Hear From A Recent Phi Who

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Hear From A Recent Phi WhoPhi Kappa Theta has a magnetism that captured Rappaport. The fraternity's main appeal for him resided within its members, and the achievements that could be reached together.

“For me it was extremely positive. … It was full of leadership opportunities. It was full of great friends, [and] philanthropy. I think for me it made … the Penn State community feel like just that – like a community... It really shrunk my world, and made it much less intimidating as an 18-year-old out of high school,” Rappaport says.

Phi Kappa Theta brings their members together in effort, opportunities and with entertaining events, which Rappaport fully experienced.

“There's a handful of events every semester, like hay rides are formal events that I think a lot of folks remember for a long time. … [When you] first … learn the chant, and you do it as a brother, it's kind of this overwhelming feeling of comradery and having … achieved something, like your first major accomplishment in college. At least it was mine,” he recalls.

He excelled within Phi Kappa Theta. “I was president in my final year, and I just learned a lot about myself, and about managing people and personalities...” Rappaport says. This led to creating many great, and lasting memories. “I'm not sure that I have one moment that particularly, you know, stands out from other good ones, but there have been quite a few good ones,” he explains.

However, as is inevitable, college life eventually comes to a close.

“After graduating, I went into business development for … capital engineering. And, then I taught English abroad for a year in Israel, and then I came back and went to grad school for public finance. And, now I work for the City of Baltimore Finance Department,” Rappaport says.

Through it all, Rappaport has not forgotten the bonds made with his fellow Phi Kappa Theta brothers, and mentions Adam Williams, Greg Demitrack, Johnny Acevedo, Zach Gilhuly and Owen Kaplan.

“A few of them are my best friends from high school, and I actually just went to Philly last week, and I saw three, or four others. And, I'm actually heading to my friend's house … next week in Annapolis, Maryland. All of whom were in the frat during my time there. So, I'm still in touch with – I would say close touch with 10, or 12 people,” he says. They maintain contact through email, as well as visit each other regularly. He believes they are fortunate. “... [Some live in] Baltimore, some live in D.C., others in Philly [and] New York. We're all on the East Coast. It's easier to jump around, and see folks once, or twice a month. … We'll all be attending Adam's bachelor party this spring in Cabo, Mexico.”

Rappaport affirms that Phi Kappa Theta enabled him with skills he continues to rely on.

“People management, and … leadership opportunities … It established this self-accountability, and [of] having long-term goals for an organization... You can take, and apply it to any kind of professional endeavor, or management aspiration...” he says.

Rappaport comments he has not yet done anything he considers exciting, such as buy a house, or get engaged. “No, nothing crazy,” he says. The future is still in the making. For now, Rappaport concludes by offering advice to students, and recent alumni.

“... Don't burn bridges. Utilize all your relationships, and the challenges, particularly if you're still in school. Seek … the challenges that come along with the fraternity, [and view them] as growth opportunities and opportunities to contribute to the work that those who came before you have already achieved. And, just remember a lot of the skills that you learn are transferable when you leave college.”

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