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CHICAGO – Forty two students were recognized for their achievements with a quarter million dollars in financial aid for their higher education studies, at this year’s PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation (PHSF) Gala at the Hilton, June 18.
One of the most anticipated events in the Greek-American community, the PanHellenic Gala Weekend resumed in-person after two years of digital events, launching with its signature Welcome Reception and Mentorship Luncheon leading up to the 2022 PHSF Awards Ceremony and Gala.
“It was a wonderful evening filled with people from all over the country,” said PHSF Advisory Board Co-Chair Violetta Kapsalis Buhler. “We are so happy to be able to come together and celebrate the young Hellenes who have done such a great job with their studies – we are very proud of them.”
PHSF Chairman Robert Buhler announced two new initiatives this year. The PanHellenic Young Leaders Program will grant talented young students of Hellenic descent who do not receive the PanHellenic Scholarship, access to the Foundation’s network of resources and mentorship, while a new internship program will connect young professionals with career opportunities.
PanHellenic Weekend Welcome Reception
Hosted at Holland & Knight by Elias N. Matsakis Esq., the PHSF’s pro bono legal counsel, the welcome reception provided an opportunity for the scholarship recipients, alumni, and PHSF members to get to know one another ahead of the weekend’s events.
Trustee Tom Sotos gave a heartfelt tribute to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation’s Founder, Chris Tomaras, and encouraged new recipients to stay involved with the Foundation as they continue with their studies and careers.
PanHellenic Weekend Mentorship Luncheon
Over 150 attendees including scholarship recipients, alumni, mentors, and young professionals, participated in the 6th PHSF mentorship luncheon held in partnership with The Hellenic Initiative (THI), and underwritten by Nicholas W. Alexos. The luncheon provided an intimate setting for participants to receive career advice and guidance from thirteen mentors who are leaders in their fields of business, law, medicine, finance, education, and more.
A panel discussion followed where participants heard from select mentors representing various industries. This year’s Mentorship Luncheon panelists were: George Pelecanos, author, producer, and scriptwriter for national publications and HBO; Vicky Kalogera, astrophysicist and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics at Northwestern University; Kate Chappell, weekend morning anchor and a general assignment reporter at NBC Chicago; Jim Logothetis, former Senior Partner at Ernst & Young; and Honorable Judge Thomas Varlan, United States District Judge and United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
PanHellenic Scholarship Gala
Launched by the late businessman and philanthropist Chris P. Tomaras (1937-2015) in 2002, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation has awarded over $4 million to over 425 students of Hellenic descent pursuing college degrees in the United States.
“That’s just the start,” said PHSF Board of Directors Ted Argeroplos. “We hope to grow that scholarship number in the years ahead while continuing to further the Foundation’s mission of going ‘Beyond A Scholarship.'”
The gala was emceed by the main sports anchor at FOX 32 News, Lou Canellis, while advisory board member Kiki Vale and trustee John Manos announced scholars.
For a second year, three students were awarded a PHSF leadership fellowship, a renewable $30,000 scholarship – $10,000 per year to be distributed over the next three years – including continued mentorship. The 2021 leadership fellows, Yanni Patitsas, Mina Baniewicz, and Chiara Munzi, were brought up to accept their second scholarship check, and to announce the 2022 Leadership Fellows, Helen Georgitsos, Zoe Pozios, and Alexia Maniadaki.
Finally, in partnership with the National Hellenic Society (NHS), PanHellenic scholars will be automatically accepted into the Heritage Greece Program. Thanks to the generosity of the Ted & Demetra Argeroplos Family, financial need students will receive additional funds to cover overhead expenses of the trip.
Dr. George Yancopoulos, the Co-Founder, President, and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, was awarded the 2022 Paradigm Award. In his speech to the 2022 scholarship recipients, Yancopoulos encouraged students to focus on the impact they can make on the world, while holding their Hellenic roots at the core of their efforts. The 2021 Paradigm Award recipient, award-winning author and writer George Pelecanos, was also honored at the event.
The night concluded with a dinner and dance, with live entertainment provided by the Mylos Band of New York.
2022 PHSF Scholars
University of Maryland
Gemma Abbott is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park Honors College, majoring in finance. She was GOYA President at Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Glenview, IL. At Maryland, she is president of the student-run Smith Investment Fund, active in Smith Finance Group, Consult in Your Community, Club Lacrosse, the interdisciplinary Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams program, and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. This summer, she will be a Morgan Stanley Investment Management Intern on Wall Street.
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, & Biotechnology
Michigan State University
Nina Aitas is a rising sophomore at Michigan State University, majoring in biochemistry, in molecular biology, and in biotechnology, and minoring in pharmacology and toxicology. She works as a research assistant in a research laboratory through the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Nina is a member of the Holmes Science Organization, Holmes Hall Association, Hellenic Student Organization, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Daughters of Penelope, and the Pancretan Youth Association.
Panayiota Akritidis is a rising senior at Temple University in Philadelphia, majoring in pharmaceutical sciences, in an accelerated program. This fall, Panayiota will begin working towards a doctorate degree in pharmacy at Temple University’s School of Pharmacy. She aspires to work in the research or clinical pharmaceutical domain and make an impact in the medical field for various emerging diseases. Panayiota played on the varsity basketball team for the Greek Orthodox Youth Association and was a member of Pegasus Dance Group.
Colorado State University
Alexia Armatas is a rising senior at Colorado State University, majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting and finance. She aspires to work internationally, by assisting non-profit organizations that support the refugee crisis in Greece. Alexia is passionate about giving back to the Greek community and serves as a Sunday school teacher, Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage volunteer, and counselor at St. Spyridon Vacation Bible School in the Metropolis of Denver.
Political Science & Communications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Christie Chrones is a rising junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in political science and in communications, and minoring in journalism and in legal studies. She is the president of her sorority and has received Dean’s List recognition. Christie possesses a passion for philanthropy and is the founder of a philanthropy club for underprivileged teenagers. She aspires to attend law school and use her law degree to help those in need.
Molecular & Cell Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
George Delis is a rising senior at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, majoring in molecular & cell biology, and minoring in chemistry and in business. He is a teaching assistant in the Chemistry Department and is doing extensive research in his professor’s microbiology lab investigating metallophore-mediated metal uptake in pseudomonas aeruginosa. George dedicates his time to the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at University of Illinois. He is inspired by building a home, not just a house, for people in need. George plans to continue giving back by earning a medical degree.
Sports and Recreation Management
Despina Evangelopoulos is a senior at Temple University, majoring in sport and recreation management and minoring in Spanish. She is the president of the Greek Americans of Temple University, on the Dean’s List, an intern for Temple Athletics in the Operations and Facilities Department, and a manager of Temple University Men’s Basketball. Despina plans to earn a Master of Science degree in sport business and to pursue a career in the collegiate or professional sports industry.
University of Akron
Sophia Ganios is a rising senior in the Honors College at the University of Akron, majoring in biochemistry. She is on the University of Akron’s Presidential List and Dean’s List, and maintains a perfect GPA. She is the vice president of her university’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the secretary of the Neuroscience Club. Sophia loves to play her guitar and piano while writing her own music, and plans to attend dental school.
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Joanna Georgiou is a senior at Princeton University, majoring in chemical and biological engineering and minoring in engineering biology and in French language and culture. Joanna is passionate about her senior thesis research in a nanoparticles lab at Princeton where she is working with the anti-tuberculosis drug, delamanid. She is a U.S. Fulbright winner who will be working in a nanoparticles lab in South Korea after graduation. She is fluent in English, Greek, French, and has proficiency in Korean.
Finance & Political Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Helen Georgitsos is a rising junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in finance and in political science, and minoring in legal studies. On campus, she is president of the Hellenic Student Association, an active member of Orthodox Christian Fellowship, a member of the Pre-Law Honor Society, as well as the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. She aspires to attend law school and practice corporate law.
Classical Civilization & Philosophy
Kalliope Glavas is a rising senior at Boston University, majoring in classical civilization and in philosophy, and minoring in modern Greek. She is the social media manager of Boston University’s Hellenic Society and is the President of BU’s first Greek Orthodox Fellowship Chapter. Kalliope was an intern for the Consulate General of Greece in Boston, and an associate editor for the NYU Undergrad Philosophy Journal.
Biophysics & Bioethics
Johns Hopkins University
Daniel Habib is a senior at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in biophysics and bioethics. During the pandemic, when he could no longer work in JHU’s mobile free clinic or hospice care, Daniel led two COVID-19 research projects. He worked at Johns Hopkins as a cancer research assistant, speaking Greek in his professor’s lab. Currently, Daniel works as an NIH Postbac and JHU Research Coordinator. He aspires to continue advocating for equitable healthcare and patients’ rights as a research physician at a university hospital.
Supply Chain Management & Marketing
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Zoe Hannon is a rising senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, majoring in supply chain management and in marketing, and minoring in Spanish. Professionally, Zoe is driven by her passion to integrate creativity into business solutions to benefit others. This led her to found her own company, Shine Açaí, a niche business that sells açaí bowls at local farmers markets. A strong line of women inspire Zoe to have an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to serve the community.
Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lexi Hugdahl is a rising junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in marketing and in management and entrepreneurship, and pursuing a certificate in Spanish. On campus, she is the vice president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, an active member of American Marketing Association, and member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Lexi attends Ascension of Our Lord Church in Lincolnshire, IL where she serves as a reader, byzantine chanting group member, and Sunday school assistant teacher.
George Washington University
Alexandra Kakadiaris is a senior at George Washington University, majoring in business analytics with a concentration in international business, and minoring in computer science. She is the co-founder of Adopt-A-Greek School, an initiative that seeks to financially support struggling schools in Greece by sending heating oil, snacks, and other much-needed supplies using the assistance of local partners and the donations of benefactors from around the world. She interned as a Federal Consultant (Developer) at IBM last summer. After graduation she will work at IBM as a consultant.
Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Michael Kamenis is a rising junior at University of California, Berkeley, majoring in molecular and cell biology on the pre-med track. He is a passionate Hellene, engaged in Greek Dance and performing at FDF Greek dance competition. Michael loves to volunteer at his annual Greek church festival. He deeply cares about serving others and is the recipient of the Thomas J. Oswald Service Award for outstanding service in San Mateo, CA.
University of Utah
Panayioti Karahalios is a rising senior at the University of Utah, majoring in political science. He is a Dean’s List student who plays football for his University. He celebrates his Greek culture by dancing for the Dionysios Greek dance group of Salt Lake City. Panayioti is the vice president of YAL Salt Lake City. He also serves on the board of directors for Minotavros, a Cretan young adult group that encourages dance, philanthropy, and appreciation of Cretan heritage.
Accounting & Finance
Chrisavgi Kotsifas is a rising junior at DePaul University, double majoring in two honors programs, in accounting and in finance. She is a Dean’s List scholar who is the treasurer of the Hellenic Student Association and member of the Women’s Club Volleyball team. Upon graduation she hopes to become a CPA who will start her own business with a priority in serving fellow Hellenes and beyond. She is passionate about service and volunteered at “O Allos Anthropos” in Greece during the wildfire crisis.
Arizona State University
Theo Lewandowski is a rising senior at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College, majoring in accounting and minoring in philosophy. He is a policy staff intern at ASU’s senate. Theo has a passion for Greek dance, and teaches dance at Assumption Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the secretary of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at ASU, and the treasurer of his local chapter of Sons of Pericles.
Mechanical Engineering Technology
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Drosos Louvaris is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh majoring in mechanical engineering technology, and minoring in mathematics. He is the president of the Engineering Club where he leads a team in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. In addition to spending his senior year researching the biological process of allostery, he is a medical scribe in the ER, volunteers at a hospice facility, and is pursuing a career at the intersection of engineering and medicine. Drosos served as an altar boy at Holy Trinity Church in Wisconsin, and enjoyed volunteering at the summer Greek Festival.
University of Detroit Mercy
Alexia Maniadaki is a rising junior at the University of Detroit Mercy, majoring in biology with acceptance to the BS/DDS 7-Year Dental Program. She was born in Athens, Greece, emigrating to the US in 2013 and earning the honor of valedictorian of her high school class of 2020. Alexia is a Dean’s List scholar, and is passionate about tutoring children in Detroit schools. She is an active member of AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope. Alexia’s dream is to become a dentist and help people find confidence with their smiles.
Clinical Neuroscience & Biological Sciences
Antonia Mendrinos is a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in clinical neuroscience and in biological sciences. She is a Dean’s List scholar, assistant instructor for the Chemistry Department, ambassador for the College of Science and president of a volunteer group that assists medical mission trips. Most recently, she visited Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic for a medical mission trip. She conducts population health science research and has presented her work at multiple conferences. Antonia hopes to pursue a career as a physician. Her passions include Greek dancing, hiking and cooking.
Rodanthi Nikopoulou is a rising senior at American University, Washington DC, majoring in chemistry and minoring in biochemistry. She is working as a research assistant for a program that extracts chemical insights from energetic materials. Rodanthi also volunteers at “Zestos Lab ” at American University, where she focuses on constructing superior electrochemical sensors through novel nanomaterials. She won the Schwartz Award and the Likins Award for her research, and aspires to become a doctor.
Elementary Education & Environmental Geoscience
Katerina Orfanos is a rising senior at Boston College, double majoring in elementary education and in environmental geoscience. On campus, she is active in the Hellenic Society and in Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee. After graduation, Katerina hopes to begin a career as an elementary school teacher, specializing in STEM instruction. Service and giving back to the community is a passion of Katerina’s. With a group of church members, she participated in ‘Midnight Run’, a volunteer mission that gathers and distributes food, clothes, and other necessities to homeless people in NYC.
Biology & Chemistry
George Papadeas is a rising senior at Butler University, majoring in biology and in chemistry, and minoring in business law. Service is at the forefront of George’s extracurricular activities. Through his parish, he participated in Project Mexico, where he and a group of other young adults traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to build a house for an underprivileged family. George is the president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Butler University. He hopes to become a doctor to continue helping those in need.
Applied Economics & Management
Stratton Papakirk is a rising senior at Cornell University, majoring in applied economics and in management. He was part of a three-member study team that participated in the AHEPA Regional and National Hellenic History Tournaments. Stratton is the vice president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Cornell University. He is also a member of Cornell Investment Banking Club, a student organization that teaches its members relevant skills for careers in investment banking. Stratton was a member of the Dance Group of Saint Nicholas Church in Ohio.
Alexander Papanikolaou is a rising senior at Bowdoin College, majoring in philosophy and minoring in history with an interest in ancient and postmodern philosophy. He served as an altar boy and was a member of Goya at Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Massachusetts. Alexander is passionate about Hellenism and has directed and produced a 30-minute documentary on the Greek Civil War, which includes three interviews from people who lived in Greece during the War.
Computer Science & Applied Mathematics
Stony Brook University
Stamatia Papazis is a rising sophomore at Stony Brook University, double majoring in computer science and in applied mathematics and statistics. She is a Dean’s List scholar and a member of the Women in Science and Engineering Honors Programs. Stamatia works part-time as an engineer for a business intelligence consulting company. Outside of school, Stamatia enjoys being involved in the Greek Orthodox community of Saint Demetrios in Merrick, New York, spending time with her family, and playing ‘nisiotika’ on her violin.
University of Southern California
Leia Pappas is a rising senior at the University of Southern California, majoring in business administration and minoring in digital innovation with an emphasis in finance. With a strong interest in technology, this summer she will be working as an intern for Deloitte in technology consulting. Leia’s active involvement in her school and church is evident through her leadership experience as community service specialist for her sorority, membership in Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and an instructor of religion and culture for children at her church.
St. John’s University
Zoe Paraskevas is a rising senior at St. John’s University, majoring in communication arts. She was born in Rhodes, Greece, emigrating to New York City when she was 12. Zoe works as an after-school teacher at an elementary school. In her free time, she enjoys filming short films and editing. In the future, Zoe hopes to combine her studies and hobbies by working in media management.
Genomics & Molecular Genetics
Michigan State University
Zoe Pozios is a rising junior at Michigan State University, majoring in genomics and molecular genetics, and minoring in bioethics and leadership in integrated learning. At MSU, she serves as an undergraduate learning assistant for an introductory human genetics course and as a campus tour guide. She is a member of the Honors College, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics club, and the Hellenic Student Association. Zoe plans to become a physician, with hopes of specializing in medical genetics.
Parsons School of Design
Katherine Psaltos is a senior at Parsons School of Design, majoring in fashion design with a minor in creative entrepreneurship. She has interned at Jonathan Cohen for fashion design, as well as Roger Vivier and Ted Baker for PR. She was selected as a top-four finalist for the Fashion Scholarship Fund. Katherine was GOYA president at Annunciation Church in Stamford, CT and played on the GOYA volleyball team. Katherine is a design intern at Michael Kors, learning to balance creativity and business.
Neuroscience & Spanish
University of Michigan
Julia Sales is a rising senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in neuroscience and Spanish, and minoring in gender & health. She serves as Vice President of Hiring for University of Michigan Tour Guides, volunteers with a local domestic violence shelter, and tutors public school students in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area. Julia has a passion for health and social justice and plans to attend medical school.
University of Wisconsin
Callie Saric is a rising junior at University of Wisconsin, Madison, majoring in biochemistry. She is pursuing a holistic education on the pre-medicine path and is a member of Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Callie serves as the hymn leader in an all-female chant group at Ascension of Our Lord Church in Lincolnshire, IL where she is also a GOYA member and a Sunday school teacher.
University of Connecticut
Paul Spanoudakis is a rising senior at University of Connecticut, majoring in mechanical engineering. In 2018, he emigrated to the U.S. from Greece as a freshman in college. At UCONN, he is a member of Hellenic Society Paideia and a member of UCONN Formula SAE. Paul hopes to become a manufacturing engineer with a concentration in computer-aided design. Beyond the classroom, he enjoys attending Sunday liturgy at his church, and playing tennis, basketball and soccer.
Eirene Stavropoulos is a rising junior at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, majoring in voice performance and minoring in theater. In high school she received the “Outstanding Senior in Music” Department Award and was one of three sopranos in Illinois selected to perform in the Honors All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Eirene currently sings with the acclaimed NOTUS contemporary vocal ensemble. In addition to singing and acting, Eirene plays the cello. Eirene was the director of the Byzantine choir at St. John the Baptist Church in Des Plaines, IL.
Economics & Political Science
John Travlos is a rising senior at DePaul University, majoring in economics and political science. He has a passion for public service, as exhibited by his government internships with the U.S. Department of State, Federal Reserve Board, and U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. He will be continuing his passion for law by working for the U.S. Department of Justice this summer. John is an admirer of Byzantine music and chants at St. George Church in Chicago.
History & Politics
Lake Forest College
Georgia Tsakos is a rising junior at Lake Forest College, double majoring in history and in politics, and minoring in classical studies. During her freshman year, Georgia founded the Lake Forest College’s first Hellenic Student Association and has continuously been serving as its co-president. She also created the first women’s Greek Byzantine Choir at Saint Demetrios Church in Libertyville, Illinois.
Loyola University Chicago
Nikki Tsolakidis is a rising sophomore at Loyola University in Chicago, majoring in psychology. Nikki participates in extracurricular activities which allow her to further connect with her Greek heritage, including dancing and instructing with the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, competing in the annual Hellenic Dance Festivals, and participating in Metropolis St. John Chrysostom Oratorical festivals. She is a member of the Hellenic Student Association at Loyola University and on the Dean’s List in the College of Arts and Sciences.
English & Secondary Education
Loyola University Chicago
Angela Vainikos is a rising senior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in English and in secondary education. She is secretary of Loyola’s Hellenic Student Association, treasurer of the Loyola Literary Magazine, and a member of Loyola’s Future Teachers Club. Angela has been recognized by AHEPA as well as The Greek Women’s University Club and the Archdiocese of America. She is a Dean’s List student, pursuing a career as a high school English teacher. Angela is hoping to share her love of learning to inspire future generations.
American Musical and Dramatic Academy
Nicole Varvaras is a rising junior at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, majoring in musical theater. She became enthralled with the arts at a very young age and is now a multi-talented instrumentalist, dancer and actress. She is very involved in her church community as a dedicated member of the senior choir and helps direct youth choir events and teach choral music to the Sunday school students. Nicole loves to spread the word of God through music and her church and hopes to inspire future musicians and artists within the Hellenic Community.
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