Ariston Foundation and NHSA Announce 2019 Academic Scholarship Winners

October 22, 2019

Chicago-based Ariston Foundation and New York-based National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) of North America have announced three merit scholarship recipients, and a total of 10 Ariston Honor Society inductees to be awarded at the NHSA Convention in Washington, D.C.November 1 – 3.

“The 2019 Ariston-NHSA scholars’ pursuit of academic excellence, devotion to service, and love for our Hellenic heritage have earned them this honor among many deserving peers nationwide.” said Ariston Foundation Co-President Vasiliki Mitrakos. “It is an honor to highlight the achievements of our fellow Hellenes during the NHSA Convention, held at our nation’s capital.”

The anticipated NHSA Convention attracts students, and young and seasoned professionals from across the U.S. and Canada who convene twice a year in alternating cities for a weekend including speeches, panels, mentorship and networking events, as well as social gatherings and group city tours.

“We believe that there is a greater abundance of potential and excellence in academics and civic engagement than there are opportunities for rewards,” said Alexander Thomopoulos, immediate past NHSA president. “This scholarship was the creation of a growing and fruitful partnership between Ariston and NHSA in the spirit of synergism, a pillar of growth in communities and companies at every level,” he said.

The Aristion-NHSA Merit Scholarships of $1,000 each recognize undergraduate and graduate students of Hellenic descent, of U.S., Canadian, or Greek citizenship, pursuing higher education in North America.

“The monetary value is but one facet of this award,” Thomopoulos said. “The rewarding of the recipients’ achievements, as well as their recognition amongst the most dedicated attendees and high-profile guests at our convention serves as a positive reinforcement for continued endeavors.”


Helena P. Lysandrou is pursuing a doctor of medicine at Ohio State University College of Medicine. She is passionate about giving back to her community and the world through medicine and has participated in research internships at Purdue, Ohio State, and Harvard universities, as well as the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Helena has conducted research in biomaterial-based bone tissue engineering at Purdue University and Ohio State University, and hematopoietic stem cell development for cancer treatment at Harvard. This past year, Helena participated in a one-year post-baccalaureate fellowship at the NIH, where she conducted research using zebrafish as a model organism and CRISPR/Cas9 to discover genes that lead to Coloboma, a developmental eye disorder that accounts for 10% of childhood blindness.

Christiana Metaxas is a Master of Science in Foreign Service candidate at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Before starting in the MSFS program, Christiana worked as a Senior Project Manager at TransPerfect, where she managed translation and regulatory consulting projects for clinical trial drug labels.

She has served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Cyprus. Christiana earned her B.A. summa cum laude from Binghamton University, State University of New York. She received honors in linguistics for her senior thesis on Greek heritage speakers in the United States. Christiana speaks English, Greek, and French and has studied Spanish and Japanese.

Panayiotis (Panos) Vandris is a junior from Worcester, PA double majoring in Biology and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He is a research fellow in the sciences and humanities at Stanford, and currently works in a pediatric hematology-oncology lab at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

Panayiotis volunteers at Stanford Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and Cardinal Free Clinics and has foreign language experience in Greek, Spanish, and Mandarin. As president of Stanford Undergraduate Neuroscience Society, co-president of Stanford Undergraduate Research Association, and director of Stanford Premedical Conference, he enjoys building community among undergraduates who share the same interests.


Panayiotis Vandris – Stanford University, Bachelor of Science with Honors in Biology, Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Comparative Literature

Christiana Metaxas – Georgetown University, Master of Science in Foreign Service

Helena Patricia Lysandrou – The Ohio State University, Doctor of Medicine

Peter Klapes – Boston College, M.A., Philosophy

Sophia Marie Zervas – University of Colorado at Boulder, BM – Piano Performance; BM – Vocal Performance

Flora Tsambika Yiakras – The University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance, Corporate Finance

John Koussiouris –  University of Toronto, Immunology and Global Health

Fotini Anastopoulos – Harvard University, Psychology, Minor in Classics

Kristina-Maria Paspalis – University of Maryland College Park, M.A. in Education


Natalie Ganios – University of Akron, B.A. Biomedical Sciences

Ariston Foundation was established on Greek Independence Day in 2011 to award, through merit scholarships, individuals of Hellenic descent exemplifying academic excellence; to organize special events; and fund activities and projects promoting and preserving the Hellenic language and culture. Ariston Foundation is the publisher of Portes Magazine, an independent cultural publication celebrating Greece.

The National Hellenic Student Association of North America was established in 2004. NHSA’s mission is to offer students and young professionals the opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and socially, through unique networking and engagement projects along with their peers and established professionals of the Hellenic community in North America, Greece and Cyprus.


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