2019 Character Counts Essay Contest Winners

Collegiate Winners:

1st Place: Haley Mosseri, Zeta Psi, The College of New Jersey

Haley Mosseri

Haley Mosseri is a senior fine art major at The College of New Jersey. She is a member of the Zeta Psi Chapter of Tri Sigma and is currently one of the community service chairs, but has served as photographer, sisterhood chair, Greek relations chair and banner chair in the past. Haley loves all types of art (painting, photography, sculpture etc), dance, playing guitar, and writing in her free time. She aspires to continue to share her stories with the world, whether it be through her art, her music or her writing.

Click here to read Haley’s essay.

2nd Place: Avery Clarke, Beta Upsilon, Penn State University

Avery is a hospitality management major at Penn State University. She is a member of the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Tri Sigma. In addition to Greek life, she is a member of The International Society for Hospitality Management (Eta Sigma Delta), the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and Casino Club. In her free time, she loves to cook, listen to podcasts, hang out with friends and watch reality tv. Her dream is to one day be a general manager of a luxury hotel in a large city.

Click here to read Avery’s essay.


3rd Place: Rachel Greene, Beta Epsilon, Western Illinois University

Rachel is a sophomore majoring in communication and minoring in event planning at Western Illinois University. She is a member of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Tri Sigma and currently serves as the education director. She is actively involved with student government, homecoming committee, the University Union Board, and dance marathon. She aspires to travel the world and to someday start her own nonprofit organization.

Click here to read Rachel’s essay.

Alumnae Winners:

Jennifer (Belmar) McKenzie, Beta Xi, Southeast Missouri State University and Greater St. Louis Area Alumnae Chapter

Jennifer (Belmar) McKenzie

Jennifer attended Southeast Missouri State University, where she joined the Beta Xi Chapter in 2004.  During her collegiate years, she served in a variety of roles including chapter president and campus Panhellenic president. She attended the inaugural Labyrinth Leadership Experience in 2012 and had the opportunity to mentor collegians at the Dunham Woman of Character Institute this past summer in St. Louis, MO. Since earning her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Arts degrees in Communication Disorders (2007, 2010), Jennifer is in her tenth year as an educational speech language pathologist in a public middle school in Jefferson County, MO. Jennifer also serves as the vice president of the Greater St. Louis Area Alumnae Chapter alongside her fellow officers and biological sisters (Christina Halim and Julie Belmar). She and her husband of eight years, Aaron reside in Imperial, MO with their two young sons (Aaron Jr., 4, and Derrick, 3).  In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys making memories with her family and Sigma sisters, watching football, and cheering on her hometown baseball and hockey teams: the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues.

Click here to read Jennifer’s essay.

Desiree Paulhamus, Alpha Omicron, University of Central Arkansas

Desiree Paulhamus

Desiree attended the University of Central Arkansas, where she joined the Alpha Omicron Chapter in 2007. As an alumna, she has remained a steadfast volunteer since college, serving in various roles from recruitment advisor to a member of the program team to Arkansas state day committee. Currently, she works as the director of Communications and Chapter Fundraising for the Tri Sigma Foundation and volunteers as an alumnae book club administrator. Her investment in Greek life continues beyond Tri Sigma, including serving as a facilitator each summer for the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) hosted by the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and in committee roles with the Foundation of Fraternal Excellence (FFE). Additionally, her community involvement has included her local Kiwanis Club, president of her local young professionals network, and active member of her Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and enjoying the theater. She and her partner Justin reside in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with their two dogs, Max and Dexter.

Click here to read Desiree’s essay.