Meet Abby Plenge: Our January Leading Woman
Name: Abby Plenge
Major: Constitutional Democracy
Hometown: Kahoka, Missouri
What are your career/life goals?
I want to attend Law School at Mizzou, become a lawyer, and eventually become a judge. On top of that, travel a lot, be strong in my faith, and raise a wonderful family!
What is your favorite part about your major and why did you choose it?
I love how I get to blaze my own path in Constitutional Democracy through the Kinder Institute. I have the opportunity to pick between four concentration areas for my degree (I picked Law & Institutions) and the Kinder Institute made the Constitutional Democracy degree very flexible, so I have many opportunities to get other degrees as well. I also have a multitude of study abroad options at my fingertips, that I intend on using. The degree program is one of the smaller ones on campus, so I get to enjoy smaller class sizes and more discussion in class because of it.
What does being Miss Columbia mean to you?
Being Miss Columbia is a way for me to grow as a person through community involvement, professional development, and investing in myself. Many people only see the glamorous side to pageants (dresses, swimsuits, hair, makeup, etc) but don’t realize that titleholders are active members of a community too. I love every opportunity I have as Miss Columbia to help in my community and make myself and our little corner of the world better because of it. Through Theta and being a part of the Miss Missouri Organization I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer in schools, attend community events, ride in the Homecoming Parade, and generally just make a positive impact in Columbia. Competing for Miss Missouri also gives me the chance to work on things that will translate to my everyday life and career like staying active, working on interview and speaking skills, developing a lifelong talent, and practicing communicating and connecting with people.
What organizations or hobbies are you passionate about?
I am coming up on my two-year volunteer anniversary with Kidsight, an organization that processes free vision screenings for children across the state. I love having the opportunity to screen at local schools and learn so much about eyesight and the community in the process. I usually try to get in 2-4 screenings a month. I am also a member of the 20/20 Lions Club in Columbia and I run a few eyeglass donation boxes in my hometown where I donate the glasses to the Show Me Lions Eyeglass Recycling Program. I think I have donated close to 500 pairs of glasses to date. In my free time, I love to work out, play piano (my Miss Missouri talent!), read, and craft. A fun fact about me is that I’ve tried numerous types of crafting: painting, sewing, beading, resin art, vinyl, woodworking, scrapbooking, graphic art, and any Pinterest craft you can think of.
How have your experiences in Theta changed you?
Many of my friends from home had amazing bonds with their sisters growing up, and I really envied that connection (though there is nothing wrong with my little brother, Aiden!) Theta has given me that loving, sisterly experience that I’ve been looking forward to, especially through the Big/Little process (love you Kylie!) I always feel like I have a home or place where I’m welcomed on campus, and any Theta I see can instantly become my best friend.
What does Theta mean to you?
Theta pushes me to be a better person every day. Being in a house with like-minded people challenges me to be a better version of myself to serve a greater purpose. Theta offers me chances for personal growth through sisterhood and philanthropy-two things that competing for Miss Missouri has also taught me to value.
Do you have any advice for future freshmen or for anyone considering participating in recruitment?
This is for my small-town girls! Coming from a graduating class of 67, I was extremely worried about how I would adjust to a campus with over 6,000 freshmen and 30,000 total students. Participating in recruitment connected me with my Pi-Chi group and still today I see many of those girls around campus. Then when I joined a sorority, I had 250 other girls who I had a connection with that I also saw all over campus. Being a part of Greek life makes this big university much smaller and helped me find my niche areas where I felt comfortable to be myself in a new place. I didn’t realize how comforting it would be to find a familiar face on campus and know that I already have connections to people I attend school with before school even started.
Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory?
One of my favorite Theta memories was our pre-initiation sleepover. A couple of days before, much of my class stayed overnight at the Theta House and we stayed up till 2 AM playing games, eating dry cereal, and getting to know each other. Then the next morning we all got up early to eat bagels and listen to advice from our seniors while watching the sunrise on Traditions Plaza. I felt very connected to my sisters at that moment.