Student Leadership Board

I am Caroline Mellekas

SLB Chairman

Senior, Fordham University

Major: Religious Studies


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

a tie between St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre and St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia.


My interests include...

anything involving the outdoors, sporadic road trips that may or may not end at monasteries, and cooking foods with names hard to pronounce.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I consider myself a professional Church-hopper and try to visit a new parish in NYC every week.


Why I Love OCF

OCF unconditionally meets people where they're at, and that's what I absolutely love about this ministry. This ministry always remained ready to receive me regardless of my delay in getting involved to begin with, or even after doing so when I'd break my streaks of commitment now and then. What I'm learning is that OCF responds to anyone's aspirations of living Orthodoxy in their present. Just as our college studies prepare for professions, so too does this ministry preface who we are tomorrow by simply meeting and embracing our today, holistically. While college rightfully so stresses gaining independence, OCF's pillars of service, education, fellowship, and worship directly guide me to show upon who I am truly dependent, Christ. What I first thought would only affect such a transient time in life has turned out to be a ministry impacting my whole self and beyond.


An OCF Anecdote

Strangers don't exist if you enter OCF with an open heart. The single choice my sophomore self made to sign up for a retreat without knowing how I'd get there or who I'd exactly meet on the other side absolutely transformed my life for the better. Reach out to the Student Leadership Board dedicated to serving YOU! There is an entire community of students, clergy and laity all across North America waiting to make memories with you.


A Message to My Fellow Students

ABBA - Take A Chance On Me (ft. minor edits):


If you change your mind, (OCF's) the first in line (OCF's) still free (*most events) Take a chance on (OCF) If you need (OCF), let (OCF) know, (OCF's) gonna be around If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown (OCF's) still free (*again, most events, and you can EASILY fundraise the rest!) Take a chance on (OCF!)


Seriously, just take a chance on OCF.

I am Sophia Fraser

Northwest Student Leader

Junior, University of Oregon

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Anthropology


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

Saint Nektarios


My interests include...

my family, my sorority, golf, and Greek dance.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I love country music way more than any other genre.


Why I Love OCF

I began to look into starting our chapter at the beginning of my freshman year since I was so close to my GOYA group back home, and wanted to bring people with the same kind of bond together in college.


An OCF Anecdote

Meeting people from other parts of the country that are now going to school in Oregon and watching people get so excited about helping to start our OCF chapter!


A Message to My Fellow Students

I am so excited to hear and learn so much from other people's experiences in their chapters and meet people from other schools and regions!!!

I am Zoe Kanakis

Southwest Student Leader

Senior, California Polytechnic University - San Luis Obispo

Majors: Business Administration, Entrepreneurship

Minor: Law & Society


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St Mary of Egypt because she embodies perseverance. By overcoming a life of sin and turning to Christ, she is an inspiration to the modern day college student faced with temptations.


My interests include...

Greek dance, volleyball, Latin music, anything revolving the beach, and DOGS!


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I can make a mean Pastitsio! Cooking is a huge passion of mine, so if you ever have a new recipe to share, I'm your gal!


Why I Love OCF

When I first entered college, I had lost the faith due to my high school schedule. When I found OCF, and the amazing people accompanying the chapter at my university, my faith strengthened immensely. OCF has been there for me during the hardest parts of my life (moving away from home, etc.). It has come time to give back by not only serving my local chapter, but bringing together the Southwest Orthodox students in hopes of giving a similar experience to them, thus growing our faith within the younger generations.


An OCF Anecdote

My favorite OCF memory was one I cherish greatly. We had a sunrise hike to start the school year off, and our attendance was phenomenal. It is not easy to wake up at 5:30am and start climbing a mountain, but our chapter did! At the top of the mountain, as the sun was rising, our priest did morning prayers with all the students. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever been a part of (I have great pictures). Afterwards, we went back to our community center at church and made breakfast. This was such a rewarding day with such an amazing balance of faith and fellowship.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Keeping the faith strong in college can be HARD, trust me. By going and finding fellow Orthodox Christians in your area, by maybe frequenting your local church, or by starting your own OCF chapter at school, you are that much closer to Christ and other students that share the same challenges as you! Where there is a will, there is a way!

I am Quinn Marquardt

Mountain Student Leader

Senior, University of Wyoming

Major: Communication

Minor: Management


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Alexios the Man of God.


My interests include...

playing tennis, traveling, fishing, hiking, cooking, and baking.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I can say the alphabet backwards!


Why I Love OCF

OCF has been the best part of my college career. I came to a school with no OCF chapter and the closest church being 45 minutes away, and living in Wyoming, the roads are closed more often than not in the winter making it impossible to get to church. After my first Real Break trip in 2016, I joined the SLB and that has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Traveling around the world, having new experiences, and making lifelong friends has been life changing and eyeopening. I was always the shy person who was afraid to talk and move out of my comfort zone. I can still be shy sometimes, but I have OCF to thank for teaching me how to put myself out there and not be afraid.


An OCF Anecdote

In March of 2016, I went on Real Break Alaska. That was my first real introduction to OCF. A woman from my church said that I should go on this trip and I said okay! I signed up two weeks before the trip and when the day came that I would be traveling to Alaska, for a week, with complete strangers, I was scared, but I knew there was no turning back. I sometimes think back on this trip, and when I do, I think about how grateful I am that I went on it. This trip taught me to not be afraid and to just take whatever opportunities are thrown my way.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Get involved and go travel the world! This is coming from a girl who was too shy to talk growing up and did not want to do anything without a family member. To this day, I have been on two trips, Alaska and Greece, with a group of people who were complete strangers. Traveling across the country or world with people you don't know can be scary, but I can say that taking those trips has helped me to learn more about myself and I have moved out of my comfort zone. Getting involved is how I learned to be myself. So don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new!

I am Elizabeth Buck

South Student Leader

Senior, Texas A&M University

Major: Biomedical Engineering


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Seraphim of Sarov.


My interests include...

horseback riding, running, soccer, hiking, skiing, reading, and photography.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I play polo at Texas A&M University!

Why I Love OCF

OCF has helped cultivate my Orthodox faith by providing wonderful opportunities to learn about, experience, and share the love of Christ and His teachings with all of those around me. Through OCF I have also met my very best friends. These friends inspire me everyday with their humility and compassion for others!


An OCF Anecdote

My favorite OCF experiences are College Conference East and Real Break! I especially loved getting to travel to Thessaloniki, Greece this past Spring and witness what it means to be a living icon of the church and be a selfless servant to others.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Howdy! I am so excited to meet you all, and grow together in the faith that we hold so dearly to our hearts! I look forward to an exciting year of development both in the organization and in our own lives!

I am Amelia Barron

Midwest Student Leader

Senior, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Major: Animal Science


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Paisios!


My interests include...

animals and anything and everything outdoors! I work at my school's dairy farm, and I love hiking, swimming, and riding my bike (especially in the summer). Also, running is my go-to stress reliever.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I hitchhiked four times in a day once, but that’s probably something I shouldn’t be too proud of…


Why I Love OCF

Ahhh! So many thoughts that I don't know how to express in words!


I love OCF because it has maintained my relationship with Christ in college. Period. I'm not sure where I'd really be without it. Sure, I'd still go to church on Sundays, but I'm not sure if it would really be that important to me. Not only that, but I definitely wouldn't understand the importance of church, what certain practices really mean, why we fast, etc. I know understand the importance in understanding the Orthodox faith. It's so complex and having a better knowledge, asking questions, only makes it easier to want to go to church and have a relationship with others and Christ. I have learned SO MUCH through this organization just by engaging in conversations with priests and other students.


OCF is by far my favorite college organization. It has meant making my best friends, and I have seen first-hand how it has impacted their lives and my own. If one organization has impacted my life the most, it's OCF. There's no way around it. I'm just so grateful. The dream would be if every Orthodox college student invested their time into OCF. Trust me it's worth it.


An OCF Anecdote

This last Midwest Regional Spring Retreat, I remember being SO incredibly nervous because 1) a LOT of people registered, and I didn't know many of them before, and 2) a HUGE snowstorm was brewing to hit the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. It was that Thursday before and I just remember being so worried because a lot of people were calling to cancel. Anyways, I arrive to the retreat with my car packed with snacks and games and most of the people had already arrived. It was a bit awkward at first. People weren't really talking to each other and kind of standing around. Later that day we played icebreakers and had extremely deep discussions about spiritual and physical health, and then we ended the night playing Mafia. The next day Fr. Athanasios came to speak, and he was hilarious, and then we all headed to our service project. By Sunday afternoon it was quite the transformation. I felt like I had known everybody. We were all laughing and joking around. It was such a good feeling! I felt like I had met so many incredible friends and that there was absolutely no need to be worried in the first place. It was totally and completely in God's hands the entire time. Despite the storm and all of the new people and chaos, everyone still had a good time and felt that it was worth it. I felt a little silly when I got home that weekend because I definitely didn't trust His plan as much as I should have.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Perseverance! Don't ever give up. Ask those questions, introduce yourself to that new student, say what's on your mind. Any effort you put into your faith is worth anything that you get out of it. That goes for life and for college, too. If you try absolutely as hard as you can so you can say, "Thy will be done," then what do you have to lose?!

I am Caroline Retzios

Great Lakes Student Leader

Junior, Ohio State University

Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering

Minor: Business


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

a tie between St. Mary of Egypt, St. Paisios, and St. Porphyrios.


My interests include...

cooking (especially Greek food), traveling, and college basketball.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I love making cards for my friends and family! This mostly started from competing with my brothers to see who could make the best birthday card for my parents. Once, my brother took one of the cards I made and photocopied it to give to my mom. Clearly it's a really tough competition!


Why I Love OCF

OCF is my Orthodox family. It is an organization that provides so much more than weekly meetings or people to go to church with on Sundays. The relationships I have made through OCF have helped me to actively practice my faith in secular college life. We fast together. We pray together. We go to retreats together. OCF has pushed me to learn more about my faith and strengthen my spiritual life through a strong, pan-Orthodox community.


An OCF Anecdote

This past spring, I went on Real Break in New Orleans and volunteered with IOCC. Everyone had so much energy and excitement to work each day with Habitat for Humanity. Even when we came across difficulties, like uneven floors when we were tiling, our determination to show God’s love through our actions helped us have the patience to get the job done right. Also, the daily moral boost from Father Stephen’s Orthodox jokes!


A Message to My Fellow Students

I’m so excited to serve OCF as a regional leader! My advice to you all would be to make friends outside of your own jurisdiction. Up until college, I really hadn’t experienced Orthodoxy outside of my own jurisdiction. It’s amazing to learn about the different traditions and practices of the faith through pan-Orthodoxy. Surrounding yourself with Orthodox friends will for sure help you live a Christ-centered life in college and beyond!

I am Alex Lountzis

Southeast Student Leader

Junior, North Carolina State University

Majors: Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Porphyrios.


My interests include...

playing basketball, running, and reading.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I love music and playing my guitar!


Why I Love OCF

I love OCF because it has given me the opportunity to connect with and meet so many amazing Orthodox Christians who inspire me to be a better me every day. In my own experience, OCF has been huge in keeping me anchored to my faith while also enabling me to grow and learn about Orthodoxy and myself every day.


An OCF Anecdote

My favorite anecdote is from College Conference East when my friend Kosta and I sang/performed 'I Want it That Way' during the karaoke party. It was a blast!


A Message to My Fellow Students

OCF is more than just a "church club". It's an unbelievably amazing organization that allows Orthodox Christians of all jurisdictions to bond and grow closer to each other while also growing in their faith. Events such as Workdaze, College Conference, and Real Break are opportunities that have led me as well as countless others to some of the most cherished and beautiful friendships. If I had any advice to give, it would be to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to attending OCF events, because the experiences are truly life-changing.

I am Zachary Loution

Mid-Atlantic Student Leader

Sophomore, Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Major: Secondary Education in History

Minor: Special Education


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Dionysios of Zakynthos.


My interests include...

being a Pittsburgh sports fan.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I like to run. I run a lot which it has led me to participate in a lot of races including 5K's, 10k's, and half-marathons. I hope to complete a full marathon in the near future.


Why I Love OCF

I love OCF because it gives me the opportunity to meet more Orthodox Christians around the country. OCF means a lot to me--I consider it an honor and privilege to grow and learn more about our faith. OCF has impacted me to step up and serve in the Orthodox Church.


An OCF Anecdote

My favorite OCF anecdote is from this past winter attending College Conference East at Antiochian Village. This was my very first OCF experience, and at first, I was not sure what to expect. I was very impressed on how the conference was set up, the guest speakers that spoke, topics that were discussed about our faith, and meeting all new people from all over. With this great experience opened doors of me wanting to get more involved in our Church through OCF.


A Message to My Fellow Students

I am looking forward to being on the Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Leadership Board. I am honored to take on the role as Mid-Atlantic Student Leader. I can't wait to serve on the board, and I am looking forward to meet as many as my fellow students as possible.

I am Kristina Anastasiades

Northeast Student Leader

Sophomore, University of Hartford

Major: Music Education (K-12)


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

Saint Dionysios and St. Phanourios. It is very true for me when they say that your saints pick you, because they always come back to me in my prayers and intercede time and time again.


My interests include...

hiking, playing the ukulele, Greek dancing, and A CAPPELLA!!


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I play Ultimate Frisbee!


Why I Love OCF

OCF is a bridge that I crossed from being a kid who lived my faith in the safety of my family and parish that I grew up in, to being an independent young adult taking responsibility for my faith and truly owning it in a setting that is unfamiliar and new. OCF connected me with other students so that I wasn’t alone on that bridge. It also gave me the opportunity to develop personal relationships with the priests and lay people in the churches around my university. I felt like was a valued member of their church and was given the affection and support as if I had grown up in their parish all these years. Meeting other priests and adults who lived through their own tragedies and hardships and came out on the other side as an even stronger warrior of God was a testament that if they can do it, so can I. Being able to witness their faith as a precious gift that they foster and attend to, rather than an obligation or burden, was inspiring and contagious in our OCF meetings. OCF gives me the opportunity to continue to cross the bridge into the real world with my brothers and sisters in Christ by my side.


An OCF Anecdote

I met my spiritual father through OCF. I attended my first Bible study through OCF. I met students who valued the same things I did. I was able to sit in a meeting for four hours and talk about God! Our first couple meetings were so lengthy because we were so hungry to hear God’s Word, to be in a safe space, to be home, with God among us. Every meeting lifted all my burdens and worries right off of my shoulders. I was set on fire each meeting, filled with so much peace and hope. After our meetings, I would enter my late night a cappella rehearsals, a new Kristina, while others were drained and miserable, filled with fears and anxieties that their day had brought. OCF gave me the strength to be strong for my friends and carry them when they couldn’t carry themselves. Our Monday meetings gave me a light that carried me to Sunday mornings at 7am when the choir director picked me up for church. Without OCF, I wouldn’t have been able to continue to experience God’s graces throughout my day.


A Message to My Fellow Students

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Read this over a few times and let it really sink in. This was my mantra during my first semester of college. Trust God, that He will provide and take care of you. You are in good hands and yes, not everything will come naturally in this transition, but being able to trust and seek His will, is your secret weapon during times of trouble. This small prayer will help bring you peace and stillness in your busy days. Just remember that anxiety or even the demands of your classes are not the captains of your ship, only Christ. With that said, you can get involved and have the discernment to know which clubs are the most important use of your time, in furthering your faith and character. This may sound cheesy, but you can do the impossible with God! You can find that balance of school, work, and fellowship with your peers. You will be okay. And you can push yourself to grow spiritually while attending college by being involved in OCF! Your efforts won’t go unnoticed, because you are making an impact on your peers whether you realize it or not. And sometimes when hardships strike, it may not be about you, but those around you. They are watching how you respond to those situations and as my IOCC leader, Dan Christopulos said, “Your life may be the only Bible they ever read.” So, trust, seek God’s will, and even if your school doesn’t have an OCF, like mine, start one! Everyone at OCF is rooting for you.

I am Dimitri Gagianas

College Conference East Student Leader

Junior, Ohio State University

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Minor: Business


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Romanos the Melodist. In 2017, my campers at Camp Nazareth decided on St. Romanos the Melodist to be our cabin saint. After every meal, we prayed to him and even created our own hymn to him in the same melody of the Kontakion of the Nativity, which he wrote. The impact he had on our cabin was palpable and he still inspires us to this very day.


My interests include...

fishing. There are few things more relaxing than standing with my toes in the sand, the waves gently rolling up on my ankles, with a line in the water, not knowing what I could catch at any moment.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I love taking video and creating travel movies and hope to one day do videography part time.


Why I Love OCF

OCF has opened up the world of pan-Orthodoxy to me. Growing up in a Greek church, going to a Greek camp, and practicng the traditions of the Greek culture, I had became isolated from the diversity of the Orthodox community. OCF has allowed me to appreciate the different chanting styles, food, and the plethora of exhilarating dances from across the world, while still being centered around Christ.


An OCF Anecdote

On Real Break 2018, I traveled to New Orleans with an amazing group of motivated young adults. After a long day of work, we were treated with two tables overflowing with crawfish and potatoes. I will never forget standing out in the sun, feasting on some fresh cook seafood, then getting right back to work.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Come to College Conference with an open mind this year. Not everything will stay the same, so expect tradition and revision. There will be hundreds of great people and thousands of opportunities to learn. If you don’t know many people in OCF, this is a great opportunity to meet some awesome people! If you already have a great support system through OCF, be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and meet others. I look forward to seeing you all throughout the many events in OCF this year!

I am Peter Karos

College Conference Midwest Student Leader

Junior, University of Minnesota

Major: Finance

Minors: History, Business Analytics


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Paisios of Mount Athos.


My interests include...

hanging out with friends and family, golf, following and watching sports of any kind, and Church.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I am very very passionate about my men's softball league.


Why I Love OCF

OCF has been a steady force in my "college experience." Whether it is a way to a get involved, the ability to surround myself with an awesome group of like-minded Orthodox friends (S/O Midwest), or an outlet to regenerate and recenter myself around God...OCF has been there. College without OCF is something I do not want to imagine, and thankfully I don't have to! Get involved, you won't regret it!


An OCF Anecdote

Chanting the Akathist of Thanksgiving in the freezing cold snow on the Proskinitaria (Icon) walk at College Conference 2k17 following a fire Paraklesis of course.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Be brave and prioritize the Church in your life, and God will do the rest. Also, come to College Conference!

I am Simeon Brasowski

Real Break Student Leader

Senior, County College of Morris

Major: Business Administration


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Simeon the God-Receiver.


My interests include...

hiking, camping, or anything involving nature.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I'm a sucker for ice cream. I love every flavor as long as it's vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.


Why I Love OCF

I love OCF because of all the different programs and events they provide to college students. It's amazing how much OCF does for college students and what they have to offer. To me, OCF means family. Growing up, everything you do as a family you do with OCF. We socialize, motivate, pray, and commune together. There's nothing better then having that home away from home being your local OCF chapter. All the people in OCF inspire me to live a more Christ-centered life everyday. Everything OCF does allows you to put Christ first.


An OCF Anecdote

Going on my first OCF Real Break trip to Alaska was amazing. Going into it I had no idea what to expect. I had the most incredible time with some of the greatest Orthodox Christians around and made 10 new friends that I contact frequently. I even found my best friend on my Real Break trip.


A Message to My Fellow Students

OCF is not just about the years you spend in college. Your college years are when OCF will have the biggest impact in your life, but the friendships you make and the bonds you create will last forever. Take the leap and join OCF, you'll never regret it.

I am Demetri Maroutsos

Publications Student Leader

Senior, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

Minors: Anthropology, Spanish


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Demetrios, St. Paisios, St. Mary of Egypt, and St. Panteleimon.


My interests include...

Biochemistry and biology, reading, medicine, music, and traveling.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I play the cello and speak three languages.


Why I Love OCF

I love OCF because it was a call to action for me to grow spiritually and help others grow spiritually as well. I started as a freshman and have gained valuable experience but most important, a stronger relationship with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, and for that I cannot thank OCF enough. OCF means family, people who you grow with and struggle with as well as have fun with. I have met many talented and inspirational peers through OCF programs both locally and nationally and I have learned so much about them. I would not be the person I was today had I not joined OCF at my school, and it has molded me for the better.


An OCF Anecdote

I went on a Real Break trip to Mexico at the St. Innocent Orphanage. My favorite memory from that trip was listening and dancing to music with my friends and with the orphan boys while we were working on a project painting their rooms.


Another favorite memory I have was at the Fall Midwest Regional Retreat. A group of students and I were hanging out, chatting until the wee hours of the morning. As I went to my room to retire for the night, I lied down on what felt like hard wooden planks, and in that moment I found that MY MATTRESS WAS STOLEN FROM MY ROOM. Running out to confront the suspected culprit, I see half of the students in the retreat who were all in on the joke, and one of my friends scrambling to pull a mattress out into the hallway. My mouth stood agape, and the whole retreat burst out in a loud continuous laughter for about 20 minutes.


A Message to My Fellow Students

Hi, I'm excited to get to know all of you, and please let me know how I can better serve you!

I am Eva Tempenis

Media Student Leader

Junior, Clemson University

Major: Elementary Education


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Ephraim of Nea Makri.


My interests include...

gardening, cooking, painting, drawing, photography, traveling, befriending strangers, exploring new coffee shops, hiking, watching the sunset and the stars, learning new things, serving as a camp counselor, music, home improvement, and fitness.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

My dream vehicle is a Dodge Ram 4x4 truck.


Why I Love OCF

Orthodox Christian Fellowship means so much to me and I hope I can find the right words to adequately express that in the best way I possibly can. Whenever I attend any OCF event, I instantly feel the peace and the genuine love of Christ in the atmosphere, and my spirit automatically feels uplifted. In OCF, it is no wonder to me that it seems like we're a family, because in all reality, we are. It is a place where brothers and sisters in Christ gather without reservation and offer nothing but their own unique talents, joys/struggles, and light. OCF brings us closer together, and I think without it, I truly am not sure I would be the person Christ has molded me into today. OCF has impacted my life by placing some of the most treasured people in my path and has reconnected me with people I thought I would never have the opportunity to see again (Glory to God for that). Finally, OCF has taught me how to seek and desire Christ. From the many speakers I've heard at Summer Leadership Institute, WorkDaze, and chapter meetings, the talks remain in my head and live in my heart, and whenever I face times of despondency or emptiness in my spiritual journey, I always remember what I have learned from them and then they help make me whole again.


An OCF Anecdote

Whenever I attended my first WorkDaze retreat, I remember going on a trail with friends I just met to find the outdoor chapel at the Diakonia Center. Once we got there, we sat on wooden pews and there was a moment of complete silence, it was arguably one of the most peaceful and awkward moments of my life. But then, someone broke the out in song, singing "Halo" by Beyonce, and all of us joined in, and we had such a cool bonding experience together. I think it is absolutely amazing how not only Christ can unite us together, but the power music has to do the same thing (kind of like when we chant together).


A Message to My Fellow Students

COME TO ANY OCF EVENT YOU POSSIBLY CAN! In the end, you will not regret coming, and however much you put into it, you will get that much and more out of it. I guarantee you will meet some of the most wholesome and beautiful-souled humans ever. Also, since there is usually free food at the Southeast WorkDaze retreat and some chapter meetings, that should be enough to get you going anyways. :)

I am Andja Bjeletich

Podcast Student Leader

Sophomore, Trinity University

Majors: English, Russian


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. John Maximovitch. I write a letter to him every night!


My interests include...

reading, hanging out with friends, and running Netflix marathons.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

When I was five I really wanted to be a spy, but then I told everyone in my karate class that I wanted to be a spy so now I can never live up to my real dream of being a spy. (Or maybe that's just what I want you to think and I actually am a spy.)


Why I Love OCF

I love OCF because it gives me a chance to be an active member in the faith and to struggle through life with my peers. It's a safe place where I can grow in my faith and meet others who are going through similar challenges as we try to grow in Christ.


An OCF Anecdote

Unfortunately my university does not currently have an OCF, so I've spent the better part of last year setting one up. When I was telling a fellow student about OCF and how I am trying to get one set up in San Antonio, she rolled her eyes and asked why I didn't just join the Jewish organization on campus! I kept trying to tell her I was an Orthodox Christian, but I don't think she fully understood. We've grown to be pretty close friends now, but that just always cracks me up!


A Message to My Fellow Students

This is a really difficult time in our lives. We are faced with a lot of self-discovery and a lot of change, and it is really crucial to have a group of peers that are going through the same challenges as you! I'm excited to be a podcast student leader because it gives me the opportunity to share my story with you and for you to share yours with me! We have an excellent opportunity here. We have the chance to come together to grow in our faiths and understand who we are through the light of Christ. Let's take this opportunity and run with it!

I am Dimitri Godur

Public Relations Student Leader

Junior, Columbia University

Major: Psychology on the Pre-Med track


My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…

St. Demetrios, St. Jerasimos, and St. Nektarios.


My interests include...

playing/collecting/building guitars, various styles of music performance, folk dancing, conducting medical research, shadowing physicians, traveling, and being a foodie.


One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…

I was trained in fencing for 6 years on foil!


Why I Love OCF

My Orthodox Christian faith has played the most integral role in crafting how I have chosen to live my life. Having participated with programs such as GOYA, the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, IOCC, camps, and service in the Holy Altar, I knew that the ministries of our Church had changed my perspectives like no other, intensifying my devotion to the faith and fostering new relationships with some of my closest friends. I knew when moving to New York City for college that I had to continue my participation with the Church in new and exciting ways, and OCF was the perfect outlet. I immediately became the Columbia University chapter secretary and helped increase membership both on campus and around local parishes as well as coordinated various events and speaker presentations. With an even broader exposure to the work of OCF through events and retreats, my relationships and faith grew further. I knew that serving my Lord and Savior and fellow Orthodox Christians on the Student Leadership Board would be the perfect way to progress my involvement and express my gratitude towards the faith that has forever impacted who I am.


An OCF Anecdote

As much as I love the hustle and bustle of NYC, my heart is forever home in the sunny beaches of South Florida, and the Diakonia Retreat Center where I had attended St. Stephen’s camp. Despite being hours north, when it came time for Southeast WorkDaze at the DRC, my OCF friends from the city and I packed the car at 4:30 am and made the 13-hour drive full of stories, Virginia diners, Dabke, and “Pontian hour” to surprise our friends at the retreat. The screams were priceless!


A Message to My Fellow Students

Never, ever give up. Persevere. Always believe in yourself and your abilities, and know that whatever happens rests in God’s hands and works out for the best. College can be a troubling and confusing time, and one may come across a whole gamut of people and experiences that challenge their faith. Be proactive with your studies, work, and professors, and make sure to set goals and time frames. Don’t compare your abilities to those of others, and above all, never forget to take time out of your day to thank your Creator for all the love and guidance He has given you.

Caroline Mellekas

Caroline Mellekas

SLB Chairman

Caroline Mellekas

SLB Chairman

Sophia Fraser

Sophia Fraser

Northwest Student Leader

Sophia Fraser

Northwest Student Leader

Zoe Kanakis

Zoe Kanakis

Southwest Student Leader

Zoe Kanakis

Southwest Student Leader

Quinn Marquardt

Quinn Marquardt

Mountain Student Leader

Quinn Marquardt

Mountain Student Leader

Elizabeth Buck

Elizabeth Buck

South Student Leader

Elizabeth Buck

South Student Leader

Amelia Barron

Amelia Barron

Midwest Student Leader

Amelia Barron

Midwest Student Leader

Caroline Retzios

Caroline Retzios

Great Lakes Student Leader

Caroline Retzios

Great Lakes Student Leader

Alex Lountzis

Alex Lountzis

Southeast Student Leader

Alex Lountzis

Southeast Student Leader

Zachary Loution

Zachary Loution

Mid-Atlantic Student Leader

Zachary Loution

Mid-Atlantic Student Leader

Kristina Anastasiades

Kristina Anastasiades

Northeast Student Leader

Kristina Anastasiades

Northeast Student Leader

Dimitri Gagianas

Dimitri Gagianas

College Conference East Student Leader

Dimitri Gagianas

College Conference East Student Leader

Peter Karos

Peter Karos

College Conference Midwest Student Leader

Peter Karos

College Conference Midwest Student Leader

Simeon Brasowski

Simeon Brasowski

Real Break Student Leader

Simeon Brasowski

Real Break Student Leader

Demetri Maroutsos

Demetri Maroutsos

Publications Student Leader

Demetri Maroutsos

Publications Student Leader

Eva Tempenis

Eva Tempenis

Media Student Leader

Eva Tempenis

Media Student Leader

Andja Bjeletich

Andja Bjeletich

Podcast Student Leader

Andja Bjeletich

Podcast Student Leader

Dimitri Godur

Dimitri Godur

Public Relations Student Leader

Dimitri Godur

Public Relations Student Leader