Student Leadership

SLB1415Every year, OCF is led by a team of talented students who take on leadership positions in Orthodox campus ministry. The Student Leadership Board works with staff and clergy volunteers to implement the programs of OCF, advise and inspire their peers on campuses, and develop new resources and programs for Orthodox college students.

Click on a name below to get to know your 2014-2015 Board!

Andrew Abboud
Student Leadership Board Chairman, slbchairman@ocf.net
Perry Gadinas
Northwest Student Leader, northweststudent@ocf.net
Pat Lynch
Southwest Student Leader, southweststudent@ocf.net
Nik Wacks
Mountain Student Leader, mountainstudent@ocf.net
Mary Catherine Huneycutt
South Student Leader, southstudent@ocf.net
Dana Zawahri
Great Lakes Student Leader, greatlakesstudent@ocf.net
Alexia Zecopoulos
Southeast Student Leader, southeaststudent@ocf.net
Yianni Gagianas
Mid-Atlantic Student Leader, midatlanticstudent@ocf.net
Alex Kuvshinoff
Northeast Student Leader, northeaststudent@ocf.net
Kamille Perry
College Conference East Student Leader, cceaststudent@ocf.net
Alyssa Hoffberg
College Conference West Student Leader, ccweststudent@ocf.net
Vanessa Constantinidis
Real Break Student Leader, realbreakstudent@ocf.net
Thano Prokos
Publications Student Leader, publicationsstudent@ocf.net
Matthew Monos
Media Student Leader, mediastudent@ocf.net


Andrew Abboud, Student Leadership Board Chairman

Andrew Abboud

Year in School: Senior
School: University of Pittsburgh
Majors: Biological Sciences & Religious Studies
Minors: Chemistry & Russian and Eastern European Studies

My OCF Story
OCF has helped me to grow as an Orthodox Christian. As a freshman, I travelled with a Real Break trip to Constantinople to do mission work in a dilapidated cemetery. Since then, I have been actively involved as a Student Leader within OCF. I served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Leader for the past two years, and I am excited to serve as the Student Leadership Board Chairman this year!

An OCF Anecdote
One of my favorite OCF memories is having a giant snowball fight at college conference, and then warming up after with a trip to Sheetz.

Interests
Intramural soccer, research, University Tour Guide, traveling

A Message to My Fellow Students
OCF for me has been about the connection we all share – the Church. My hope is to help you all connect with each other, to make lifelong friends, and to grow together in our faith.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I used to do gymnastics when I was 7 years old.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Andrew

Go to the Top

Perry GadinasNorthwest Student Leader

Perry Gadinas

Year in School: Junior
School: Oregon State University
Major: Economics

My OCF Story
OCF, for me, is a group that I can always count on remaining steady and strong when any other aspects of my life may seem like they’re falling apart. It is a community of like-minded individuals, whose experience and practice in the Orthodox Faith provide me with a home away from home.

An OCF Anecdote
An awesome experience I will always remember was when our OCF chapter at OSU gave up sleeping in for one Saturday, and drove out to Newport on the Oregon Coast to participate in a liturgy at a young mission church trying to get on its feet. The church was in the basement of an old American Legion building and took up only a very small room. We only brought five people, but even that just about doubled the amount of people who were there. It was a very humbling experience and made us realize how lucky we all were to have such easy access to the church when we grew up.

Interests
Being from the Northwest I enjoy outdoors activities like hiking, biking, and just plain old exploring. I also play several musical instruments and love music in general. I also love Greek Dance!

A Message to My Fellow Students
As hard as it may be living in this age of growing technology, I urge everyone to try to make time for themselves to just take a step back and wander in your own thoughts. Get away from the screen, and go out and enjoy what God has blessed us with.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I had three front teeth when I was a kid.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Nektarios

Go to the Top

Pat Lynch, Southwest Student Leader

Pat LynchYear in School: Junior
School: Western Governor’s University
Major: Business Management

My OCF Story

I absolutely love the Orthodox Faith, the Church, and being in Christian community—there’s nothing better! So when I see fellow students receive that same fervor and desire for their faith through the programs and efforts of OCF, I feel such a deep satisfaction and joy knowing that I get to be a part of this wonderful ministry.

An OCF Anecdote
I had the pleasure of going on OCF’s Real Break Romania trip this last year. It was absolutely amazing! So many wonderful memories were made as we fostered real friendships within our OCF group and those we met on during our stay in Romania. A highlight? Staying up ‘til 1am every night bonding with the other guys on the trip. We called it: Real Break [B]romania.

Interests
Every couple of months, I buy a new musical instrument. It’s kind of a problem.

A Message to My Fellow Students
This is the year! The year for you to get involved with OCF more than ever before. Never been to College Conference? Sign up for it—you’ll love it! Want to go on a Real Break trip? It will be the highlight of your year! Want to make your OCF chapter more active on campus, or start a chapter at your school? We have the programs and the resources you need to make it happen! Being a part of OCF will be one of the best and most life-changing experiences of your college career. Get involved!

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I build space ships. True story.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Peter, Chief of the Apostles

Go to the Top

Nik Wacks, Mountain Student Leader

Nik WacksYear in School: Senior
School: University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
Major: Computer Science

My OCF Story
To me, OCF represents a unity between all Orthodox students, which is something that I believe to be essential to our students’ well-being. It is especially critical to have this network here in the Mountain Region where our chapters are few and far away and anything helps.

An OCF Anecdote
This last spring, I went on the Romania Real Break trip, and it was truly wonderful. It was amazing to see great work being done by the Provina Orphanage, and to see the depth of faith of our hosts and everyone we met was truly humbling.

Interests
camping, hiking, and pretending that I know how to cook

A Message to My Fellow Students
Stay strong. College is tough, and at times, very stressful. There will be temptations and challenges, but they can be overcome. Just persevere.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I once drank 20 shots of espresso in one day. Long story short, don’t try this at home.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Stylianos

Go to the Top

Mary Catherine Huneycutt, South Student Leader

Mary Catherine HuneycuttYear in School: Junior
School: University of Houston
Major: English Literature
Minor: Arab Studies

My OCF Story
OCF helps me stay connected with my Orthodox friends & constantly serves to remind me of the importance of my faith.

An OCF Anecdote
During spring break 2013, I attended Real Break in Constantinople and worked alongside 17 other Orthodox college students to restore a weathered and vandalized cemetery. The trip opened my eyes to many present day issues such as the removal of Christianity from the very places in which it was born, and the constant battle of good versus evil. By working and traveling together, I established strong friendships within just 6 days, thus fully realizing the beauty of OCF.

Interests
I love being outdoors – camping, hiking, hammocking. I also enjoy travel and music, as well as long walks on the beach.

A Message to My Fellow Students
I have grown in my faith and built many relationships thanks to OCF and I hope to help students across the country connect and grow through the church this coming year. OCF provides a haven for college students constantly dealing with the stress of classes, work and society – get involved and stay connected with your Orthodox friends!

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I’m an avid Carolina Panthers football fan.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
a three-way tie between St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. Mary of Egypt, and Tsar Nicholas II and his family

Go to the Top

Dana Zawahri, Great Lakes Student Leader

Dana ZawahriYear in School: Senior
School: Miami University
Major: Marketing

My OCF Story
Growing up in the Antiochian church, I was extremely involved in SOYO and served as the president for the Midwest region. Going to college, I was so blessed to find a group of Orthodox people who I was able to relate to on all levels. They are some of the closest friends I have.

An OCF Anecdote
My OCF started ethnic nights where once a semester different ethnic groups host a dinner, complete with desserts and drinks!

Interests
member of the Chi Omega Sorority and active member in the young adults group at my home parish – St. George Akron, OH

A Message to My Fellow Students
I am so excited to serve and bring all of us together in fellowship. With the help of the presidents in our region, I believe that we will be able to spend time together in fellowship and service.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I really, really enjoy learning new things.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Thekla

Go to the Top

Alexia Zecopoulos, Southeast Student Leader

Alexia ZecopoulosYear in School: Senior
School: Charleston Southern University
Major: Economics
Minor: French

My OCF Story
I have been involved with OCF for the past four years, and it has been an incredible experience. It has helped me transition through college and has introduced me to great people who are able to support and encourage me in an Orthodox way. It has been the most influential part of my life in college in terms of spiritual growth and overall happiness.

An OCF Anecdote
I love going to WorkDaze at the Diakonia Center. As a kid, I went to camp there every year and having a chance to go and give back with service projects is the best feeling ever!

Interests
I am in the marching and symphonic bands at CSU and am a registered pharmacy technician! I also love camping and exploring new places!

A Message to My Fellow Students
I’m so excited for this year! I want OCF to grow and flourish and for everyone to have a chance to get involved! Don’t be shy, feel free to contact me with any questions/suggestions/just to say hi! I’m praying for a successful and enriching year for everyone!

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I am a huge cat lady! I have one at my apartment and three at my parent’s house…and I want about a million more.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Ephraim the Syrian

Go to the Top

Yianni Gagianas, Mid-Atlantic Student Leader

Yianni GagianasYear in School: Junior
School: University of Delaware
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minor: Bioelectrical Engineering

My OCF Story
I love OCF for so many reasons. OCF is where I met some of my best friends in college and I look forward to our meeting every week. It is so nice having a support group of Orthodox Christians on campus. We help each other grow in the faith and learn all we can together about Orthodoxy. OCF is so important to me and my college experience would be much different without it.

An OCF Anecdote
Last spring, some of the students from my chapter went to an awesome restaurant together and we ate cheeseburgers before the Lenten fast started. It was so much fun and we ate so much!

Interests
I love to go fishing, listen to country music, and play pick-up soccer. At school, I am involved with a 12 hour dance marathon that raises money to benefit childhood cancer research and help families who are dealing with childhood cancer. I also work in a nanotechnology cancer research lab at school. I am very passionate about helping people with cancer.

A Message to My Fellow Students
Never be afraid to tell other college students about your Orthodox faith and how important your faith is to you. You never know who might want to learn all about it.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I went on a pilgrimage to Mount Athos with my Dad when I was 16. I would love to go back soon.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Nektarios of Aegina

Go to the Top

Alex Kuvshinoff, Northeast Student Leader

Alex KuvshinoffYear in School: Junior
School: Fordham University
Major: Business Administration
Minor: History

My OCF Story
I love OCF because it is exciting to see other young people so energized by their faith. OCF to me is a bridge between childhood and adulthood for our faith to walk across. OCF has allowed me to stay grounded in my faith with the difficulties of college.

An OCF Anecdote
College Conference 2013 was where I really saw what OCF was capable of. Hundreds of Orthodox students like myself taking time out of their holiday break to gather, pray, and grow. It was a wonderful experience that I recommend to everyone.

Interests
club soccer, squash, marketing society, travel

A Message to My Fellow Students
“Seek first the Kingdom of God.” When we take care of our faith, the rest will fall into place. Salvation is everyone’s first priority so be sure to keep your faith close at all times, especially in school.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I can solve a Rubik’s Cube!

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Nektarios

Go to the Top

Kamille Perry, College Conference East Student Leader

Kamille PerryYear in School: Junior
School: Columbia University
Majors: Political Science & Middle Eastern Studies

My OCF Story
OCF has been essential for me in providing a family and support system when far from home and my home parish. It has helped bridge school years between intensive camp experiences with spirited discussion, community, and love.

An OCF Anecdote
Last year at college conference, I had the opportunity to sit with many college students in an informal Q&A with His Grace Bishop GREGORY. OCF provided the opportunity to really get to know a hierarch and explore the questions of our faith in our campus lives in an incredibly intimate and unique way!

Interests
debating politics on the academic quad, swimming under starry skies, and laughing until my sides ache

A Message to My Fellow Students
Take advantage of OCF and all its resources. If you don’t know where to look, contact your regional student leader or any of OCF’s student leaders. There are so many opportunities if you take the time to seek them.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I once met Bill Clinton at a rodeo.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Thekla

Go to the Top

Alyssa Hoffberg, College Conference West Student Leader

Alyssa HoffbergYear in School: Senior
School: California State University – Northridge
Major: Recreational Tourism Management

My OCF Story
The OCF College Conference gives me a safe haven of sorts where I am surrounded by peers who believe what I believe. I can let down my guard and embrace Orthodoxy in a way that is impossible when immersed in the secular world. It gives me people to relate to and seek support from when I need it. Lastly, it rejuvenates me spiritually, making everything else in my life a little bit easier and a little bit simpler.

An OCF Anecdote
Last year, during our committee wrap up, a student asked to speak with us. He told us that College Conference opened his eyes and inspired him to take his faith seriously. He said to keep doing what we are doing because it matters and makes a difference.

Interests
hiking, theology, scrapbooking, line dancing with my sisters, connecting with family and friends

A Message to My Fellow Students
I am really excited and a tad nervous to be taking on this role, but knowing I can count on your support puts any apprehension at ease. I can’t wait to meet everyone and start this new challenge/chapter/adventure.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I have a hard time verbalizing left from right unless I shake my right hand first or move it in some way.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
a toss up between St. John the Theologian and St. Seraphim of Sarov

Go to the Top

Vanessa Constantinidis, Real Break Student Leader

Vanessa ConstantinidisYear in School: Graduate Student
School: St. Joseph’s University
Major: Secondary Education

My OCF Story
I never would have thought that my first encounter five years ago with an OCF group at a local coffee shop in Philly would have led me to serve on the OCF Student Leadership Board today, but I am beyond happy that it did! My OCF journey began when I was a freshman at Saint Joseph’s University, where my good friend Dino and I would attend OCF discussions with fellow Orthodox Christians bi-weekly at the University of Pennsylvania. The following year I attended OCF College Conference (with the help of a scholarship) and was blessed to meet Orthodox Christians from all over the East Coast and grow together in our faith through discussions and church services. If I didn’t love OCF already, last March I had to opportunity to attend Real Break Romania and fell completely in love with the every aspect of it. Through OCF, I was able to stay connected to my faith during my undergraduate career and after it as well.

An OCF Anecdote
As I previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to attend Real Break Romania and can honestly say that nothing in the world could top my experiences there. I had no idea what to expect when I got to Romania and I was truly touched by the welcoming, humbling, and uplifting souls that I met in Valea Screzii. For a village with people of such damaged, broken pasts, they have the best attitudes because of their strong relationship with Christ and that is very inspiring. In addition to our relationship service in Valea Screzii, we also made bonds with the college students in Bucharest which was remarkable. The relationships and memories I made on my Real Break Romania mission trip has pushed me to know our Orthodox faith even better and serve as a Real Break Student Leader.

Interests
I love to write, listen to music (country, rap, and Greek mostly), travel anywhere and everywhere (always on the road or in the air), drink coffee, work-out, watch soccer and baseball, read Young Adult fiction, shop, counsel at Metropolis summer camps, and hang out with friends.

A Message to My Fellow Students
I am beyond excited to meet and bond with all of you throughout this year and help each other grow even stronger in our faith. In addition to growing together in our faith, I am hype for us to help others engage in Orthodoxy through OCF activities and events. I think that together, with all of our past experiences related to OCF, we will be able to build a very strong team and spread the OCF mission.

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I am the Nouna of a 10-going-on-to 25 year old diva.

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Gerasimos because he is the patron saint of my favorite island, Kefalonia

Go to the Top

Thano Prokos, Publications Student Leader

Thano ProkosYear in School: Junior
School: DePaul University
Major: Secondary Education – English Concentration

My OCF Story
I went into DePaul—a meager freshman—eager to join what I had coined “the Orthodox club.” I grew up in the church, and I loved the church, but I never really felt like I was part of the youth life at my home parish. I figured that college was a time for change, a time to be more assertive, a time to really own my faith and to make close Orthodox friends. Our previous president was an amazing girl who really did a great job to make me feel like I belonged in this new group that I took an immediate liking to. Furthermore, the culture of DePaul has always been one that is really supportive of our campus needs. The University Ministry Department bends over backwards to make sure we get a chance to showcase who we are. We’ve always made sure that we go “deep” in our meetings, talking about Orthodoxy within the context of things like war, atheism, and church politics. Not to mention that the DePaul OCF (in my opinion) throws the best parties on campus. So, what do I love about his ministry? Well, college is all about growth—whether it be intellectual or experiential, and I feel like the culture of OCF compliments that growth in the context of faith, and to me, there’s nothing better in college that I could ask for.

An OCF Anecdote
When I was on Real Break Romania, my fellow (strapping young) men and I were conscripted to break large patches of dirt with a shovel while the ladies on our trip spent more time playing with the children at the orphanage we were volunteering at. Because our group was so close with each other, we naturally started singing soul music for the duration of our shoveling. It was a good day.

Interests
writing, teaching, going on walks, going to concerts, watching TV and movies, over-analyzing TV and movies, poetry, cooking, and playing air guitar when I think no one else is home

A Message to My Fellow Students
You’ll probably get more chances to learn in college than you will at any other time in life. OCF is probably the only time you’ll be with so many people with as many opportunities and as much passion as you. Take advantage of it!

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
I do a mean Chewbacca impression

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
a tie between St. Athanasios and St. Augustine

Go to the Top

Matthew Monos, Media Student Leader

Matthew MonosYear in School: Junior
School: University of Missouri
Major: Psychology
Minor: American Constitutional Democracy

My OCF Story
I thought that OCF was just going to be one more “PK” obligation. Little did I realize how important it would become for me. It’s a place to serve my fellow Orthodox Christians and a place to share in loving fellowship with them. Those two things, among other things, have helped me to claim my faith and make it my own in a living, breathing experience.

An OCF Anecdote
College Conference East 2013 was just stupendous. I had the opportunity to see old friends and to reconnect with people I had forgotten I knew as well as make new friends. Singing late through every night with those friends was the most spiritually rewarding thing I’ve done in years.

Interests
reading, photography, writing, chanting, cooking, and watching movies with friends

A Message to My Fellow Students
Whatever you do, put your entire mind, soul, and body into it. Allow Christ to lead your efforts, and you’ll find your path. Whatever your efforts accomplish, give the glory to God, even if the end product doesn’t seem so great. In fact, thank God especially when things don’t go so right!

One interesting thing about me that you wouldn’t be able to guess is…
My middle name is Socrates!

My favorite saint (other than the Theotokos) is…
St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon of Simferopol

Go to the Top