Founders Day Grant
Sigma Alpha Omega® was founded in 1998 as a way for Christian women to encourage each other to grow in the Lord. In honor of the sorority's Founders Day on January 5th, the Sisters by Grace Foundation offers a yearly grant of $100. Recipients can be active, associate and alumna sisters, but all are encouraged to apply by submitting a short essay response to a question each year.
Home Chapter: Mu, University of Georgia
Brianna is a freshman at the University of Georgia in the Double Dawgs- Dietetics program. She hopes to graduate with her masters in Dietetics in four years to kickstart her career as a Registered Dietitian with full force. She loves to go rock climbing with her sister and binge watch superhero shows with her Dad. Her favorite part about being in SAO is the accountability that comes from being surrounded by powerful women all centered and focused on God.
Brianna's submitted essay to the prompt, "We celebrate our Founders on Founders Day, but how has SAO found you?"
In high school, I was the Lead Server and Assistant Coordinator at an event venue. It was around late May when graduation parties were starting to become a regular and I was assigned to set-up and manage a graduation party for a UGA grad. I thought how cool it would be to be an incoming freshman setting up for what would be my graduation party in four years. As I was putting up the decorations and displaying the cap and gown, I began to see a regular occurrence of Greek letters. ΣΑΩ. When I met the graduate, she had on a shirt with the same Greek letters, so naturally it piqued my interest. I began to ask her about her time at UGA and her sorority and her and her parents were just the happiest most thankful family I have ever met. They displayed such an appreciation for our venue and each other. She told me I would have the best time of my life at [college] and to remember how much of a blessing it all is. Fast forward a couple of weeks and my roommate actually asked me if I had ever heard of a sorority called Sigma Alpha Omega. We were both on the fence to rush Panhellenic because we wanted the community, support, and love that comes from a sisterhood, but I feared joining a group of women that could potentially be distant from God. I did not want to stereotypical [college] party life, I wanted to go to college to find God. I was immediately shocked that she brought up SAO since I had just set up for a fellow sister’s graduation party. My roommate began to tell me that SAO was actually a Christian-based sorority that is centered on accountability and love through life in Christ. I couldn’t believe it. God was working in ways that I couldn’t even imagine giving me the opportunity to meet one of the sisters at my university and experience the presence of Christ in her, to then have my roommate bring up joining this sorority. My decision was made. I was going to [join] SAO. I will forever be thankful for God putting that sister in my life as well as the role He gave my roommate to help me find my home and my family in SAO.
Home Chapter: Alpha Chi, University of Michigan
Mallory is currently a senior at the University of Michigan studying Cellular and Molecular biology and German, she is currently in the process of interviewing for medical school next year. Mallory is an avid runner, and completed two marathons this past year, qualifying for the Boston Marathon both times. She had the honor of serving as president of the Alpha Chi Chapter and is currently serving as Secretary and a member of the Bible Study Committee. SAO has provided Mallory with opportunities to grow in friendship and love of Christ alongside Godly women who prioritize authenticity in faith, joy and struggle alongside her.
Mallory's submitted essay to the prompt, "How has being a Sister of Sigma Alpha Omega® encouraged your faith?"
The past two years have been some of the most formative of my life, in nearly every respect: academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Stepping back a bit, I was not raised in a Christian home, and my journey to faith felt like a largely solo journey with God until I came to college. I entered into the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at my parish campus, which would culminate in my baptism, confirmation and first holy communion at the Easter Vigil, which just so happened to be the weekend after my initiation into SAO, I was desperately in search of sincere Christian community, and was lucky enough to find that home in the sorority. My sisters encouraged me during this intense period of formation, providing everything from catechetical education to gentleness and strength in the face of spiritual attack. This support and love continued as I have continued growing in knowledge of and love of the Lord, and as I've stepped into leadership roles in the organization- beginning as a member of Candidate Committee during sophomore year and onto my election as President my junior year, and, alongside my sisters, I was reminded to invite the Lord's presence and blessing on the normal highs and lows that come with the college experience.
However, a little over a month into my term as President, I was faced with my greatest personal challenge to date: losing my dad to a four year battle with cancer. He passed away on an October Wednesday, and at Chapter that Sunday, as I sat down in front of all my sisters to begin the meeting, they presented me with a note from all of them, and a framed picture of my dad and I. During that time, and the months that have followed, my sisters have given me a taste of how the Father nurtures us in the face of suffering, they have wiped my tears as I look up at Jesus' body on the cross in the hope of uniting his sacrifice with mine, they have offered prayer when words and wisdom run out. They have shown me love in the face of weakness and imperfection, and have led me not just to deeper relationship with each of them, but a deep reliance on my Creator and Lord above all things and all people, and a reminder that while there is comfort in hoping for, there is only One to be hoped in.