October 2017 / by Bryan Leach

Fundraising Success at Pie-A-Psi

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Philanthropy fundraising started off with a bang this October, as Pie-a-Psi reached an all time high for the Omega Alpha Chapter. Both brothers and other University of Delaware students had a blast throwing plates of whipped cream in each other’s faces on the Trabant patio. For $2 a pie, the event had an outstanding turnout in just a few short hours. Additionally, it was a perfect way for the pledges to not only hang out with brothers, but to also support a great cause.

 “Pie-a-Psi is such a great opportunity for brothers to come together and show our commitment to bettering the community around us. Every semester, it’s a time when the brothers bond with each other and our new pledges, which is also great to see. This semester, we raised a little over $300 to donate to our philanthropies: Lazarus Rising, the Boys and Girls Club, and UDance.” said Amanda Flores, Vice President of Finance. It was truly exciting to see how many people are willing to help out and contribute to the event.

“There is a lot of work that goes on before Pie-a-Psi, but the only way for it to be a huge success is with the help of our brotherhood. The number we raised this year is a testament to the support, dedication, and enthusiasm that each brother brings to the event to help our well-deserving philanthropies!” commented Caroline Grove, finance chair.

A huge thank you to both Amanda and Caroline for contributing so much time and effort to make this a fun and successful event for the brotherhood!

A Welcome Back from Abroad

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Each semester, some of our brothers take their undergraduate studies elsewhere in the world. This fall, we welcome back Allison Donohue, Lea Farrell, Natalie Palmer, Sarah Safer, Matt Sonkin, and Marie Stellato. They’ve returned with a wealth of new knowledge, experiences, and worldly perspectives that will continue to contribute to the diversity of our Chapter into the future. Each of the brothers reflected on their time and offered any advice they might have to share with future world-traveling brothers.

Brothers Matt Sonkin and Sarah Safer lived abroad for four months in Rome, where they soaked up as much of the beautiful culture as they possibly could. Matt noted how studying abroad gave him a newfound feeling of independence and courage. “Every day, I had to be open to new things - new experiences. If you travel abroad and are not open to new things, you will not have a successful trip. Step out of your comfort zone - do things out of your ordinary.” He went on to explain his bold choices to go paragliding through the mountains of Interlaken, Switzerland and cliff jumping in Croatia.

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Barcelona was a second home to brothers Lea Farrell, Marie Stellato, and Allison Donohue this past spring. The three raved about a semester filled with eating authentic paella, drinking sangria on the beach, shopping at the famous Las Ramblas, exploring Park Guell, and experiencing endless weekend getaways. Allison reflected on her semester thoughtfully, saying, “Studying abroad taught me that when you explore on your own you learn just as much about yourself as the destination. You'd be surprised how resourceful you can be when you show up in a city for the weekend with one backpack, a loose knowledge of the language, and no hostel reservations.”

Lea recalled some of her favorite weekends  traveling; one weekend she was falling in love with the history of Prague, while another she was paddle boarding along the Amalfi Coast of Italy – a dream destination for Lea. In her words, “Stepping out of your comfort zone can be difficult at times, but the experience you get from it is so rewarding! As cliché as this sounds, my entire semester abroad was truly an experience I will never forget.”

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A few of the many destinations Marie visited include England, Italy, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands. She highlighted one weekend getaway that she found particularly amazing: Marrakesh, Morocco. “It was an extremely enlightening experience to travel to somewhere that is so drastically different from the United States. I met some of the most generous and kind people in Morocco, all of whom were Muslim. At a time when there is so much negativity in the world surrounding their religion and the United States, getting to see their culture first-hand gave me a new perspective.” Marie explained how it was moments like these that really put into perspective how lucky and privileged we all are.

Brother Natalie Palmer chose to relocate her studies to southern Spain in the city of Granada, where she lived among historic Arab architecture mixed with the cultural influence of Catholic rulers. “What made my semester so incredible was the full Spanish immersion. All my classes were taught in Spanish, I lived with a host mom, and because Granada is such a small little city, most of the locals didn’t know a word of English. Learning to adapt to this new language and culture was difficult at times, but so worthwhile.” She notes that the most memorable trip of the semester was hiking 60 miles of the Camino de Santiago through gorgeous Northern Spain.

The brothers are now safely back at the University of Delaware where they will finish up their degrees in the States. Welcome back, brothers! We are thrilled to have you back.

Alumni News

Congratulations to alumni Katelyn Murray on passing the Certified Public Account (CPA) exam!

Have exciting news? A work promotion, entrepreneurial initiative, or important life event? Contact Valerie Choy at udelakpsi.vpar@gmail.com so that the brotherhood can continue to support you no matter the time and miles apart!

Fall Rush Leads to Rhos

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The Fall Rush process for 2017 came to a close on September 25th with the accumulation of the Rho Pledge Class. After having close to 200 potential new members come out to rush, only 27 individuals were selected to receive a bid from Alpha Kappa Psi. Rho pledge Evan Gavalakis commented that, “Although the overall rush process was semi-stressful, I actually enjoyed it. It was a great feeling to find such genuine people who care about me just as much as I care about them. Definitely excited to embark on the journey to becoming a brother.” Congratulations to the Rho Pledge Class – we cannot wait to see what you accomplish within the Chapter!

Interview 101

In conjunction with Ernst and Young, the Omega Alpha Chapter hosted a professional development interview workshop to prepare brothers and the Rho Pledge Class for the impending mayhem of recruiting season. Alumni brothers Ray Corona and Jordan Peck, along with campus recruiter Alex Carr, spoke with the group on the best strategies to combat behavioral questions, as well as effective ways to network before and after interviews.

When asked about the event, Ray Corona offered his insights on the state of Alpha Kappa Psi, “No matter the industry or field, I think our brothers are in a great position to succeed, not only because of their work ethic but also their ability to work together and lift each other up.” It is important to hear from those who have come before us, and the Omega Alpha Chapter is always grateful to those who continue to pave the way for the success of each and every brother.

Brunch Time with Alumni

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And another Alumni Brunch comes to a close! What a wonderful way to end Homecoming weekend and our alumni brothers’ trip down memory lane. Because of the hard work of the Vice President of Alumni Relations, Valerie Choy, current and graduated brothers met at Caffé Gelato for great brunch and great conversation.

When asked what she enjoyed most about reuniting with everyone, Charlotte Moro replied, “Speaking with the alumni and having them see us grow and mature into the new leaders of the fraternity was a rewarding experience.” Tiffany Canjura added, “It was lovely to reconnect with the alumni in a different way and to have them back again; my family was reunited!” I think we can all agree that this reunion was bliss and the food did not fall short. In fact, alumni Brandon Leung was recorded eating eight pieces of french toast. Even former president, Matt Sobel, said he “can’t top that, but we always have next year to try!”

Brothers and Bonfires

What better way to bond with our new pledge class than over an old fashioned bonfire and s’mores? The Rho Pledge Class joined the brothers of Alpha Kappa Psi for the annual Milburn Orchards pledge event on October 15th. The night started off with a hay-filled tractor ride to the bonfire under a clear sky dotted with stars.

Once everyone arrived at the bonfire site, there was a beeline for the apple cider, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. While roasting marshmallows, brothers and pledges alike sat down around the fire to share stories and laughs. Time and time again, this event proves itself to be a prime opportunity for the pledges to scout out potential Bigs. Pledge Jillian Lukac gushed, “It was a great opportunity for us pledges to get to know more brothers in a less professional setting! And I love s’mores so that was a plus.” The brothers shared some of their funniest stories and answered any and all questions that the pledges had for them in a game of hot seat. The night came to a close with yet another round of apple cider and a returning hayride back to the parking lot.

Rho-ller Skating

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This Alpha Kappa Psi pledge event was a blast from the past! The brothers and pledges laced up their skates and met at the Christiana Skating Center on October 25th to enjoy a night of
Rho-ller skating -- a hockey player's heaven, a brother’s nightmare. Many pledges and brothers took quite a tumble while trying to get their footing in the rink. For many brothers and pledges, this was their first time roller skating in years; for the lucky ones, this was their time to show off the hard work of all their hockey and skating lessons. Brother Devon McGinn beamed, “I had no idea how much fun roller skating could be! I hadn’t roller skated in years, but everyone was so helpful and understanding.”

Although there were plenty of wipe-outs and falls, there were even more laughs. After a long night of skating, everyone took a break to enjoy fresh soft pretzels and Icees to finish a perfect night. All in all, the event was a great success and we expect to see an even bigger turnout next year!

Brother Spotlight: Moksh Shah

Moksh Shah is a sophomore marketing major and a member of the Pi Pledge Class, having rushed in the spring of 2017. Though only a sophomore, Moksh has been expanding and applying his marketing knowledge since the age of sixteen.

Moksh’s grandfather started a family business many years ago, DI-Moksh DIAM. INC, which focuses on the selling and distributing of loose diamonds. Originally based in India, the privately owned company has expanded its horizons to the United States (US), now owning locations in Los Angeles and New York City. Both US locations are managed by Moksh’s father, who took over the business alongside his brothers, after attending Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to perfect his trade.

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Moksh himself has been preparing to manage the business after them. He began his career by learning grading techniques such as coloring, shapes, properties, and handling with care. In order to develop his networking skills, he shadowed his father and older cousin as they interacted with clients, marketed at trade shows, and made collections deals. While describing these trade shows, Moksh explained that the key to success in such an environment is to “Always be persistent. If someone says no to you, walk to the next company. Keep trying and never be afraid of getting criticized”.

DI-Moksh DIAM.INC generally attends three major trade shows a year in Las Vegas, New York, Hong Kong, or Los Angeles and spends the week before each trade show preparing for the competition by familiarizing themselves with every pawn shop in the local area. Once at the trade show, two people market to potential clients while the other two grade diamonds. DI-Moksh DIAM. INC has made customer service its number one priority and aspires to make loyal clientele out of the jewelers they meet at each trade show.

Over the years Moksh has grown into his role as a marketing consultant and diamond merchant. He has even begun creating his own clientele with a variety of third-party jewelers. He routinely travels to New York and attends trade shows and collections independently.

Looking back on his progression, Moksh says, “Back then, it was really hard for me because people thought I was a joke. They thought they could manipulate me, and they never took me seriously.” He explained that it has been a tremendous learning experience for him, and he’s happy to have had the opportunity to gain respect and build a reputation for himself in the business. He plans to graduate from the University of Delaware and travel to India to attend GIA so that he’ll have the acquired skill set to manage the company alongside his father. Good luck, Moksh, as you continue on your journey!

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Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Ciamillo

Jamie Ciamillo attended the University of Delaware from 2006 to 2010 and graduated with a degree in both management and marketing with a minor in international business. Jamie was a member of the Alpha Pledge Class and had the unique perspective of being one of Omega Alpha’s founding brothers. While Jaime was involved in several other organizations on campus, she felt that no other organization could rival Alpha Kappa Psi in bringing together social qualities, professionalism, and community service. Since graduation, Jaime has worked in the advertising industry in New York City, starting her career with MEC in a digital media role.

Several years later, she transitioned to Red Fuse where she has been promoted several times and is currently on the global team as the Global Digital Performance Lead. In five years, she hopes to have continued her expertise and knowledge in the digital space and perhaps be working client-side

Jaime and the other founding brothers overcame several obstacles to establish the Omega Alpha Chapter on campus. She and the other founding brothers had a vision for a cohesive chapter that would gain traction and become well respected on campus. She says, “It was difficult getting the word out our first semester on campus to attract new members. Another challenge was establishing ourselves as a member of Greek Life on campus and being considered one of the recognized fraternities. It was a lot of work in the beginning to achieve all the requirements of the Greek Life office, and build up an entirely new chapter.” Jamie’s fondest memory about Alpha Kappa Psi is the bond she formed with the other founding members. She remembers the long nights they spent together trying to build the foundations of the Omega Alpha Chapter at the University of Delaware and to mold the legacy they wanted to leave behind for brothers in the future.

When asked about her biggest piece of advice for younger brothers, Jaime says she would urge newer brothers to make the most of their time at the University of Delaware overall and to leverage the Alpha Kappa Psi network. She says, “Whether it is an alumni of the University of Delaware, or someone from a chapter at another university, the fraternity is far-reaching and has graduated a number of successful colleagues. Reach out to them, schedule time to talk or meet, and use all of us for advice – we were where you are at one point!”

Moving forward, Jamie hopes to continue to watch the Chapter thrive and become a force to be reckoned with within the Greek community. She looks forward to seeing what our brothers accomplish in the business world as young professionals. We owe our strong Chapter to the efforts of Jamie and our other founding members. Thank you, Jamie, and we look forward to seeing where your career takes you next!