Alpha Epsilon Pi is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteer Brothers who commit endless hours to working with our undergraduates in roles such as chapter advisors and regional governors and helping to set strategic direction as members of the Supreme Board of Governors or AEPi Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition to our scores of volunteers, the fraternity’s professional staff, led by CEO Rob Derdiger, works tirelessly to grow the fraternity and continue to chart a course towards even more success. The fraternity’s chapter services staff – Regional Directors, Assistant Regional Directors and Educational Leadership Consultants (ELCs) – works directly with our undergraduates to help them achieve our mission of developing the future leaders of the Jewish community.
As hundreds of Brothers prepare to attend #AEPi110 in New Orleans next week, we thought the fraternity should get a chance to know these men who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of AEPi. Make sure you introduce yourself to them next week!
Grant Bigman (James Madison, 2012) – Regional Director, Mid-Atlantic
I went to a school eight hours away from my home while knowing no one. AEPi was a young group, we ended up getting chartered right after my new member program, and I thought it could be a great opportunity to find leadership roles in a smaller colony while also building friendships for a lifetime. I also thought it was really cool how everyone shared the same commonality of Judaism while being so different.
I believe in our mission to be the home for Jewish men on a college campus. Under the leadership of our CEO, Rob Derdiger, we are heading in the right direction to give our undergraduates the necessary tools to be successful across any type of campus. Our chapter services team is in a unique period of transition as we bring in more experienced regional directors to work with brothers. By having previous roles with Hillel and Fraternity and Sorority Life Offices, I know I can help my colleagues develop stronger relationships with our brothers. I want our undergraduate Brothers to learn that sometimes the most challenging path is also the most responsible and rewarding one. We must make decisions that impact the “we” of a chapter rather than the “I” of a Brother.
I’m looking forward to attending convention and catching up with old friends from previous years while building new relationships with our Brothers.
Alex Berman (Towson, 2018) – Assistant Regional Director, South
I joined AEPi because I was looking for a sense of community that I was not finding in my freshman year dorm. I felt as if I had come to college feeling a void and found that what AEPi offered in the sense of being a culturally Jewish organization, not necessarily religious, filled it for me.
I keep coming back to work for the fraternity because I feel that I have more to give and teach. Every year there are a handful of undergraduate students who truly understand what we are trying to do and do everything in their power to help make AEPi the greatest fraternity in the world. I work for AEPi to help identify those undergraduates who may not realize they have it in themselves just yet. I’m really excited about the programming and networking opportunities that we are offering in New Orleans. We have some terrific speakers and presenters that I am looking forward to hearing and learning from.
Noah Levinson (Cal State – Chico, 2021) – Educational Leadership Consultant, Southwest
I joined AEPi because I was rushed in High School. At a BBYO convention Jon Bridge (former Chief Programming Officer) approached me after I received some minor regional award and told me I won a Jersey from a raffle I did not enter, and it had AEPi across the chest so I started asking about what that was. AZA gave me a lot of happy memories with Jews during High School so when I went to look at colleges, part of my criteria was that they had a Hillel and AEPi on campus, and every campus I toured I reached out to the local chapters via Instagram before getting there so I could meet them. It was the next logical step in my Jewish journey to join AEPi when I finally got onto campus; other fraternities did not have what I was looking for. When I was chapter Master, I was fortunate enough to have a very dedicated E-board that was willing to work all together to get our chapter affiliated with the Chico State IFC. It was my “big goal” for my term and we worked for three months straight to meet the requirements, then an additional two weeks of making and practicing a presentation for the whole IFC. Our hard work paid off and we were unanimously voted onto the council with the highest GPA in recent history of the fraternal chapters. It made me happy because it meant that the Jewish community had another foothold in Chico that would be around for the foreseeable future. I thought that was some cool L’dor V’dor.
I’m looking forward to working for the fraternity because I hope to help my chapters understand why what we do and who we recruit is important, that they should be proud of the Jewish Fraternity they are a part of. I hope to show them that we are real people at HQ and that we care about their experience.
Tomer Kornfeld (Brooklyn College, 2017) – Regional Director, Northeast
I joined AEPi because as a proud Jew and unapologetic Zionist I was looking for the right organization for me to be a part of in college. I found that and more when my friends invited me to an AEPi event. As an undergraduate, I interacted heavily with Andy Borans and some of the other staff members. They helped me with some personal things throughout my undergraduate career and helped me be sure we were doing the best Israel and Jewish programming that we were able to. I hope to teach our undergraduates to be proud Jews and focus on chapter comradery. In addition, I hope I inspire them to continue reaching out to other chapters in their areas and having joint events, etc.
I’m looking forward to convention and reconnecting with some alumni, seeing my fellow staff members and, most of all, having the opportunity to spend a couple of days with undergrads from my region and working on setting them up for success for the upcoming academic year.
Dylan Kassman (Alabama, 2021) – ELC, Heartland
I joined AEPi because I immediately felt a sense of brotherhood. It started as a connection through Judaism but turned into something much larger and much stronger: true brotherhood. I went far away for college, so going to campus already having the intention of rushing and joining AEPi was extremely comforting. I also saw the immediate impact I could have on the organization because it was at such an early stage.
AEPi has given me so much since I joined that working for the fraternity is the least I can do. Regardless of my employment, I will continue to volunteer my time to AEPi Brothers, events, and causes. I take the most pride in helping our future Jewish leaders with things outside of day-to-day AEPi operations.
Justin Polk (Michigan State, 2014) – Regional Director, Michigan
I went to Michigan State from an extremely small Jewish school in Metro Detroit (less than 50 kids in each grade). My goal was to make a big school smaller by joining different groups. I found that AEPi was the perfect fit for me from social to Jewish identity to Brotherhood. As an undergrad, my original interactions with AEPi International staff was limited, however the impact was invaluable. Near the end of my time in college, I continued to interact and connect AEPi staff with other partners on campus which helped create a more well-rounded experience for the undergrads at Michigan State.
I started my career working at Hillel and working with college students. These are some of the most important years of a young adult’s life and can shape them moving forward. When the opportunity came back for me to join the (AEPi) staff, it was hard for me to say no as I wanted to help create this impact. In addition, the longevity of the fraternity is extremely important as one day I hope my son joins AEPi. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the Brothers from across the country back in one place at convention to celebrate the amazing year we had and where we are going.
Brett Musick (Cincinnati, 2015) – Regional Director, Midwest
I had no plans to join Greek Life, but when I started meeting some of the AEPi Brothers around campus and at Hillel they were not what I expected from people involved in Greek Life. I decided to give it a chance and never turned back! I worked for Jewish non-profits for eight years prior to working for AEPi. I have always felt that my time in AEPi is what shaped me into the leader and person I am today and when i heard the plans AEPi had to offer a different level of support to chapters, I was excited to be able to be a part of that and give back to help others have the best possible experience.
I hope I can help my chapters see all of the incredible things they can get out of being a Brother of a strong Jewish Fraternity, both during their undergraduate years and as future leaders of their communities. The experiences and skill building that comes out of AEPi is unmatched and something I strive to help provide to the next generation of Jewish leaders. There is a spark that ignites our chapters when students come together at convention to learn and share with each other. I am looking forward to watching this happen for all of the Brothers attending convention next week.
Matt Cohen (Kent State, 2011) – Regional Director, Ohio Valley
I originally had no intention of going Greek. When I got to campus, a friend from BBYO who was a few years older reached out to me and asked me to stop by a rush event and just meet the guys in AEPi. Ultimately, that event convinced me to continue to come to other events, and I ended up accepting a bid after a few days. I liked the fact that the Brotherhood seemed genuine and the chapter had a lot of guys with similar interests and backgrounds as me. One of my first and favorite memories is probably attending Regional Retreat at Ohio State and getting to see for the first time just how big AEPi was. We caravanned out to Columbus and squeezed 12 brothers into two hotel rooms for the weekend. Aside from learning a lot, we all bonded during the travel and stay. I met so many Brothers from other Ohio schools and beyond, many of whom I’m still friends with today. It was amazing hearing so many people singing Gold and Blue. That was amplified even further in getting to attend the Chicago convention in 2008, and the New Orleans convention in 2010.
I’ve worked for a few different companies and in a few different industries since graduating, including once already for AEPi. I’d always considered my time working (for AEPi) before to be a huge honor, and truthfully, it’s something that not very many Brothers really get to do. (After leaving) I remained involved as a local volunteer, pulling together alumni programming and helping with a local chapter as advisor, so I remained in touch with the Headquarters team over the years. I hope that the men I get to work with year-round find some value in the advice I give and see that they have a genuine partner at Headquarters who is constantly rooting for their success and wanting to see them do their best. This Brotherhood is about so many things, and if I can positively impact the experience of even one other Brother, I will consider my effort to have been successful.
Martin Volinsky (Florida Atlantic, 2012) – Regional Director, Florida
I had zero idea what Greek Life was before entering college (I’m a first generation family member to attend university in the U.S.). During the summer while working at Boca Raton JCC summer camp, prior to my freshman year (Fall 2008), I was approached by someone who was a Phi Alpha brother and he started recruiting me and then invited me to the first Fall semester Hillel shabbat dinner where I met most of the Brotherhood and they welcomed me with open arms. I joined in the fall of 2008 and the sense of Brotherhood/camaraderie showcased the college experience I could have if I joined the Jewish fraternity.
After graduation, I was involved in Jewish communal professional work and was also volunteering as chapter advisor, when I was approached with the opportunity to be a Regional Director and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I can’t wait to get to convention and connect with our undergraduate Brothers. Convention always provides that necessary fire before kicking off the semester. One of the best parts of convention is having face-to-face interactions and having high level conversations with leaders of our campuses!
Josh Fisher (Delaware, 2023) – Educational Leadership Consultant, New York
One of my favorite AEPi memories was going to regional retreat at Drexel my freshman year. It was my first time at a major international AEPi event, and I remember being completely overwhelmed walking in and seeing that many people wearing letters in one place. Although I had already gotten involved in my chapter, that was the moment that I really saw what AEPi had to offer on an international scale. I decided to work for AEPi because I wanted to give back to the organization that gave me so much during my college years. I want to provide the same great opportunities I was provided to the next generation of Brothers.
Ian Solow-Niederman (Colorado-Boulder, 2014) – Regional Director, East
I knew I wanted to be in Greek Life at the University of Colorado but I was unsure of AEPi and didn’t know if being in a Jewish fraternity was for me. At the preference night dinner of another fraternity, someone made an antisemitic “joke”. I left that house, walked to AEPi, knocked on the door and said I wanted to join. I signed my bid card that night and haven’t regretted it once. I remember sitting in the chapter house my sophomore year with two ELCs (Max Rothman and Sam Orelove) and being so impressed with their thoughtfulness and helpfulness as we reviewed rush plans. It was in that moment I had a sense of what that role could be.
I hope to show my chapters that I care, and I hope to teach them to believe in themselves. I hope to help them realize their potential as individuals and as groups. I want them to embrace the possibilities and opportunities that AEPi presents. I hope that I can get our leaders to think about what their group can do and think about how the decisions one makes today will impact you and others in the future.
Max Brannen (Guelph, 2022) – Educational Leadership Consultant, Canada
Prior to starting University, I did not know anything about AEPi, nor did I think fraternities existed in Canada. However, after meeting a fellow Jewish student during my orientation week I was told about the “Jewish Frat” and invited to a social. It did not take long for me to fall in love with AEPi. I was amazed by the strong Brotherhood my chapter held and I was fascinated by the idea that all these men bonded over one thing, being Jewish. After attending only a few events I knew I wanted to be a part of this. I figured that by working for AEPi I would be able to transfer the skills I learned during my undergrad AEPi experience to other Brothers. In addition, I have always been very passionate about AEPi in Canada, and I want to continue to see the growth of AEPi in the great north. What better way to do that then serve as AEPi’s Canadian ELC?
Lenny Steinberg (South Florida, 2010) – Regional Director, Northwest
I was heavily involved with AEPi International during my time as an undergrad, networking and connecting with several individuals on the staff. When I was Master, I took advantage of the opportunity to intern at Headquarters for a week which gave me a better understanding of how we operate at a higher level and built lasting relationships that led me to take the Regional Director role in June 2023.
From the moment I became a Brother in 2006, AEPi has had a large impact in my life and helped shape my leadership skills, friendships and even my career path. Since graduating, I have primarily worked for Jewish non-profits and when the current leadership at AEPi called me to discuss a job opportunity, I was thrilled to hear of the new vision and direction we are heading towards. I’m extremely excited to work with our Brothers in the Northwest region to build a strong foundation that supports breadth and depth in all that we do. My vision for each chapter and the current Brothers is for them to have the best AEPi and fraternal experience possible. I hope that each person in this next year feels that they were able to have fun while accomplishing goals that create an environment better than the year started.