2021 character counts essay contest winners

Collegiate Winners:

1st: Cindy Nguyen, Zeta Psi, The College of New Jersey 

Cindy Nguyen is a senior accounting major with a marketing minor at The College of New Jersey. She is currently the treasurer for the Zeta Psi chapter of Tri Sigma. Her other on-campus involvement includes being the vice president of Women in Business, treasurer for Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, and working for her school’s Office of Grants and Research. During her free time, she loves to spend time with her family, read, and do various arts and crafts. Upon graduation, Cindy plans to start working for a public accounting firm in Philadelphia and work towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Click here to read the essay.  


2nd: Caitlin McCollom, Epsilon Chi, Northeastern University 

Caitlin McCollom is a fourth-year nursing major at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a member of the Epsilon Chi chapter of Tri Sigma and has served as honor council chair, honor council goals coordinator, and ritual chair. In the greater Panhellenic community, she served as a Rho Gamma during recruitment and is a member of the Order of Omega on campus. Aside from fraternal life, she is involved in Army ROTC, Northeastern Student Nurses Association, is a brand ambassador for Margaritaville University, and has and part-time job in a Medical ICU at a major hospital in the city. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree next year, Caitlin will be commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Army to work as an Army Nurse, and she aspires to eventually go back to school to become a midwife. Click here to read the essay.


3rd: Lauren Lopez, Alpha Mu, University of Louisiana at Lafayette 

Lauren Lopez is a sophomore majoring in Business Management at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is a member of the Alpha Mu Chapter of Tri Sigma as she serves as the Public Relations Chair. Aside from Greek life, Lauren is involved all over campus as a member of Student Government Association, Student Orientation Staff, UL Lafayette Sales Team, Honors Program, and a Student Ambassador. In her free time, she loves to travel, hangout out with family and friends, and serve with the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana! Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Lauren plans to get her MBA and work her way up in Management at a company. Click here to read the essay. 


Alumnae Winners:

Amber Derryberry-Lesher, Eta Pi, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Denver Area Alumnae Chapter 

Amber attended Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she joined the Eta Pi Chapter in 2004. She held various roles within Tri Sigma and other organizations on campus. Amber, over time, held the positions of treasurer, vice president of new member education, and honor council. After graduating, Amber went on to join the CAB (Chapter Advisory Board) for the Eta Pi chapter in 2009 and has served as ritual, essential sigma, and honor council advisor. In 2014 she served as a regional recruitment specialist for 3 years. Recently she was appointed to the honor council support team. Amber has been able to attend many Tri Sigma events including DLI, Convention in Nashville and Chicago, and Prevention Institute.

Amber holds a degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. She has worked in community corrections for Jefferson County Human Services and is currently employed as a Service Coordinator at Rocky Mountain Human Services in the Early Intervention Department.

Amber currently lives in the Denver Metro Area and is a member of the Denver Area Alumnae Chapter. She recently finished a triennium serving as secretary. Amber enjoys being a co-leader of her daughters’ girl scout troop. Amber lives with her husband of 12 years, Chad, and their two lovely daughters. They also have a cat, Mango, and a dog, Ace. She enjoys reading, shopping, crafts, and binge-watching TV on any streaming service. Click here to read the essay.


Margaret Shepherd, Alpha Mu, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and New Orleans Alumnae Chapter 

Margaret attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she became a member of the Alpha Mu chapter of Tri Sigma in the fall of 2017. While in the chapter, Margaret served in a variety of roles, including Vice President of New Member Education in 2019 and Chapter President in 2020. The proudest moments from her collegiate years in Tri Sigma stem from being on chapter leadership teams when Alpha Mu was named Chapter of the Year for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020. Now that she has graduated, Margaret looks forward to her lifelong sisterhood in Tri Sigma and currently affiliates with the New Orleans alumnae chapter. In the spring of 2021, Margaret began the Master of Occupational Therapy program at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans and is on the road to achieving her dream of becoming an occupational therapist. When she is not studying, Margaret enjoys exploring her hometown of New Orleans, spending time at the gym, and teaching dance classes at her local dance studio. Click here to read the essay.