POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Victoria Ruggiero is still recovering from the surprise of a lifetime.
Ruggiero was a member of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, the Marist College sorority surprised by Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday , winning a contest to see a taping of her talk show in April.
The sorority sisters all Ellen superfans and in February, Ruggiero wrote to the show about how much DeGeneres has meant to her.
"I wrote something at 1:30 a.m.," Ruggiero, a junior who majors in communications and is interning at Impact PR, said. "I never expected to get a callback. They offered to have us Skype with a producer and it ended up being Ellen. It was crazy."
When she realized she was talking to her idol, Ruggiero blacked out.
"I don't remember it," Ruggiero said. "I don't even know what I said. I am still in shock. It's so crazy that Ellen was talking to me."
Ruggiero said Degeneres and her show helped her deal with her father's battle with cancer, which is now in remission.
"I was in 4th grade and no one could understand what I was going through," Ruggiero said. "It was nice to have someone make me laugh for an hour each day. It was a great outlet for us."
The sorority has a group chat devoted to the show where they often post funny videos and pictures. Ruggiero and her sorority sisters also try to make sure they don't have class from 3 to 4 p.m. because that's when Ellen is on.
"We do the best we can," Ruggiero said. "But registering for classes is like "The Hunger Games."
Alpha Sigma Tau has been lauded for its commitment to community service, participating in Relay For Life and the St. Jude Up Til Dawn events. This year, the sorority launched a GoFundMe page to send a sorority sister's brother to London so he can take the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour. The sorority has raised almost $5,000.
"It feels great to give back," Ruggiero said. "Ellen has inspired us in that regard. It is such a great feeling to do something nice for someone else."
The show gifted the sorority with a table to play flip cup on, but it didn't last very long.
"We fell on it and cracked it," Ruggiero said. "The table is already broken. They said they would send us a new one."
Ruggiero said she has no idea what's in store for her when she goes to California for the first time. If she gets to meet DeGeneres, she said she would simply thank her for all she's done.
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