Introducing our Resident Scholar: Pat O'Neal

My name is Patrick O'Neal. I am a 32 year old disabled veteran. I come from what most would consider humble beginnings. After high school I wasn't able to successfully attend college. Substance abuse and domestic violence had permeated my home. I was forced to get a job and live out of my car until I saved up enough money to get an apartment.

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It was at this time that I began to work full time in telecommunications, and I excelled. I quickly became the best salesperson in the 14 store market and was promoted to lead sales associate and eventually to store manager. I took over a struggling location and in a single month took it from the bottom ranked location to the second best location in the market. After sustained success as a store manager, I was promoted again, this time to upper-management as the market trainer. I had taken control over my life and escaped a toxic environment. At 22 years old, I was making more money than I ever dreamed of.

In 2007, while working in sales, my best friend was nearly killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan. I decided to leave a successful and promising career and joined the Navy. I chose to join the most onerous and dangerous career field - Explosive Ordnance Disposal, as IEDs were killing and injuring more troops than anything else in the war. I spent six years in the highly selective naval special operations community. I loved the career field because it demanded that I grow and develop at an exponential rate.

I served in the Navy for six years until a helicopter mishap led to the unexpected end of my military career. I wanted to continue serving, so I chose not to seek immediate medical treatment, only getting help months after the accident because the physical, mental, and emotional pain I was experiencing led me to contemplate suicide. It quickly became apparent that the injuries I suffered were far more severe than I thought. I had dislocated my left hip, both ankles, left shoulder, crushed my spine in multiple places, suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To make matters worse, I was separated from the military before I received treatment and rehabilitation for my injuries.

Over the next two years, I would undergo reconstructive shoulder, ankle, sinus, and hip surgery. I also had to undergo treatment for my TBI, PTSD, and numerous spinal injuries. I was in a wheelchair and couldn't perform even the simplest task on my own, like bathing or going to the bathroom. I focused on healing one day at a time, celebrating small milestones each day. I worked my way from my wheelchair, to crutches, then a cane, and three months later I was walking on my own.

I decided that I was going to apply the same work ethic I put into my recovery and military career into a new academic journey. I took on the daunting task of going back to school after a ten-year hiatus, with a learning disability, physical disabilities,

and mental and emotional disabilities. Despite all of these challenges, I succeeded in performing at the top of my class and transferred to Cornell University in the Fall semester of 2017.

The core values of the United States Navy are honor, courage, and commitment. I have lived my life honorably by doing the right thing when no one is looking, with great courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and commitment to achieve the task at hand. I have been blessed to be a part of a community with values that push me to be the greatest version of myself. I want to instill the values I have learned to this community of high achieving men fostering the balanced man principles of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Meet the 2017—2018 Executive Board

 
left to right: eric, blase, charlie, arys, turner, connor, jacob 

left to right: eric, blase, charlie, arys, turner, connor, jacob 

 

President: Arys Aung '20

Arys hails from the country of Myanmar, but has lived in New York City for the past 12 years. He is a sophomore in CALS, studying applied economics and management and information science. On campus, Arys is a brother in Alpha Kappa Psi (Business Fraternity), an analyst with the Cornell Consulting Group. Outside of campus, Arys is meddling with entrepreneurship and works as an external design lead for Snapchat.

VP Programming: Turner Christensen '20

The incoming VP of programming, Turner is a sophomore in CALS majoring in agriculture science. Turner’s agriculture background comes from his family’s farming operation in the central valley of California: the largest food producing region in the world. In his free time, he enjoys fishing or golfing.

VP Finance: Charlie Mouaikel '20

Our incoming VP of finance, Charlie hopes to strengthen the chapter’s financial stability. Charlie is a sophomore in CALS, studying applied economics and management. He enjoys sailing, scuba diving, and reading in his spare time. Charlie hopes to pursue a career in the finance industry upon graduation. He enjoys the analytical and fast-paced nature of the industry.

VP Member Development: Connor Stewart '19

Connor is a junior, majoring in history within the College of Arts and Sciences.  Outside of school, he enjoys acting in the theater troupe he helped start. In his spare time, he loves golfing, playing hockey, and reading. After he graduates, he hopes to attend law school.

VP Recruitment: Blase Barnello '20

Blase spends most of his time in the School of Hotel Administration and serving as the incoming VP of recruitment for SigEp. He also is in a business fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon, and enjoys day trading. In his free time, he likes to play tennis, watch football, and throw frisbee with his current roommate, Jeff Chen.

Chaplain: Jacob Schoifet '20

Jacob is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of Cornell’s International Affairs Society, is a Hillel International Birthright intern, and served on SigEp’s standards board this past semester. He is studying statistical science with a computer science minor and hopes to do his own research one day.

VP Communication: Eric Denbow '20

Eric is a sophomore within CALS, majoring in applied economics and management. On campus, Eric is a part of the Cornell International Business Association, Energy@Cornell, and Santos Club soccer team. Some of his hobbies are soccer, football, chess, and being at the beach. After graduating, Eric hopes to either be in the marketing or accounting industry.

Brother of the Month: Justin Fryer

Justin Fryer is a rising senior in the School of Hotel Administration. He is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America's Culinary Arts Program. On campus, Justin is a member of Cornell Cuvée, Cornell University's first blind wine tasting competition team. In addition to that, he is also a Teacher's Assistant for the two Culinary Arts courses offered at Cornell. He recently returned from Switzerland, where he represented Cornell and his country in the 5th Annual Millesime Blind Wine Tasting Competition. 

Justin hopes to pursue a career in the Food & Beverage field. In his free time, Justin enjoys working out, listening to music, playing drums and hanging out with his brothers.

Will Moore '16 Secures Highly Competitive NBC Internship

Will Moore '16 secures highly competitive NBC internship for spring. The brotherhood is sad to see Will Moore departing us this semester for NYC, where he will be interning at NBC in the legal division. Extremely passionate about law, Will intends to use this internship to expand his knowledge of contracting and legal frameworks in the media industry while one day hoping to use this knowledge to start his own broadcasting company.

SigEp will not be the only organization sad to acknowledge his absence this spring, Will is highly involved in a number of campus activities including Cornell Concert Commission, Afrikka Tikkun and Residential Student Congress.

Meet SigEp's 2015 Executive Board

For each calendar year the NY Beta Chapter elects a new Executive Board composed of seven brothers. These seven are responsible for running all chapter activities including Philanthropy, Recruitment, managing the Chapters finances, Programming, and Member Development. This gives undergraduate members the opportunity to not only positively impact the members of NY Beta but also gives the undergraduate members valuable leadership experience to prepare them for the professional world. Here are the 2015 elects: President Nate Baker: Nate is a sophomore from Altoona, Pennsylvania. Since coming to Cornell, he has become involved in numerous extracurricular activities. Not only is he a member of Cornell's Mock Trial and Club Volleyball Teams but he recently joined the Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Fraternity. Nate is has a passion for traveling the world and is very excited to be on the 2015 Executive Board. VP of Programming Joe Bell: Joe is currently a member of Cornell CMAA, NHC, and Cayuga's Watchers. Originally from Key West, Florida, Joe is very passionate about maintaining his physical fitness and participates in every intramural sport that he can. Joe is a sophomore in the Hotel School. VP of Finance Matt Thomas: The only returning Executive Board Member, Matt is a sophomore from York, Pennsylvania. He is an avid outdoorsman who likes doing any outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Matt is also a member of Cornell's Club Volleyball Team. VP of Member Development Spenser Cardenes: Spenser is a sophomore in the Hotel School from Ocean City, Maryland. Some of his hobbies include listening to a variety of music, watching football, and fashion. Spenser is a member of Cornell's HEC as well as the Nightlife Hospitality Club. VP of Recruitment Harrison Reinisch: Harrison is one of two juniors on the 2015 Executive Board and is an economics major from Berkeley, California. As a member of the Cornell Board of Portfolio Managers, the Federal Reserve Challenge Club, and a Research Assistant at the Johnson Graduate School of management, Harrison is very involved in Cornell's financial community. Chaplin Alin Barsan: Originally born in Romania, Alin spent most of his youth in Bellevue, Washington before coming to Cornell University. At Cornell, Alin has been a Auxiliary Police Officer, a student web programmer, and has also worked on numerous independent web development projects for various organizations across the country. In his free-time Alin enjoys working out, spending time with his family and coaching youth football. VP of Communications Surya Pochareddy: Surya is a sophomore from Plano, Texas and is very interested in pursuing a career in Finance. While studying at Cornell he has been a part of the Cornell Alpha Fund as well as the Club Swim Team. Outside of schoolwork and extracurricular activities, Surya likes reading, playing chess, and playing pick-up basketball.

2014 Walt Geggis Balanced Man Scholarship Banquet and Recipients

Another successful year of celebrating and recognizing our scholarship recipients was held on November 1, 2014 at the Statler Hotel. Amongst us were our very active alumni board members, our Resident Scholar Austin Duggan, our Regional Director Joe Toth, and many parents of our winners. This year we recognized nine outstanding young men whose characteristics and qualities demonstrate the values of living a balanced life. It was very rewarding to share our special moment remembering Brother Geggis commitment to our chapter and continuing our tradition of rewarding men who share our values. A special thank you to Brad Olson for his active participation and assistance in our interview process this year as well as to Paul Barber. Here is a brief biography on our nine recipients this year. Congratulations to these outstanding young Cornellians!

Brendon Frankel: Brendon is from Charleston, South Carolina, where he lives with his parents and two younger sisters. He currently is studying biology in the college of arts and sciences, premed, and is considering studies in Spanish, business, and economics. He has been involved in a lot of research, community service, and student run organizations such as student council in high school, and plans to do much more of the same here at Cornell.

Stephen Day: Stephen is a freshman in the College of Human Ecology, pursuing a degree in Human Biology, Health, and Society. He is from New York City, and attended Xavier High School where he founded and headed the microfinance and lacrosse clubs. On campus Stephen has joined the mens club lacrosse team, a pre-health society within his college called PATCH, and is pursuing opportunities in healthcare outreach. Stephen's goal is to be an oral surgeon within the US Navy.

Liam Hughes: Liam is currently studying in the College of Arts & Sciences on a pre-medical track with an intended double major in biology and history. He is from Moorestown, New Jersey, which is a town just outside of Philadelphia. Outside of his academics, Liam is an avid golfer and played all throughout high school. Liam is also passionate about debate and public policy.

Ezra Pak-Harvey: Ezra was born at Duke University regional hospital and grew up in the South in a small town called Efland. He is a graduate of Durham Academy, an independent school in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to his interest in chemistry and mathematics, Ezra spends his free time practicing and performing violin repertoire, hunting for wild game (namely deer and boar), fishing, and playing a variety of sports, especially basketball.

Trey Crumbley: Trey is a Posse Scholar from Chicago, Illinois. His balanced skills in leadership, communication and adaptability has aided him in teaching elementary students, studying abroad in China, working for Architectural firms and working with the Boeing Company to impact the Chicago community. He also has a love for playing a variety of sports; football, basketball, volleyball, frisbee, biking and ping pong. Trey is currently enrolled in the College of Arts of Science and is undecided in his major.

Alec Hunsaker: Alec is majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and is attending Cornell on an Army ROTC scholarship. He resides in Port Tobacco Maryland. Alec really enjoys running, hiking, cycling, and playing tennis in his free time. 

Chris Gerazounis: Chris is from Long Island, New York. He is majoring in Industrial & Labor Relations, pursuing a minor in Business. Chris is a member of the Cornell Strategic Consulting club as well as the Sports Marketing Group. In his free time, Chris loves to read, listen to music, play basketball with friends, and learn new things.

Kieran McShane: Kieran is a freshman attending the College of Agriculture and Life Science, studying to be a bioengineer. He comes from a farming town that is just an hour north of New York City. Kieran recently joined the Cornell's club lacrosse team is hoping to bring his charity, called Hats, Gloves, and Socks for Tots, to Cornell; which is a clothing drive for migrant worker's children in his hometown. 

Zachary Schmetterer: Prior to coming to Cornell, Zachary graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio.  In high school, Zack divided his time between an academically rigorous course load, competing on his school's debate team, working with local government to do charity work, playing on his school's tennis team, and numerous other activities. At Cornell, he is majoring in Policy Analysis and Management and currently a member of the Alpine Ski Team and the Recreational Fencing Club.