Michelle Castro, Delta Kappa - Florida International University

Greek by Trade, Phi Sig by Choice

Looking to thank someone for our 'higher profile' image in the Greek world? See Michelle Castro

August 17, 2009

It’s nearly impossible to describe the reaction of alumna Michelle Castro upon learning she’d been named the very first recipient of Phi Sigma Sigma's new Interfraternal Service Award.

Michelle, 30, of Miami – hailing from our Delta Kappa Chapter at Florida International University – didn’t even know she’d been nominated, so she was floored by news she’d won.

“I was literally speechless,” she says of the highly prestigious honor which recognizes sisters or non-members who have – through their volunteer and professional work in the Greek world – brought honor, distinction and prestige to our Fraternity. (Note: Very few people internationally are actually eligible for such an accolade, which is what makes it so special.) Adds Michelle: “I was truly honored and very, very moved!”

And very, very deserving, as even the briefest review of her extraordinary interfraternal experiences and career makes clear.

Professional powerhouse

Currently, Michelle serves in a dual role as Assistant Dean of Students and Coordinator for Greek Affairs at University of Miami, where she supports 32 different fraternal organizations (especially in judicial processes), advises the collegiate Panhellenic Council and assists with leadership programming.

She is also the Associate Executive Director for the Rho Lambda National Sorority Leadership Society, the main office of which is based on this campus. Not surprisingly, she herself was inducted into this very honor society when she was a collegian at FIU, where she also participated in student government and multiple leadership positions on the Panhellenic council (ultimat
ely becoming its president – an early glimpse of her commitment to Greek excellence).

A long-time Phi Sig volunteer, Michelle also provides invaluable leadership and Greek training to other organizations, such as Chi Phi’s College of Excellence and Beta Theta Pi’s Wooden Institute - and has been named one of the very first facilitators of an exciting new partnership between the National Panhellenic Conference and CAMPUSPEAK called "Advance Panhellenic!" that's designed to create stronger NPC communities on campuses internationally. Understand: She’s invited as a guest and friend of these organizations to help train their members – that’s how good she is, and how well respected in the greater Greek world.

But these are only a few highlights from Michelle’s impressive career. Consider this list – which reads like a “who’s who” of Greek activities, proving just how interfraternally connected she truly is:
  • Formerly Greek Life Area Coordinator for the University of New Mexico, where she worked closely with international, national and multi-cultural fraternal organizations, creating an enviably vast network of contacts.
  • Veteran Phi Sigma Sigma volunteer, training collegians as part of our ACHIEVE Institute since this ground-breaking program was launched at Leadership Conferences in 2005 (very much an extension of her work as a chapter consultant for Phi Sig, assisting chapters internationally in 2001-2002).
  • National volunteer for the Association of Fraternity Advisors, serving on the Virtual Seminars Series Committee which helps Greek advisors internationally achieve top performance through continuing education and training (plus she chaired a committee assisting advisors during their first 90 days on the job).
  • Facilitator at the prestigious Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute of the North-American Interfraternal Conference – a 5-day program where collegiate leaders explore opportunities to embrace Greek values in their daily lives and promote them at their chapters and campuses.
  • Graduate assistant specifically assigned to manage fraternity/sorority affairs at Bowling Green State University, where she earned her College Student Personnel master’s degree.
  • House director at Bowling Green, simultaneously living in and supporting two different fraternity facilities: Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi.

Phi Sig legacy

It’s an impressive career (at a relatively young age) that anyone would be proud of – perhaps, no one more so than her own mother, June Joyce Castro, also a Phi Sig.

Indeed, in 1966, June was a founding member of our
Beta Chi Chapter at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (now inactive). Over the years, she lost touch with Phi Sigma Sigma, and when Michelle expressed interest in joining a sorority at FIU, her mom encouraged her to do so. In the end, Michelle selected Phi Sig not only because it was a top chapter on her campus, but because “it felt right” – echoing the sentiment of so many of our members over the years.

Today, mother and daughter share a special bond of sisterhood – one Michelle truly cherishes.

“If I’m proud of anything, it’s that I brought my mom back into the mix – along with receiving this very meaningful honor, of course,” she says with a laugh.

“Winning is wonderful, and yet I honestly don’t do what I do with the idea that one day I’ll be recognized for it,” she adds. “I’m genuinely happy to be behind the scenes, making a difference. I love living our Fraternity values, leaving a mark and helping others go forth to achieve great things.”

Which is precisely what makes Michelle the perfect interfraternal Phi Sigma Sigma ambassador - and a sister worthy of this exciting new award.

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Do you know an outstanding alumna who should be considered for our "100 by 100" alumna profiles? Write us at phisighq@phisigmasigma.org