Senior Spotlight - Aaron Speagle ’12

Aaron Speagle '12This graduating senior will receive his degree in Nuclear Engineering this spring and hopes to obtain an entry-level nuclear engineering position. During his time at Omega, Aaron held the position of Marshal, and is also a member of the American Nuclear Society. He is originally from Hebron, CT.

Why did you join Theta Chi over other fraternities?

I was given a last minute snap bid from one of my good friends, and decided that if Theta Chi was going to take a risk by extending a bid to someone they didn’t really know, I should at least give it a shot. From there I have never looked back. This Chapter has been the single best thing that has happened to me in my time here at Penn State. The Chapter has a sense of brotherhood that is unmatched, while maintaining excellence in community service and staying extremely involved on campus. We participate in every IM sport, even if we are horrible at it, and put all our effort into everything we do. It brings a sense of pride to know that we give it our all. 

What has been your fondest memory of Theta Chi?

I honestly cannot single out any one event. Ever since I became a member of this chapter, I have felt at home. I have learned so much from this group and grown so far that I can only hope that I’ve given back half of what this fraternity has given to me.

In what ways do you think the fraternity experience is still a relevant one?

The fraternity experience is still an important additive to a man’s college career because it helps to build his character in ways that academic learning and experiences cannot. For example, the fraternity experience teaches a man how to interact and work with others, how to properly lead a diverse group of people, and how to better conduct himself in different situations. 

How do you think your time at Theta Chi has better prepared you for adulthood? 

I have most definitely been more prepared for adulthood because of Theta Chi. I have learned a great deal about personal interactions, meeting dynamics, leadership positions, and how to handle difficult situations properly. These experiences will help me excel in many aspects outside of the actual work that I will be doing upon graduation, which supplements my worth to whichever company I will be working for. 

Why did you pick your particular field of study?

I actually didn’t pick it, Nuclear Engineering picked me. I Started out as a Mechanical Engineering student (or planned to be) but missed the GPA cutoff by .02 when entrance to that major rolled around, so I was placed in Nuclear Engineering. After a number of weeks of utter confusion about what I wanted to do, I decided to stick with the nuclear field. It has been great ever since. Now I’m very glad that I am a nuclear engineering student because the field interests me much more than mechanical engineering, and because I believe that I can do the most good for the most people in my this field.

Why would you encourage alumni to stay involved in the active chapter?  

I would encourage alumni to stay involved with the active members of the chapter because it helps to enhance the overall experience of the brotherhood. I always enjoy hearing stories from our alumni, and certainly appreciate the professional connections that they sometimes help us to make. To function more holistically, it is also important for the alumni to understand the day-to-day lives of the undergraduates.

Patrick O'Connor '83 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfilePatrick O'Connor - 1983
Big Brother: John Cunningham
Offices Held: Recorder

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Patrick O'Connor: Friends from PSU Worthington Scranton were members.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
PO: The roadtrip to Maryland was the highlight of my OX years !

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
PO: Great friends !

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
OP: Tim Boyd and Ryan Wismer

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
PO: Two kids - Margaret and William ...... both love Penn State football games !

OX: What do you do for a living? 
PO: Defense consultant.

David Carlson '87 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileDavid Carlson - 1987
Big Brother: Michael Portugal
Little Brother: Michael Ruotolo
Offices Held: Social Chairman

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
David Carlson: Camaraderie, social, great group of guys to hang with while trying to survive at school. Study partners and drinking buddies!

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
DC: Some of my favorite times were most of the Friday afternoons gearing up for the weekend, making runs to pick up beer for the parties. Also, going to football games and setting up the tailgate. I also liked hanging in the house library studying and watching TV.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
DC: Everybody has something to offer. There were so many different people and each one had a story to tell.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
DC: I don't think I had a nickname? Someone correct me if I am wrong...

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
DC: I remember Tim Burke, he was quiet and a good roommate...funny though, the doorknob was always covered in hand lotion?

OX: Where did you go on your pledge trip? 
DC : We went to Ohio State, was a long trip, but a great time. What happened in Columbus, stays in Columbus!

OX: With whom do you stay in contact? And is there anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 
DC: Have a bunch of brothers that I am Facebook friends with, but really don't see anyone.

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
DC: Married, now my kids are 15 (nearly 16) and 13! We recently moved back to Erdenheim after living in Chicago for 8 months...that was an experience that I don't want to repeat.

OX: What do you do for a living?
DC: I have opened my own practice in Landscape Architecture - carlsonDESIGN Landscape Architects.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy? 
DC: Work on my house, play golf (very little), hang with family and friends.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
DC: Survive the economic adventure and be a good dad.

OX: What organizations are you involved with in your community?
DC: On the Board of Directors at Bartram's Garden, Co-Chair of one of the Artistic Classes at the Philadelphia International Flower Show. Member of the Men's Garden Club of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Cricket Club (play doubles squash mostly).

Bob Losinger '72 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileBob Losinger - 1972
Big Brother: Paul Veneziale '72
Little Brother: Tom Hornyak '72
Offices Held: Vice President

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Bob Losinger: Hugh McClure '72, Mike Thall '72, Neil Bloomfield '72 and I met as freshmen and wanted to join the same fraternity together. Theta Chi seemed to be our best fit as a group.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
BL: Tom Hornyak '72 wanted to learn to parachute. We were supposed to pick up our dates Saturday night and I was waiting for him to return from his first jump. When he finally called the house, I had to go pick him up at the Center County Hospital because he broke his leg.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
BL: I cherish the lifelong friends I made at OX.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
BL: Nickname was Brother Pig. Every Sunday I awarded the brother or pledge who had the ugliest date for the weekend. This was posted on a bulletin board in the stairway going up to the second floor and I always had a little poem to go with the award.

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
BL: I first roomed with Paul Veneziale '72, then Tom Hornyak '72 and I roomed together. We had the room right above the front door and built a bar and draped a parachute from the ceiling.

OX: Where did your pledge class go on their bolt?  What brothers did you take?  Any funny stories you can tell? 
BL: On our pledge trip we kidnapped Brother Jon A. Ritter '70 and left him in the middle of nowhere. We had a step van with a keg on tap (that we stole from the brothers) and after dropping off Brother Ritter we ended up in Elmira, New York for the weekend.

OX: With whom do you stay in contact? And is there anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 
BLI stay in contact with Hugh McClure, Toby Froehlich '72, Tom Hornyak and Ken Slaby. I am now playing in theTheta Chi open golf event and have reconnected with some other brothers from my time

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
BL: I have been married to Becky Engell since 1973 and we have 2 sons and 1 grandchild. Becky was sweetheart of Theta Chi our senior year.

OX: What do you do for a living? 
BL: I am the Controller for a private country club - Minnesota Valley Country Club. I have been in the golf business since taking early retirement from Honeywell after 23 years.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy?
BL: In my free time I play golf, league bowl and volunteer at a local community radio station. I have done a number of my own radio shows but mainly work as a station engineer.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
BL: To retire from a full time job, spend more time at our Florida condo and find some part time work to keep me in gas and beer money.

Paul Vassil '86 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfilePaul Vassil - 1986
Big Brother: Todd Moore

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Paul Vassil: It was a low key, down to earth diverse group of guys - not at all like the fraternity stereotypes I wanted to avoid.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
PV: When, as a pledge, I was sitting two tables down from Ed Brown and Al Guber at the Cellar in the HUB; I buried my head in the Collegian as they discussed the plans for our pledge class's Hell Night and they didn't see me. I later told the details to the guys in my class, so we weren't totally caught off guard for our initiation. I'm not sure Ed and Al knew this....until now!

Vassil and familyOX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
PV: It taught me to relate to all different kinds of people with different goals, morals and values; this is definitely something I have to apply in my line of work. It also showed me how a group so different as individuals can make a really pretty solid whole.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
PV: None, really, so no story.

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
PV: I was a brother but a "townie", doing the off campus apartment thing. I never roomed with another brother, but I don't think that limited my experience much.  

OX: Where did your pledge class go on their bolt?  What brothers did you take?  Any funny stories you can tell? 
PV: We went to James Madison University and partied at a really cool dance club while Bob Kramer tried to steal a keg and smooth talker Jamie Alder and a few of us others had to get him out of trouble. To this day I still do NOT believe that Big AL blew chunks on the trip!

OX: With whom do you stay in contact? And is there anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 
PV: Not as many as I'd like. I correspond at holidays with Ed Brown, Al Guber, Rod Miller, Bob Kramer, and Anthony Panichelli and hope to get better at keeping up with e-mails. Ron Haws lives not far and manages a pretty popular restaurant in our area- hope to see him there. I'd like to get in touch with Leo Sugg and Randy Siegmann - we were pretty close in college.

OX: What other activities or organizations were you involved with during your college days? 
PV: I wrote for the Collegian and was in the Penn State Scholars Program - that got me into some really cool programs and lectures.

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
PV: I've been married to Maria, a pharmacist, since 1995. We have four children - Kyriaki, born 8/97; Katerina, born 6/99; and Markella and Peter,our twins, born 1/03. They keep us pretty busy most of the time!

OX: What do you do for a living? 
PV: I'm a Family Practice physician in Lititz, PA. It's challenging all the time, rewarding most of the time, and boring little of the time. I do urgent care,home visits and nursing home care too, to KEEP it interesting.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy?
PV: Spend time with my family - the kids are growing too fast! We really like the beach - Sandy Hook, Island Beach State Park, and Spring Lake, NJ are our favorites. We like watching movies and old TV shows at home, and we even enjoy going shopping. I do like to exercise, if you can believe it - I set my goal at 4 times a week.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
PV: To be a good, caring physician; to impart my own values and the benefits of my experiences on my children, and to raise them to appreciate that what is of value comes through commitment and hard work. I want them to live by the mantra: sing as if nobody's listening, dance as if nobody's watching, and live every day as if it were your last!

OX: What organizations are you involved with in your community? 
PV: I'm a member of the PA Medical Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Jason Reid '99 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileJason Reid - 1999

Big Brother: Pat Buckley

Little Brother: Chris Witt

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 

Jason Reid: All the pranks we pulled on the Phi Sig. The "Bucket" Especially.....

OX: Anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 

JR: Anyone and everyone.

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 

JR: Just got married June 2008. NO kids.

OX: What do you do for a living? 

JR: I'm a surveyor for Urban Engineers In Erie PA.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy? 

JR: Play Golf and watch hockey.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 

JR: To have fun "If I'm laughing than things can't be that bad!!!!"

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Ronald Beadenkopf '93 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileRonald Beadenkopf - 1993
Big Brother: Chris Bartnik

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Ron Beadenkopf: To be part of something bigger than myself.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
RB: I learned a lot about the value of participating in an organization and that leadership roles can make a difference. Also learning to work as a team with peers towards a common goal.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
RB: The night we were supposed to find out who our big brothers were, we were told to dress warmly and plan to be out all night. Somehow the rumor got out that we were going to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and have to find our way home; if were caught between where we were dropped and the house, we would be in big trouble..after traveling around in the back of a van for what seemed forever, we were dropped in the middle of the woods where we could see a large fire in the distance and figures walking around it. This was in winter, and there were several inches of snow on the ground. We were told to walk toward the fire, but somewhere in the middle we decided that the best course of action was to take off running. I had an idea where we needed to go, and led every one on a wild goose chase for a long time. We almost made it back to town after running through woods and fields, but were spotted on the first road we came to...we found out later that the brothers freaked when we didn't show up to the fire and were worried stiff until they found us again. We were just supposed to drink a lot of beer around a big fire and meet our big brothers - instead we had run through the woods in the middle of the night. I won't forget it.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
RB: Don't remember.

OX: Who were your roommates? 
ST: Andy Brey - does anyone remember the tradition of "playing through"? I think someone did that to Andy.

OX: With whom do you stay in contact?
RB: Twenty years in the Army will do that..but I live vicariously through the news - website and Omegaphone.

OX: Anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 
RB: My pledge brothers.

OX: Where did your pledge class go on their bolt?  What brothers did you take?  Any funny stories you can tell? 
RB: Went to VA Tech - I remember someone broke a pool table there - none of us, of course - and there was a traveling beer keg....

OX: What other activities or organizations were you involved with during your college days? 
RB: Yearbook photographer for LaVie.

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
RB: Divorced, no kids - married to the Army..just kidding

OX: What do you do for a living? 
RB: Major in the Army, have deployed twice to Iraq, also to Korea, Bosnia Herzegovina.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy? 
RB: photography, writing and cycling.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
RB: Retire and spend more time visiting old friends.

OX: What organizations are you involved with in your community? 
RB: not enough.

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Stan Terzopolos '69 (aka Smiley) - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileStan Terzopolos - 1969
Big Brother: Joel Wells
Offices Held: Social Chairmen

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Stan Terzopolos: National tradition; legacy; and familiarity with with existing brothers.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
ST: Theta Chi impressed upon my the value of camaraderie, loyalty and friendship in enhancing one's personal life.

Stan TerzopolosOX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
ST: Smilely. I had a habit of maintaining a smile during the most difficult "lineups." Lineups in the 60's often included elements of physical strain and personal humiliation.

OX: Who were your roommates? 
ST: Tom Schreffler and Robett Holland. 

OX: With whom do you stay in contact?
ST: Tom Schreffler

OX: Anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find? 
ST: Robert Holland

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
ST: Presently I am divorced but have two daughters who attended Penn State and are off to successful careers.

OX: What do you do for a living? 
ST: I am retired from public school administration. My last post was as Assistant Superintendent for Pottsgrove School District, Pottstown, Pa.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy? 
ST: I like to camping and motorcycle touring.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
ST: Continue to do part time work teaching for Immaculata University in their off campus graduate program preparing educators for positions in school administration. I also work part time for Chester County Intermediate Unit in a federal project involving Goddard Space Center and Immaculata to assist teachers in disadvantaged schools improve their delivery of mathematics and science instruction.

OX: What organizations are you involved with in your community? 
ST: Only social organizations related to motorcycle touring: Gold Wing Road Riders Association - Chapter Y and the Keystone Voyagers.

Cameron "CJ" McKenzie '90 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileCameron McKenzie - 1990
Big Brother: Russ Marky
Little Brother: Bob Kurek
Offices Held: Pool Chair, Little Sister Chair, Recording Secretary

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
CJ McKenzie: High school party studs Tom Stella and Tom Scary were "allegedly" brothers, so once I picked up a set of their darts...I never looked back.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
CJ: he Commando Story...Shane tells it best. Mark Woehrel started a fight he couldn't possibly finish.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
CJ: Reinforcement of comraderie and strength in numbers.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you? 
CJ: "Socrates" was a pledge bolt nickname: Occasionally found to be under the influence of various substances, was known to philosophize on the front law of "the ranch" at VTech.

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
CJ: Dan Kahl (neat freak = key), Mark Franz (engineer a plus), Tom Scary (total letdown).

OX: Where did your pledge class go on their bolt?  What brothers did you take?  Any funny stories you can tell? 
CJ: VTech trip (2 bolts): 2nd was a rendezvous with a certain Southern Belle.

OX: With whom do you stay in contact?
CJ: Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Scary, Tom Stella, Russ Marky, Bill Herron, Shane Balcik.

OX: Is there anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find?
CJ: NO ...I have a contract out on a few...

OX: What other activities or organizations were you involved with during your college days? 
CJ: PSU Beach Happy Hour in Dewey Beach; annual PSU group Tailgate each fall (arranged by Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald); Blue-White game (occasionally).

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
CJ: Married to the fabulous Angela Ortenzi (PSU '92); have two fuzzy kids---Airdale Terriers, Ferguson McTavish and Ashley

OX: What do you do for a living? 
CJ: Marketing Manager, Mars North America

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy? 
CJ: Hang out with Fitz, golf (without the "L"), exercise, travel, feed the bear.

OX: What are your goals for the next few years? 
CJ: educe my current goal set by 50%, transition career into other industries and eat a whole pizza for breakfast.

OX: What organizations are you involved with in your community? 
CJ: Honorary Penn State Delaware chapter member.

Michael Becker '90 - Alumni Profile

Click Here to Fill Out Your Own Alumni Corner ProfileMichael Becker - 1990
Big Brother: Thomas Strauss (House of Strauss)
Little Brother: John Fischer (Fish), Mike Engleman (Frenchy)
Offices Held: Rush Chairmain (Twice)

OX: Why did you join Theta Chi? 
Mike Becker: Mark Woerhel, Russ Marky and I all lived in the dorms together. We were looking for a nice quiet place to focus on good grades and meet upscale individuals. Unfortunately, we didn't get a bid at any of those places.

OX: What is your favorite Theta Chi memory or story? 
MB: Stone Valley Revival, 201 Club, Butt Comet, UVA Bolt, Beer Slides, Singing "tell me another thats worse than the others...", Woerhel's 21st birthday.

OX: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation? 
MB: For the Good - Strong network of good friends and marketing experience as Rush Chair. For the Bad - Have phobia about walking through front doors, and lost many business clients when ordering beer funnels during lunch meetings.

OX: What is your nickname? How did you get it? Did anyone in particular give it to you?
MB: Although I didn't have a nickname, I did have a phrase named after me. If someone says they will show up at a bar to meet friends, but never make it there, it was considered being "Beckered"

OX: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. 
MB: I was lucky to have great roomates. Mark Woerhel, Mark Franz, Mike Engleman.

OX: With whom do you stay in contact?
MB: Mostly Dave Mikita, Mark Woerhel, John Fischer, Mike Engleman, but catch a few others once in a while.

OX: Any brother you are looking to contact?
MB: Lots of folks including Bob Kramer, Scott Kost, Russ Marky and Mike Stein

OX: Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children? 
MB: Moved to atlanta 8 years ago. Married since 2005 and have a 10 month old boy (Zach).

OX: What do you do for a living? 
MB: Keeping with the Red and White theme, I work for Coca-Cola as Director of Strategy/Development.

OX: What hobbies do you enjoy/What do you do with your free time? 
MB: Pre-baby (Golf, Fishing, Racquetball) - Post-baby (diapers, sleep, toy assembly).