the Delta Gamma Blog

2023 Members of Impact

Delta Gammas do incredible things every day – whether in their careers, through volunteer work, or just by being awesome humans. To celebrate our members and tell their inspiring stories, the Member of Impact recognition program selects honorees on a quarterly basis. We are excited to share the first recipients of the Member of Impact recognition program.

To learn more about the Member of Impact program, click here.

To nominate a sister for next quarter, click here.

For questions or more information, please contact Fraternity Director: Alumnae Engagement, Dr. Melissa Thompson, Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State, at

Christy Carter, Delta Nu-Northern Illinois, and member of Chicago West Suburban alumnae chapter, is a part of a unique program hosted by Northwestern University called Northwestern Prison Education Program. It is the only bachelor's degree-granting program for incarcerated students offered by a top ten university. Christy was selected to serve as an educator for the program and spent 16 weeks in Stateville Prison teaching speech communication and public speaking. According to Christy, the program and her involvement were truly transformative. “This program not only reduces recidivism but it also creates hope and provides the students with meaningful opportunities.” After they graduate, Christy often writes recommendation letters or character references for her former students to assist their legal teams with reducing their sentences.

Raquel dos Santos, Eta Zeta-Chicago, is majoring in biological sciences with a specialization in genetics, minor in health and society, and plans to attend medical school after graduation. While in college, her philanthropy work in Delta Gamma inspired her to keep “doing good” by co-founding a student-run nonprofit organization called Scientella. The organization seeks to promote greater youth, female, and minority involvement in STEM fields by matching students with real-world career discovery experiences, impact-minded leadership development opportunities, and scholarships. To date, Scientella has impacted more than 500 middle and high school girls, completed more than 900 matches, engaged more than 60 professionals, raised $150,000 in donations and holds 15 active high school chapters globally. Raquel’s hope is that “by immersing young girls in these opportunities, they are empowered to pursue fields that desperately require increased female representation in order to shape an inclusive and diverse future of science for the better, ultimately equipping them to “do good” in all aspects of their lives.”

Sueli Gwiazdowski, Alpha Eta-Whitman, calls on her experiences as a Disabled, first-gen working-class, Latina, queer student to affect change across her campus. She is the founder and president of Whitman College’s first-ever Disability Affinity Group, called DISCO and has dedicated each summer of her college career to public service. Sueli spent one year as a law fellow at the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, & Innovation at Loyola Law School and was awarded the 2022 Huemann-Armstrong Award recognizing her advocacy work. Her nominator, Marleigh Anderson, Alpha Eta-Whitman, says of Sueli’s work on campus, especially her working to make their chapter room wheelchair accessible, “she makes our campus, our Fraternity, and the world a better place.” In her term as chapter president, Sueli successfully advocated for the purchase of an off-campus property that will be the first off-campus home for panhellenic women in Whitman College’s history. It is set to open in fall 2024, and thanks to Sueli’s advocacy work, it is wheelchair accessible. 

Laura Rudge Peterson, Gamma Epsilon-Kent State, and member of Atlanta alumnae chapter, is a natural interviewer and storyteller. Recently, she has become involved with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit with a mission to help us believe in each other by illuminating the humanity and possibility in us all — one story at a time. Laura, with the help of fellow alumna Carol Harman, Delta Iota-Georgia, chooses people (most are Delta Gamma alumnae so far) and records their stories, shining a light on their contributions to Delta Gamma and beyond. Once published with StoryCorps, the stories are then stored in the Library of Congress. Her nominator, Joanna Shook, Alpha Upsilon-Southern Methodist, says of Laura, “her ability to connect with people of all ages, to get them to talk about themselves and shine a light of love and recognition has been truly remarkable. Even if someone doesn't believe they have anything special to offer, by Laura having them share their story, she is showing them that they do.” Laura is an incredible champion for people who otherwise might not be heard.

Dana Rivera, Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State, and member of Acadiana alumnae association, spearheaded a family fundraising effort to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in honor of her late son Parker, who died in 2015 at age 15. After his cancer diagnosis, she established Team Parker, an organization that has raised more than $300,000 through local fundraisers in the Lafayette, Louisiana, area in the last ten years. While supporting the place and people who gave their family extra time with Parker, she also is a force for good by volunteering for the American Cancer Society, Junior League, Faith House, and Festival International, among many others. Outside of her volunteer work, she was also named Teacher of the Year at Broadmoor Elementary.

Britt Royal, Alpha Epsilon-Washington, and member of Saint Louis Area alumnae chapter, grew up reading cookbooks and spending time in the kitchen baking for others. Used as both a stress reliever and a creative outlet, she jumped at the chance to open her own bakery. Having been diagnosed as gluten intolerant 12 years ago, she wanted her bakery to focus on menu transparency, an open-kitchen concept, and a contamination-free environment. In her own words, “We all deserve good cake,” and this motto is a driving force behind her successful business, necessitating expansions in both staff and offerings. For people with dietary restrictions, intolerances or allergies, her bakery is more than just a sweet treat. It is a place where they feel safe and accepted. 

Jennifer Surgalski, Zeta Sigma-Northern Kentucky, and member of Dallas alumnae chapter, is living our do good motto. As veteran leader for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Jennifer has been at the forefront of some of the most innovative business partnerships and strategic projects within the sports industry. Among those include her contributions to the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, working to preserve the legacies of Medal of Honor recipients, those who have received our nation’s high recognition for valor in combat while defending our freedoms. What began in a volunteer capacity led to the Foundation naming her Chief of Strategy, where she passionately contributes business expertise to its key initiatives – opening a national museum in Texas, establishing a monument in Washington, D.C., and creating a leadership institute promoting the values of courage and sacrifice, commitment and integrity, and patriotism and citizenship for generations to come. Her nominator, Leslie Dorris, Zeta Sigma-Northern Kentucky, says of Jennifer, “She is a true advocate for Medal of Honor recipients and the values they exemplified while bravely serving our nation.” You can learn more about the difference she is making in the areas of branding, business strategy, fundraising, museum design, and milestone events by following her work on LinkedIn.