The J. Edward Zollinger Outstanding Senior Award is presented annually to an outstanding senior from each of SigEp’s regional districts. Zollinger Seniors have exhibited excellence in scholarship, community involvement, and Fraternity and campus leadership. They are models of the Balanced Man Ideal and a testament to the power of the SigEp experience.
These awards are made possible by the generosity of Past Grand President and longtime president of SigEp’s Educational Foundation, J. Edward Zollinger, William & Mary ’27, as well as generous gifts made by his wife Lucile, daughter Frances, and son John Zollinger, Lehigh ’57.
Steven Acchione, Pennsylvania ’17
Economics | 3.31 GPA
Acchione is making an impact at home and abroad. He is the CEO of a student-run organization that provides microloans to local entrepreneurs, and his interest in building the global economy earned him a grant to study economic development in Sierra Leone. Since then, he’s returned to launch a nonprofit that’s working to create educational and economic opportunities in the country. As chaplain of his chapter, he’s admired as a leader who treats everyone fairly and makes the effort to get to know each brother on a personal level. A 2015 Ruck Scholar, Acchione previously served as president and vice president of communications of his chapter.
Paul All, Cleveland State ’17
Finance | 3.42 GPA
All was appointed by Ohio Governor John Kasich to serve as a student representative to Cleveland State’s Board of Trustees. He’s also been involved in the student alumni association since his freshman year. He is now president of the organization, a position he uses to passionately promote the group as a resource for students to develop professionally and to network with alumni. All has also served as president of his SigEp chapter. During his term, SigEp was named Cleveland State’s Fraternity of the Year, and the chapter is highly regarded by students and university officials. All was a 2016 Tragos Quest to Greece Scholar and plans to pursue a career in government before attending law school.
Sean Ashoff, Pittsburgh ’17
History | 3.50 GPA
Elected president of his chapter as a sophomore, Ashoff served for two years as the group navigated difficult times. He is respected by his peers for embodying SigEp’s ideals and has played a major role in helping the chapter stay the course in the years following a membership review. He is a selfless team player who helped fund events out of his own pocket when chapter accounts were low. After attending law school, Ashoff hopes to work as a First Amendment lawyer, protecting the right of journalists to free speech. He hopes to eventually preside over free speech cases as a judge. He stays active as a youth soccer coach and CrossFit instructor.
Zach Augustine, Texas Tech ’17
Energy Commerce | 3.96 GPA
Augustine joined his chapter’s standards board as a new member of the Fraternity. He later served as chaplain and played a large role in revamping standards by defining clear sanctions and incorporating them into the chapter’s bylaws. During his term as president, the chapter earned its highest-ever average GPA and the highest average GPA achieved by an IFC fraternity in five years. He is also a university ambassador who conducts campus tours for prospective students and has traveled to several recruitment events with the school’s president. Augustine was named one of the Top 50 Seniors on Campus by Texas Tech.
Maro “Mac” Croff, Arkansas Tech ’17
Health & Wellness | 3.85 GPA
Croff is a former chapter president, vice president of recruitment and social media chairman. Outside of SigEp, he has helped organize social events on campus for two years as a member of the student activities board and has served as a senator in the student government association. For the past three years, he has been an orientation leader, helping incoming freshmen make the transition to college. He plans to attend a graduate program for physical therapy and eventually start his own practice. Not surprisingly, he exercises regularly and is a competitive weightlifter.
Brett Cutler, Utah ’16
Nutritional Biochemistry | 3.91 GPA
A member of Utah’s honors college with plans to attend medical school, Cutler was involved heavily in undergraduate research. He won an award as an outstanding researcher in his school’s college of health for his work exploring the nutritional benefits of anthocyanins found in blueberries. He also volunteered and managed a local student-run clinic. A member of Naval ROTC, he received numerous promotions. Cutler also co-founded the university’s power-lifting team. As chapter president, he guided his brothers through a difficult period in the chapter’s history and was able to lift morale and get the group back on course.
Parker Foote, Drake ’17
Data Analytics | 3.63 GPA
Foote has served as his chapter’s vice president of communications and was a 2015 Ruck Scholar. An avid weightlifter, he has been a member of the university weightlifting club for his entire college career. He has served as a peer mentor and academic consultant for new students on the Drake campus. He has also held an internship at the school of business for two semesters, including a position this past summer that allowed him to use his actuarial skills. Foote has accepted a full-time job with the life reinsurance company SCOR Global Life that he will begin after graduation. His new employer was so impressed by his skills that he’s already working for the company part-time.
Jim Haney, Truman State ’17
Health Science | 3.20 GPA
Haney has balanced academics, campus involvement and leadership within his chapter. He accomplished this while supporting himself financially throughout his college career. A member of Blue Key Honor Society, he served as vice president of member development for SigEp’s Truman State Chapter as it transitioned to the Balanced Man Program. He is also part of the Student Public Health Association and plans to pursue a career in health care business management. He assisted the chapter’s AVC in starting a fundraising campaign to buy its house. In addition to working several jobs to support himself throughout college, Haney has held a wellness internship, assisting fellow students with their personal health care goals. He plans to pursue an MBA after graduation.
Ralph Herz, South Florida ’16
Finance & Accounting | 3.91 GPA
Herz has balanced two demanding majors, involvement as an honors student, and a post as chapter president, all while maintaining an outstanding GPA. He was a member of South Florida’s Provost’s Scholars program and served as a student senator. Making decisions based on his values, he maintained his opinion under considerable pressure as chairman of the senate impeachment committee during controversial hearings. As chapter president, he helped his brothers rebuild after a membership review, drastically increasing Florida Iota’s retention rate and reducing its debt. Selected for a business school scholarship and named one of the school’s 25 under 25, Herz was also a 2015 Ruck Scholar. Since graduating in December, he has worked as an investment banking analyst with BB&T.
Ross Kruse, Davidson ’17
Math & Computer Science | 3.76 GPA
Interested in sports statistics, Kruse has worked with Davidson’s athletic department to help manage men’s basketball statistics since his freshman year. He created a website and Twitter account for the team, and he recruited writers for analytical articles about the basketball team’s performance. Kruse has served his chapter as philanthropy chair and Phi Challenge coordinator. Before his junior year, he was selected for the Ruck Leadership Institute. That year, he worked with members of the university administration to develop a sexual misconduct policy for the chapter.
Nick Lednicky, Texas-Austin ’17
Finance | 3.96 GPA
Lednicky implemented several initiatives as chapter president and vice president of recruitment, including establishing an academic mentoring committee and increasing the chapter’s philanthropic efforts. He was chosen to join a service organization that admits only 25 men each semester and chaired a fundraiser for the group that brought in $25,000 for a local charity. In addition to his finance major, he has taken computer science classes for fun. Lednicky was one of a handful of students selected for a rigorous career preparation program and recently accepted a position where he will manage deals in the energy sector for a large investment bank.
Brandon Malekie, Loyola Marymount ’17
Accounting | 3.37 GPA
Malekie has served his chapter as vice president of member development, vice president for RLC, Sigma Challenge coordinator and Phi Challenge coordinator. As vice president for RLC, he managed his chapter’s thriving relationships with advisors and faculty fellows. He also helped develop a university course for the chapter, “Critical Issues Facing Greeks.” Malekie is a recipient of an accounting scholarship from Loyola Marymount. He was also selected as a Rains Scholar by the university and conducted research using Civil War-era manuscripts. He is a volunteer for the university’s archaeology center, a member of the accounting society, a safety officer, and a member of the club lacrosse team.
Christopher Markum, Rensselaer ’17
Nuclear & Mechanical Engineering | 3.71 GPA
As his chapter’s scholarship chair, Markum managed an academic support program to help every brother do his best in the classroom. He is respected throughout the chapter and is often called on when brothers need help resolving a difference of opinion. He was elected chapter president after stints as vice president of recruitment and vice president of programming. Markum is a member of Rensselaer’s track and field team as well as its student government association. He makes time for 150 hours of community service each year with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. He is also a member of the Phalanx Honor Society for seniors, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.
Ben Miller, Christopher Newport ’17
Integrated Biology | 4.00 GPA
Miller plans to be a cardiologist and advance the treatment of heart disease. He has served as a research assistant to a professor studying the disease and completed multiple study abroad trips to learn how health care is managed outside the United States. As a university tutor, Miller leads group study sessions in organic chemistry and provides individual tutoring in several other subjects. He has also mentored freshmen for the past three years as a resident assistant. A Bonner Service Scholar, Miller is a team leader for an organization that encourages youth to volunteer and coordinates dozens of programs each year that help them to give back to the community. He plans to attend the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine next fall.
Jeremy Nafus, Lawrence Tech ’16
Information Technology | 3.38 GPA
A two-time vice president of finance for his SigEp chapter, Nafus also served on numerous chapter committees and as a co-coordinator for the Sigma, Phi and Epsilon Challenges. He was consistently among the top 10 brothers in his chapter in terms of GPA and encouraged others to stay focused on their coursework. His passion for helping people also extended to his involvement in other organizations. For several years, Nafus served as an orientation leader and mentor to incoming freshmen. He maintains a commitment to sound body by working out and playing hockey.
Zachary Nielsen Northwest Missouri ’17
Business Management & Marketing | 3.70 GPA
Nielsen has held a number of leadership roles within his chapter, including vice president of programming and member of the recruitment committee. He also reorganized his chapter’s Phi and Epsilon Challenges while serving as vice president of member development. As a member of the Northwest Missouri student senate for four years and its organizational affairs chairman, he oversaw the more than 150 student organizations on campus. Nielsen is an orientation leader for incoming business students. He also interns with the university’s athletic department. His career ambition is to work in administration at a university athletic department and eventually become an athletic director.
Evan Olsen, Delaware ’17
Exercise Science & Applied Nutrition | 3.87 GPA
Olsen is a role model to younger brothers and challenges others to put forth their best effort. For two years, he has given back to the community as a board member for UDance, the school’s largest student-run philanthropy. In 2017, the organization raised $1.89 million to increase awareness of pediatric cancer and help families affected by the disease in its many forms. His volunteer work to help cure the sick coincides with his plans to become a doctor. In fact, he’s already gotten a jump start on his career by working as a volunteer researcher at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Olsen keeps up the sound body component of SigEp’s Balanced Man Ideal by competing on the university’s club swim team.
Chad Phillips, Baker ’17
Biology | 3.87 GPA
Phillips served as a SigEp chapter officer for three years and recently concluded a term as president. He is driven to plan and execute chapter programming and member development activities that align with the ideals of the Fraternity. He is an award-winning photographer who works on the campus newspaper and has served as a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters for nearly two years. Phillips is a member of the university golf team and served as co-captain this year. He has maintained his excellent GPA despite a match schedule that requires him to miss several classes each semester. Phillips gained early admission to dental school and plans to work as a general dentist or orthodontist.
Jack Peters, Connecticut ’18
Biomedical Engineering & Electrical Engineering | 3.98 GPA
Peters is a vital part of academic and student life on his campus, serving as both a teaching assistant and residence hall advisor. He also holds officer positions in an engineering society and a residence hall association, participates in robotics competitions, and plays intramural soccer. He’s served his chapter as Phi Challenge coordinator and academic chair and has also been a member of the standards board. Peters is known throughout the chapter for his ability to calmly analyze a situation, and brothers frequently turn to him when they need advice. After graduation, this well-rounded senior hopes to work in research and design of surgical instruments and health monitoring systems before attending graduate school.
Rahul Rakhit, Boston C. ’17
Biology & Bioinformatics | 3.40 GPA
While taking some of the hardest science courses at his school, Rakhit still found time to eat almost every meal with his SigEp chapter brothers. That way he could keep up with all that was going on in their lives. He recently concluded a term as chapter president; before that, he served as vice president of recruitment. Within the chapter, he was a motivating force known for radiating positive energy. He has encouraged brothers to aspire to higher academic standards and revitalized recruitment using the Balanced Man Scholarship. Rakhit is currently pursuing a master’s degree in biotechnology and entrepreneurship at Tufts University.
Riley Shearer, Montana State ’17
Chemical Engineering & Economics | 4.00 GPA
A member of his school’s honors college and a Goldwater Scholar, Shearer handles a daunting course of study with ease. A recipient of the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship, he’ll attend graduate school in China, where he will study health care policy. Having served his chapter as chaplain and president, he is one of three undergraduate brothers from across the country currently serving on SigEp’s National Board of Directors. On campus, he is president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Through involvement in Engineers Without Borders, he helped design water systems and was selected to travel to Kenya to help implement the systems.
Eric Smith, Valparaiso ’17
Political Science & Economics | 3.97 GPA
Smith is a member of the Kemper Scholars Program, a prestigious scholarship and career development program. He also participates in Valparaiso’s honors program as a member of its advisory board. With a passion for ensuring that his peers are living and learning in safe environments, Smith cofounded an organization that brings fraternities and sororities together to create awareness about sexual assault prevention. This year, he’s leading the IFC while serving as his chapter’s Phi Challenge coordinator, senior marshal and social media chairman. Smith is also a violinist in the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra, a member of the school’s mock trial team and a coach to freshman debaters. Smith enjoys running in his spare time and has completed three half marathons.
Jacob Springmeyer, Nevada-Reno ’17
Electrical Engineering | 3.30 GPA
Springmeyer has led his chapter as president and his entire campus as vice president of the student government. He also served as Sigma Challenge coordinator, helped his chapter redevelop its Balanced Man Program experience for new members, and was selected for the Tragos Quest to Greece and the Ruck Leadership Institute. Serving in the student government at his university, Springmeyer oversaw Nevada-Reno’s internship program and helped reorganize its new student orientation programming. He also helped organize a 5,000-person parade and 10,000-person festival for the school. Springmeyer plans to attend graduate school before starting his own company.
Matteo Valles, Georgia Tech ’17
Mechanical Engineering | 3.78 GPA
A former chapter president and vice president of recruitment, Valles has also served as president of his school’s IFC. He helped his chapter increase the average GPA of its members to an all-time high and worked with his AVC to massively increase alumni donations. As IFC president, he has helped equip other fraternity and sorority leaders with the resources required to better promote mental health. He has also served as a freshman orientation leader and is a member of two honor societies, Omicron Delta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. In recognition of his abilities and contributions, Valles was previously selected to attend SigEp’s Tragos Quest to Greece and the Ruck Leadership Institute.