By Whitney “Airyn” Newton, Social Media Manager and Staff Writer

As an undergraduate student, my finances were not the best. I went to school full time, pursuing a degree in industrial-organizational psychology with a minor in business administration, all while holding not one, but two jobs. I struggled to afford school, while desperately trying to prevent my family home from being foreclosed. It was rough, but hard-work and determination allowed me the means to pull it off.

My budget was strict. I couldn’t go out to eat with my friends unless it was to the campus dining center or to a cheap fast food restaurant. I couldn’t indulge on shopping trips to the local mall. I couldn’t take advantage of the many opportunities universities provide their students for a fee. Emails would flood my university inbox with opportunities that I couldn’t afford. Regrettably, I would delete the opportunities one after another from my inbox.

Delta Phi Lambda Foundation changed that. Created on December 22, 2010 by Lillie “Ivory” Madali, the executive director and board president, the Foundation’s motto is: “empowering the women of Delta Phi Lambda and the communities they serve by funding scholarships and leadership development grants since 2010.”

Donations have allowed the Foundation to increase the monetary value of the Academic Excellence Scholarship this year. The Foundation relies solely on the support of donations, mostly from the sisters of Delta Phi Lambda, in order to continue to offer scholarship opportunities for hard-working, dedicated female leaders.

One year, I decided to try my luck applying for one of the scholarships the Foundation offered called the AFLV Central/Midyear Leadership Conference Scholarship. This scholarship was designed to help a sister attend the Association for Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Central Fraternity Leadership Conference/National Black Greek Leadership Conference hosted every February. This conference also hosts the Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Midyear Leadership Conference. I was awarded the scholarship and had my registration fees covered, allowing me to attend.

Attending AFLV had a huge impact on me. The conference offers many benefits, like distinguished speakers and a multitude of workshops. It introduced me to celebrated leaders, such as T.J. Sullivan, whose speech “Motivating the Middle: Fighting Apathy in College” has suggestions and techniques that I still apply working in my career. The conference allowed me to connect with fellow sisters and fostered my passion for the sorority, leading to me pursuing a role as chapter president at Illinois State University. My experience continues to keep me active with my sorority years after graduating.

For sisters who are enrolled in their respective university for the fall semester, there is the Academic Excellence Scholarship. As written on its website, the Foundation offers this scholarship to “recognize sisters who have not only devoted herself to the sorority, but also to her future by upholding a standard of excellence in her college academic year.”

The second scholarship currently being offered is the Hannah Seoh Alumnae Scholarship, a professional development grant, which is “targeted toward alumnae of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., [this] scholarship is a professional development grant that will help graduate students and young professionals conduct research, study abroad, or pay for professional conferences.”

Past recipientss have attributed the scholarship as helping them purchase textbooks for classes, covering fees, and alleviating college financial burdens in times of need.

Jemi “Phrysia” Puno, an alumna from Illinois State University and past recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarship, used her scholarship money to help pay part of the host family housing expenses when she studied abroad in Osaka, Japan during the spring semester of her junior year in college. From her passion for travelling, Puno had always wanted to study abroad. The problem of making that dream a reality was the financial strain that comes with flying halfway across the world and living abroad, especially when she wanted to live with a host family, so that she can fully submerge herself in the Japanese culture and lifestyle.

The Foundation’s scholarship helped to make Puno’s dream come true. She was hosted by a wonderful family who took her on road trips to places such as Okayama, where there was local hot springs and plenty of delicious foods to eat. She contributes the experience of living with a host family to pushing her to become more independent. Her study abroad experience living with a host family would not have been possible without the Foundation scholarship.

“I encourage all collegiate sisters to apply for this scholarship if financial worry is the only thing that’s stopping you from pursuing one of your goals or dreams,” Puno said. “As long as you’re determined and know what you plan to do with the scholarship, you’ll gain not only a financial push towards your goal, but also skills and awesome experiences that will make you stand out when you apply for your future careers.”

Because of her semester abroad, Puno realized that traveling was something she wanted to continue to pursue. After college, she went on to become a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines where she now flies all over the world. She continues to support the Foundation that started it all with scholarship.

“As an alumna now, I try my best to donate to the Delta Phi Lambda Foundation since it helped me gain an experience of a lifetime,” she said. “And now that the scholarship is worth even more, I hope the additional value will continue to help collegiate sisters find their passions.”

Today is the last day to submit an application to Delta Phi Lambda Foundation in order to be considered for one of two scholarships currently being offered. To apply for the Academic Excellence Scholarship or the Hannah Seoh Alumnae Scholarship, sisters must submit an application that is found on the website  at Applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. EST to be considered.

Whether a collegiate member or an alumnae, the Delta Phi Lambda Foundation has an opportunity for you. The award recipients for these scholarships will be announced at the Delta Phi Lambda Convention XV held this year on August 5-7 in New York. Don’t miss your chance at winning a scholarship from the Delta Phi Lambda Foundation.


Featured Image: Delta Phi Lambda Foundation