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Sisterhood lives! UCOP staffer doubles as award-winning sorority advisor

She joined Alpha Phi to help get her through a rough patch as a sophomore at UC Irvine, and the chapter house and sisterhood soon became her home away from home.

Evelyn Cheng, now an analyst in UCOP’s Office of Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services (ECAS), has maintained her connection with Alpha Phi sorority by volunteering for the past three years as an advisor for the UC Berkeley chapter. Those efforts were recognized last month when she received the 2012 Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award, given every other year to the top advisor from 157 Alpha Phi collegiate chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“I never thought I would be in a sorority,” Cheng said, “but when I joined, the older members helped me so much with prioritizing, time management and organizing my class schedule and professors.” She also learned a lot about loyalty and listening, she said, and came to value the history and legacy behind the sorority: Alpha Phi was founded at Syracuse University in 1872 by 10 women pioneering alongside male classmates for their higher education rights.

Cheng’s positive, can-do attitude is well suited to her analyst work at UCOP, according to Claudia White, special assistant to the ECAS senior vice president and Cheng’s supervisor. Since joining the staff one year ago, White said, Cheng has been a great addition to the office, where work is often done in teams.

“Evelyn is a real team player,” White said. “She is always quick to raise her hand and get involved, so you can see why she’s so successful at Alpha Phi.” At OP Cheng is now heavily immersed in collecting data for the 2011–12 Ethics and Compliance Annual Report, which summarizes campus activities in safety, data privacy, investigations, research compliance, whistleblower reports and other areas.

With her degree in sociology and education, she still harbors hopes of finding a career as a high school counselor, but for now plans to continue with Alpha Phi until she “runs out of juice.” What she calls her second job involves up to 10 hours a week of meetings, phone calls, visits to the chapter house at 2830 Bancroft Steps, screening new recruits in the fall and serving as a big sister to about 130 young women each year.

“You can imagine there’s plenty of excitement,” Cheng said. “But Berkeley is a great school, and these young women are great, too. I help them, they help me, and it’s a great way to experience UC.”

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