Chelsea Nwankwo, Southeastern OSU 2012
National Advisor

Education & Occupation: Bachelor of Science in Biology for Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I plan on attending Graduate School for either epidemiology or physician assistant. I currently work full time at a daycare/learning center while I prepare for graduate school.

Family: I am really family orientated, so I do interact with my grandmother, my aunts, my uncles, my mother, my sister, my niece, and my cousins on a daily basis. My mother is awesome and the strongest person I know, she is currently engaged and planning a wedding. My sister is the total opposite of me, but at the end of the day, we have each other’s back. My niece, on the other hand, is already proving to be a mini me (which I secretly love).

Influences: My mother, my family, my grandmother, my teachers, my college advisors, my friends, and all the girls who look up to me

Favorite CK Memory: My favorite CK memory would have to be the 2011 Cardinal Key National Conference. I really enjoyed sharing my chapter’s highlights and traditions and learning about other chapters. I also enjoyed meeting new people who have a common interest with me. It was an amazing experience that I could have never imagined before I became a part of Cardinal Key.

Reason for joining the Board: I really loved being a part of Cardinal Key in my own chapter at Southeastern. I even served as an officer for most of my time in Cardinal Key. When I was asked to step in as the National Parliamentarian, I loved serving on the national level just as much as the local level. I even decided to return as the National Parliamentarian. I want to share what I have learned in Cardinal Key, to help instill our virtues in my own and everyone’s life I touch, and to help chapters fully under what Cardinal Key means to them.

Favorite Quotation: “We make a living by what we make. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

Passion: Music, bubble baths, horror movies, God, learning, leading, ice cream, crafts, mail, serving, photography, teaching, fun, shopping, laughing, and loving

Favorite Color: I love all colors, but right now I’m really partial to turquoise, peach, and purple.

Favorite Song: Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars. I love this song because it’s so empowering for natural beauty. Also, my niece loves it when I sing this song to her!

Favorite Food/ Meal: I have a few, but if I had to choose only one it would be a barbecue pull pork sandwich and a big ole’ glass of sweet tea!


Gretchen Perez, Truman State University 2009
National Advisor

Education & Occupation: I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and then my Master’s Degree in Special Education at Truman State University.  Since graduating I have take many classes to continue my education and further my career.  I have take classes to receive educational endorsements in Middle School Math and English as a Second Language.

Family: In the summer of 2015 I married my wonderful husband Joe Perez.  We have been enjoying our first year of marriage in the suburbs of Chicago with many adventures.  I love spending time with all my family and am lucky to live close to them! My parents  have been a constant support which I am so grateful for.  I am the oldest of my siblings;  I have a younger brother and two younger sisters.  Spending time with my siblings is one of my favorite pastimes.  We love to play sports/games and pretty much compete in everything that we do.

Occupation: I am an 8th Grade Special Education Teacher.  Yes, really.  I co-teach 8th grade math in Romeoville, IL.  Teaching middle school is rewarding because I feel like the kids are at a really influential stage and are in need of people to believe in them, help them learn, and care about their well-being.  Middle school was not a positive experience for me so I love working in a middle school to try and make each child’s experience better than mine.  Plus, middle school students are weird and funny-they make me laugh and drive me crazy everyday.  I always come home with the best stories.

Influences: My little sisters.  They inspire me to be a better version of myself.  They bring out the side of me that I like best.

Favorite CK Memory: When I was in Cardinal Key during college my favorite service activity was highway clean-up.  Everyone always thought I was goofy for choosing picking up trash as my favorite service activity.  However, the reason picking up trash had a special place in my heart was growing up my parents and I would kayak around a lake in Wisconsin where we have a lake house and pick up trash out of the water.

Reason for joining the Board: I loved Cardinal Key while in college for the service and relationships with quality women that I developed.  I wanted to help serve the organization and keep Cardinal Key in my life.  The good company keeps me coming back!

Favorite Quotation: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15: 12-13

Passion: Loving and serving God and people.

Favorite vacation or dream vacation: My favorite vacation that I have actually been on was to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  It was beautiful and we had so many fun experiences staying on both Maui and Oahu.  We went deep sea fishing, did lots of snorkeling, learned to surf, and hiked to waterfalls. Each night we enjoyed finding little restaurants on the ocean and eating fresh fish.

What relaxes you?: Spending time at my family’s lake house kayaking, water-skiing, paddle boarding, and playing cards.  I love that I get to see all my immediate and extended family most weekends during the summer. I also enjoy reading my guilty pleasures (young adult books haha).

Favorite food or meal: I love Mexican food and it worked out well that I married someone who also loves Mexican and makes great tacos.


Stefanie Zahourek, Wayne State College 2009
National Advisor

Education & Occupation: I received my undergraduate degree in Speech Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Organizational Leadership from Wayne State College in 2009.  In 2012, I received a Masters of Arts in Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Training and Development from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  I hold a Wilderness First Responder certification and I am currently taking doctoral courses at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Family: I grew up in a small town with my immediate family (parents, two brothers, and sister), some of my extended family, and all four of my grandparents.  That family is always ever expanding and exploring.  Some of my favorite times are spent with my grandparents, niece, and nephews.

Occupation:  I am an instructional design technology specialist for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Influences: People pursuing their passion, specifically when it entails the betterment of others or themselves, the outdoors, or serving as a positive influence.  My grandparents, Les and Lois Von Seggern, embody it and so much more.  They have served as key inspiration for a variety of facets of my life.

Favorite CK Memory: All the conferences and board meetings.  I love getting together with such wonderful individuals.

Reason for joining the Board: I wanted to be a part of the bigger picture to assist more chapters and make a larger, lasting impact.

Favorite Quotation: Too many to list


  • Leading a life of service- Helping people from physical work to learning something new

  • Outdoors

  • Learning- New information and acquiring different skills and experiences

Favorite simple pleasure: Exploring, being outside/ active, a good conversation, or helping someone

Favorite vacation or dream vacation: Backpacking, bikepacking, river trips, exploring foreign countries or even a new place in general

  • Photos?

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