Welcome to the first volume of Shining Sisters! Tune in every Monday for an Officer Spotlight followed by two other girls’ stories of how they’re spreading their sparkle within and beyond our chapter. There’s something special about sharing our passions, struggles, and successes that makes sisterhood so sweet; this series is designed to help us grow in community by getting to know and love our sisters just a little bit more.
Let’s start off with a little insight into the mind of our fearless leader Emory DeVolder as she shares her words of wisdom on life, hard work, and serving as our President.
“It is empowering to know you have made an impact in someone’s life. To me, it means I have done my job. I am fortunate to say this is how I go through both my everyday life, and also how I aim to serve as President of my favorite organization on campus.
My sisters in Alpha Delta Pi help me to improve each and every day. It is with their encouragement that I have been able to have the best two and a half years of my life so far at Clemson. I wanted each of my sisters to feel as empowered as they have made me feel, which drove the conversation as I worked with the rest of our fabulous Executive Committee and advisors to craft a vision statement and phrase that is always in our minds as we make decisions. We decided on “Be Brave. Be Bold. Be Better.” When my term as President comes to an end, I want every single member of this chapter to feel empowered to be their best self and know they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to. This phrase is just the beginning; it sets our tone for the year. We are here to be better as individuals and support our sisters to do the same.
It is one of the most amazing feelings to be working towards your own goals and cheering on your best friends to achieve theirs at the same time. I was able to attend Adelphean Compass, one of ADPi’s signature leadership conferences, this past January and I especially loved hearing a talk centered around the phrase “You shine, I shine.” We all shine brighter when encouraging others and I have seen that first hand throughout my crazy internship search process. I’ll be spending my summer in New York City interning at Havas Media. I am excited to combine my love for data and analytics with my love for being creative. On a trip to Marshall’s with my roommates the night before the start of this semester, I found a canvas that read “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” I brought it home with me because this quote from Nelson Mandela really resonated with my nerves for the semester and year ahead. We simply have to make a goal and get there. Forget all the background noise and focus on what you need to do to get there. There is nothing stopping us from achieving our biggest dreams except ourselves. Make no excuses, have no regrets, and love life because it is quite a special thing.” – Emory DeVolder, AC ‘16
Fun Facts About Emory:
- Top 3 songs on repeat? (1) Somethin’ Bad (my bestie and I like to think we’re Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood) (2) anything by Ariana Grande (3) Apple Music’s “The A-List: Country” playlist as I literally pray for warmer weather
- Favorite childhood trend? All things sequin and sparkles! Yes, I definitely miss my years of shopping at Justice
- Who are your role models? Elle Woods, Barbie, Tory Burch, forever and always my incredible parents
- Celebrity crush? Zac Efron tbh
Rachel Shaughnessy is a sister whose sparkle is spanning storefronts! Rachel and her hometown bestie Maggie Varn founded VALE Designs in 2015, a trendy and affordable jewelry company where pieces are made by hand and ingrained with immense love and care.
“We actually didn’t plan on becoming entrepreneurs at all! We started making jewelry for our friends for fun, and people liked what we made. We saw other companies selling on Instagram, and we decided to start doing the same. We started out small, got loans from our dads, bought a few materials, and sold a few items every week. As time went on, we started to get more and more orders and we’ve come a long way since! Our mission statement now is to create affordable, trendy jewelry that is easy to access. We have grown so much since we started and we are so thankful to our customers for that. This year, we are hoping to get our products into some new stores and spread our brand to some new cities and college campuses.
I have learned so much through this process, but I would say one main thing is taking charge of a situation at hand. Even though we started young, we’ve had to be professional in figuring out analytics, sales taxes, price margins, etc. One of the biggest challenges is juggling all parts of the business. For us, this means designing new jewelry in time for the upcoming season, ordering supplies, taking pictures and marketing well on social media, keeping our website up to date, filling orders, keeping track of our accounting and paying taxes, answering emails, meeting girls for local pickup, and preparing for any upcoming trunk shows or promotions. It’s hard balancing all of this because we are also full time students. It gets stressful sometimes, but we work really well as a team.
It’s so rewarding seeing people wear our jewelry and love it. Customers will email us and say that they gave a necklace as a gift and that it was a hit or that they told their friend in another state about us. Receiving a complimentary email from a customer is a daymaker and it makes all the hustle worth it!” – Rachel Shaughnessy, AC ‘17
Fun Facts about Rachel:
- #1 thing on your bucket list? Ride a camel in Morocco
- Go-to throwback jam? Breakout by Miley Cyrus
- Favorite movie? Parent trap
Katherine Darden shares what fuels her fire for fellowship and friendship with high school girls through her experience as a part of Tri-County Young Life.
“I became a Young Life leader because of my experience with Young Life in high school. I didn’t realize it until later on but I couldn’t imagine why a college kid would want to come to my high school football games, chorus concerts, put on skits for us weekly, open the Bible with high schoolers, get coffee with me, then care about my life even after I graduated and want nothing in return. My leaders were a picture of Jesus to me and I loved the idea of walking into a high school to just be friends with girls, wanting to spend time with them and be a consistent part of their lives when high school can be so overwhelming and lonely.
Most Young Life leaders find a way to get involved at their school to meet people so I asked to help out with the musical Camp Rock that Walhalla was putting on. The choir teacher ended up asking me to actually be in the musical because they needed more people. This was a little unconventional but hands down my favorite moment of leading thus far. I got to meet some of my best friends at the school by going to musical practice three times a week -- they are the most fun, keep me young, and I love getting to hear about what’s going on in their lives even if they don’t come to Young Life on Mondays. Watching them slowly trust me as a confidant and become my favorite people to be around made me really happy.
Leading has taught me that I’m not as cool as I thought I was. I’ve been stretched to be more bold and to keep pursuing these friendships even when they act like they could care less about my presence. I’ve been humbled to realize that everything good in me is Jesus. The most fulfilling feeling is any time my friend runs up to me in the school and tells me she’s missed me then tells me about her day because she sees Jesus in me somehow and I can’t believe I get to play a part in her life, even just a teeny tiny one. Consistency and perseverance is what produces great friendships with high schoolers, and we all have different strengths to reach different people.” - Katherine Darden, AC ‘17
Fun Facts about Katherine:
- If you could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be? Emma Stone, really just wanna be her friend
- Spirit animal? Nala in the Lion King
- Top 3 things on your bucket list? (1) visit Ireland, (2) drive from Washington to Southern California with friends and make stops along the way, (3) see a concert at Red Rocks
Keep up with us every week to see more "Shining Sisters" as we share the stories behind the smiles that make us who we are!