Meet Leah Nelson

Leah Nelson is a junior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in chemistry. She chose to major in biochemistry because she is interested in learning about the chemical processes of life and how our bodies work. Her dream is to go to medical school to become a pediatric rheumatologist.

“I want to be a doctor to serve the community that helped me and share hope with families going through difficult diseases,” Nelson said. “I think that by understanding the essential processes of the body I can better diagnose my patients.”

On campus, Nelson is involved as a College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador, the president of Chimes Junior Honorary, and a member of Christian Challenge. She has learned a lot from these experiences and has grown as a person throughout her involvement.

“I have made lifelong friendships, developed professionalism, served the community, been encouraged in my studies, and pushed in my walk with Christ in these organizations. The blessings and challenges that have come with each club have uniquely shaped my college experience,” Nelson said.

Each summer, Nelson volunteers as a counselor at a camp for children with chronic illnesses in Wichita. She also has given back to the community through many different organizations in Manhattan.

Many people have been there for Nelson throughout her college experience to support her and encourage her.

“From my parents, to my siblings, to my Theta sisters, and so many others, my college experience would be nothing without the love, support, and guidance I have been given,” Nelson said.

Nelson chose Theta because of the honest conversations she had with the women. Since then, Theta has given her the support she needs to thrive academically, professionally, and as a leader.

“I love the women I met in Theta and the memories I have made with them,” Nelson said. “I have found people who share my nerdy sense of humor, go on random food runs with me, dance on the tables at 2 AM, sit with me in class, and know my life better than I do.”

Here are some fun facts about Leah Nelson!

  • Her favorite soda is Dr. Pepper
  • Her favorites memories are from K-State football games
  • She is taking the MCAT this summer and applying for medical school
  • She will be the president of the Delta Eta chapter next year, and will be representing Delta Eta at Grand Convention in Orlando, Florida this summer
  • She is tutor for student athletes on campus
  • She is currently reading a book about anti-gravity and she can’t put it down!
  • The last one was a joke

Meet Taylor Duff

Taylor Duff is a sophomore majoring in animal science. With her animal science degree, she wants to be a veterinarian. ​​
“As a kid I always wanted to be a vet, and as I continued through high school I realized becoming a vet was a real possibility,” Duff said. “I absolutely fell in love with the profession and can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”​
On campus, Duff is involved in the running club as well as Theta. Through these organizations, she has met many different people.
“I’ve gotten to meet so many people outside of my major and am constantly reminded that it’s okay to take a break from studying whether it’s running or watching Netflix on a Thursday night eating Chef T’s queso,” Duff said.​
Someone who has made a difference for Duff is her academic advisor, Teresa Douthit.
“Even though I never know where my life is going when I go to see her, I always come out feeling very reassured and confident,” Duff said.​
Duff chose Theta because she had easy conversations on preference day and felt relaxed on the most stressful day of recruitment week.
“Theta has been an essential part of forming friendships at K-State,” Duff said. “Theta has surrounded me amazing people and given me the opportunities to do what I love with a strong support system.”

Here are some fun facts about Taylor Duff!
• She taught herself to juggle
• She recently signed up to volunteer with Purple PAWS
• Her favorite Sonic drink is a Powerade slush
• Her dream job is being a princess at Disney World!

Meet Kelli Ward

Kelli Ward is a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering. She chose this major because she has always loved solving problems and taking things apart to figure out how they work. Her grandfather also majored in engineering at K-State.

“I see being an engineer as a chance to use the talents I’ve been given to tangibly benefit society,” Ward said.

Ward has enjoyed being involved in Theta this semester, and she is planning on joining a design team through the College of Engineering soon.

“I’m excited to get involved in a design team or something else with engineering because I’m sure it will give me a lot of good hands-on experience to see what I enjoy doing in terms of possible future careers,” Ward said.

Primary recruitment can be stressful for most women, but Ward found somewhere she felt comfortable and welcome at Theta. Her involvement in Theta has helped ease the transition to college.

“Theta has given me a second family and a home away from home,” Ward said. “I know that if I ever want someone’s company, even if it’s just for a Walmart run, my sisters are there for me.”

Here are some fun facts about Kelli Ward!

  • Her favorite K-State memories so far have been at football games.
  • Her favorite Sonic drink is peach green tea.
  • She has worked with foster kids the last two summers!

Meet Alaycia Ryan

Alaycia Ryan is a senior majoring in food science. She chose this major because she wanted to be in the College of Agriculture, but was not exactly interested in plants, animals, or business. After speaking to someone she looks up to about food science, she became interested.

“As soon as I found out we get to make cookies in class, I was sold,” Ryan said. “I like learning about food in a new way and I love sharing what I have learned with others.”

Ryan’s dream job is to be an auditor for food production facilities.

“Even though going through an audit can be stressful for employees, it can be very beneficial identifying any errors in their production can be found and corrected. Ultimately, I would feel very accomplished knowing that I am helping ensure the safety of the food people eat every day,” Ryan said.

On campus, Ryan is involved in the Food Science Institute, the Kansas Value Added Food Lab, and the College of Agriculture. Through these experiences, she has met many people with similar interests as her.

“Surrounding myself with people that have similar goals and interests has been very beneficial for me,” Ryan said. “They encourage and inspire me to do my best and try do the same for others.”

Someone who has positively impacted Ryan’s college experience is a food sciences professor, Dr. Aramouni. Ryan had the opportunity to take some of his classes and work for him.

“He is the most generous person I have ever met, and he really cares about his students and their success,” Ryan said.

Ryan chose Theta after a special conversation with a friend on preference day. Emily Beneda, the woman that encouraged Ryan to pursue food science, told Ryan about her Theta experience, and Ryan was sold. Since then, Theta has given Ryan perspective and many women to call not only her sisters, but also her friends.

“In Theta, I am surrounded by friends with different backgrounds, opinions, interests, and personalities. I have learned so much from them and I am so thankful for their sisterhood,” Ryan said.

Here are some fun facts about Alaycia Ryan!

  • Her favorite Sonic drink is a cranberry Sprite
  • She is graduating in December and will be working in quality assurance and food safety at a meat processing facility
  • Her hobbies include watching movies, crocheting, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts
  • Her favorite K-State memory is watching Sky High in the Theta dining room during finals week

Meet Ellie Ward

Ellie Ward is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education in Earth Science and minoring in Dance. She chose these curriculums because she has always been curious about science and she has been dancing for 17 years.

“I really enjoy working with kids and helping them learn about the world around them,” Ward said.

Ward has been a member of the K-State Tap Ensemble since her freshman year. She is also involved in research in the dance program.

“In the K-State Tap Ensemble I get to spend time dancing and improving my skills with some great friends I’ve meet there!” Ward said.

Along with her dance activities, Ward is an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). She also volunteers at Marlatt Elementary School helping kids improve their reading abilities.

One of Ward’s friends that has made college more fun is Krista Everhart. Everhart and Ward met as new members in Theta.

“She was my first friend in Theta and she was my person to go to events with and watch movies on Friday nights with!” Ward said.

Ward chose Theta because she connected with the women and felt that she could be herself in Theta.

“Theta has given me a support group of amazing friends that will always be there for me no matter what kind of day I have,” Ward said. “It has given me a true home away from home.”

Here are some fun facts about the amazing and talented Ellie Ward!

  • She is obsessed with Disney, Halloween, and Supernatural
  • Her favorite Sonic drink is a Diet Cherry Limeade
  • She is auditioning for a character role at Disney World this summer!

Meet Sami Jansen

Sami Jansen is a freshman majoring Animal Science, Pre-vet. Jansen will be inducted into the early admission program later this month. She wants to get more involved with the vet school after her induction because she knows the early admission program will offer her many opportunities. Jansen has said that she has always wanted to be a veterinarian.

“I started shadowing when I was fourteen to make sure it was something I had a passion for. Shadowing with local vets (many of them being K-State alum) definitely put me on the right path early,” Jansen said.

Jansen mentioned that her big in Theta, Emily Francis, has made a significant impact during her first few months of college. Francis was her bid day buddy and is also an RA at Wefald, where Jansen currently resides.

“She [Francis] really is like my mom away from home and is always including me in activities and more importantly she takes me on target runs to buy fanny packs and sticky notes. She has been so supportive and it has been really nice having someone I can turn to for anything,” Jansen said.

Theta felt like home to Jansen ever since her first visit. She said that everyone was so
welcoming and she has been able to create many meaningful connections.

“I will always remember that when I ran to the house on bid night, multiple members who talked to me during recruitment remembered me and welcomed me home. The Theta community is one of the main reasons I chose Theta. It was also really important to me that I find a sorority that values academics and I found that in Theta. Many women in Theta genuinely want to excel academically and want to help their sisters excel as well,” Jansen said.

Here are some fun facts about Sami!
1. She is from Lenexa, Kansas.
2. Her favorite sonic drink is the classic Cherry Limeade!
3. She got early admission to the early admissions program for the KSU Veterinary College. (That is super rare!)
4. She wants to do something with veterinary medicine that has a humanitarian aspect.
5. She was a girl scout for 13 years!

Meet Lizzy Martino

Lizzy Martino is a senior majoring in biology. Her goal is to serve and impact people, especially in foreign countries. On campus, she is involved in Christian Challenge, Chinese Club, Worship Team, and Virology Club, as well as serving as a LIFE Group Leader and researcher in the Department of Biology. She has also helped her community by volunteering and fundraising for FOCUS. Martino is thankful for these experiences as they have allowed her to grow as a leader and develop her problem-solving skills.

“These organizations have given me mentors who challenged, encouraged, and grew me, as well as community to support and sharpen me,” Martino said.

Someone who has impacted Martino’s college experience is Jodi Pribyl, a woman on staff with Christian Challenge. Martino admires her relationships with others and her wisdom. Another person who has impacted Martino is her big, JoLynn Hennerberg.

“JoLynn has challenged me to be selfless, humble, and intentional,” Martino said. “Also, she has made me love swing dancing and cows more than I would have otherwise!”

Martino chose Theta because she felt that she could be herself around the women. She stayed in Theta because she met women that made her feel that Theta was a place she could grow, learn from others, and gain different perspectives.

“Theta has given me the most amazing friends, challenged me to strive to high ideals, and the diversity and genuineness in Theta has expanded, stretched, and humbled me in many ways that I’m so thankful for!” Martino said.

Here are some fun facts about the lovely Lizzy Martino!

  1. She’s left-handed
  2. She has performed in Carnegie Hall with the KSU Choir
  3. She lived in East Asia two summers ago
  4. She is getting married this summer and moving to Seattle
  5. She loves Kappa Alpha Theta!

21st Annual WildKAT Chase 5k!

The Women of Kappa Alpha Theta are proud to present the 21st annual WildKAT Chase 5k! This event will be October 1st, 2017 beginning at 10:00 A.M. at the Kansas State University Student Union. We welcome all to participate in a 5k run/walk to support  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

CASA is an organization that supports children in the court system at no fault of their own. It costs approximately $1,000 to support one child with a CASA every year. Last year, we were able to raise a total of $17,742 and this year we are trying to help even more CASA kids!

If you are interested in participating in this year’s WildKAT Chase, registration is $20 and includes a t-shirt. You may contact any Theta or go online at to register. We hope to see you there and thank you for supporting CASA!

Meet Jill Seidl

Jill Seidl is a junior studying criminology with minors in leadership studies and business. Her dream job is being an FBI agent.

“I’m really interested in what motivates people to commit crimes and investigating those crimes,” Seidl said.

On campus, Seidl is involved in the criminology club. This organization gives her the opportunity to meet people who have similar interests as her and to explore career opportunities. Seidl is also involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in Manhattan.

Someone who has positively impacted Seidl’s college experience is her big, Danielle Shirley.

“From the moment I joined theta she’s been so upbeat, fun and motivating in every aspect of my life and we’ve grown to be super close friends!” Seidl said.

Seidl chose Theta because she felt comfortable being herself around the women and she felt that she could make lifelong friends in Theta.

“Theta has given me a support system and a place to call home,” Seidl said. “It’s given me opportunities to get involved with an awesome philanthropy and meet people who share common values and goals with me.”

Meet Taylor Barker

Taylor Barker is a sophomore majoring in social work and minoring in leadership studies. Her dream job is to work in the foster system and help kids find their forever home.

“I chose social work because I love people and ever since I was little I have had a passion to help others, especially kids,” Barker said. “I chose leadership studies as a minor because I had many leadership roles in high school and I wanted to continue to develop my leadership skills in college.”

Barker spends some of her free time getting involved in Christian Challenge and volunteering at her church youth group in her hometown. She recently became a part of the Big Brother Big Sisters program in Manhattan.

“Being involved in Challenge has brought me closer to my sisters as well as in my faith,” Barker said. “I am in the process of getting a little in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and I am excited to have a positive impact on a child’s life.”

Someone who has positively influenced Barker’s college experience is her freshman year roommate, Daelyn Smith. They were randomly assigned as roommates, and still regularly go on coffee dates and study together.

“She’s someone who is always encouraging me to do the best I can possibly do, she supports me in all my decisions, and she is always there whenever I need her,” Barker said.

Since she is an only child, Barker had never known what it was like to have a sister. Now that she is in Theta, she said that she loves having sisters who truly care about her and have her best interest at heart.

“Coming to college, I didn’t really know what to expect but I knew I wanted to be involved. Getting involved in Theta has been the best decision I have ever made. The bonds I have made with my sisters are unbreakable and they will be my friends for life,” Barker said.

On game days, you can find her cheering on the ‘Cats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium!

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