Destiny of sorts decided my project for me. One day while searching through Kappa’s online archives, Kappapedia, I happened upon an entry about Jean Nelson Penfield, Kappa’s eighth Grand President. When I read that she too had gone to DePauw, I knew that I had to find out more about her.

It was a process that would involve almost 30 different Archives and Historical Societies, a trip to the DePauw University Archives and hours looking through old newspapers, books and documents. In the end, the story of Jean Nelson Penfield came to life.

Born to a very wealthy family in Greencastle, Indiana, Jean received a superior education compared to many of women of the time. During college, she won the Inter-State Oratorical Competition, the first female to ever win this competition. She also received the only perfect scores in the history of the competition. As a member of Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at DePauw, she attended the first meeting of what would eventually become the National Panhellenic Conference.

After DePauw, Jean ventured to New York City where she attended the Metropolitan Conservatory of Music and founded the Musical Aid Guild, a scholarship program to help those who were less fortunate attend the school. While in New York she met her future husband, Judge William Warner Penfield, and they began their life together in 1897. They had two children; however, both died as infants. As a way to help her cope with the loss of her children, her Kappa sisters convinced her to accept the nomination for Grand President of the Fraternity, a role in which she excelled. During her presidency, Jean focused on careful expansion of chapters, alumnae involvement, civic and social issues, and creating better university-owned housing for women. 

Jean stayed involved in Kappa for the remainder of her life, earning an Alumnae Achievement Award in 1950. In 1946, she was one of the first ten Kappas to receive a 50-year pin. It was Jean who presented Kappa with Iota friend Minnie Royse Walker’s diamond and sapphire fleur-de-lis pin, “to be worn by the President on all suitable occasions,” the very pin worn today by Fraternity President Beth Black.

After her Kappa presidency, Jean earned her law degree from Brooklyn Law School. She became the department head for women and created a lecture series that educated women about parliamentary law and their rights in divorce proceedings and life in general. For the rest of her life, Jean fought for gender equality, a fight that continues today.

This woman, our sister, was ahead of her time. To find that connection with someone who lived long before me, in a different time, place, and society, is truly what Kappa is all about. Though Jean was before my time, her values mirror my own and show me how the bonds of sisterhood extend throughout time. We may not have dressed the same, listened to the same music or shared a talent for singing but we did share one thing: Kappa.

Loyally,

Cara

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