Phi Kappa Theta - Iowa State University

Summer 2021 Newsletter

Iowa Xi Chapter of Phi Kappa Theta at Iowa State University

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XICLONE PAGE 2 Staying True to the Brotherhood What David Abendschein '01 Learned from Iowa Xi A s a freshman living in the dorms, David Abendschein '01 and his friends Paul Peterson '01 and Troy Henry '01 attended a Phi Kappa Theta dinner at the invitation of Antuany Smith '01. Dave will never forget how welcoming all the brothers were from the moment they entered the chapter house. Antuany showed them around and introduced them to Ou Meksay '00, Matt Van Berkum '98, and Rob Larson '97. "After spending five minutes with those guys, I was sold," he recalls. "If I had not joined Iowa Xi back in the fall of 1996, I would never have met some of the most influential and special people in my life." Living in the chapter house with his Iowa Xi brothers helped shape Dave in too many ways to count. Together, they learned social skills, how to live together and keep things running, and so much more. While it may be unusual, Dave says his favorite time of year was Hell Week. "It brought you together with your brothers and forced you to work as a team and forged a bond that you will never lose. It taught you how to overcome adversity and to juggle numerous tasks at the same time...all of which were of equal importance." Looking back, he is thankful for the lessons in selflessness and empathy he learned in those challenges. "To this day I would recommend the Greek system to anyone entering college." Dave feels the chapter's success is primarily due to the quality young men they recruit. "We bring in good men with good heads on their shoulders. We have consistently stayed true to our ideals, which helps build the overall brand of the house." He is forever grateful to Brother Meksay, who recruited him and many others, and Brother Van Berkum, his pledge father. Dave's positive experience with Phi Kappa Theta has inspired him to stay connected with the chapter and alumni over the years, and he hopes alumni who feel similarly will remain connected as well, doing what they can for the younger generation. Dave lives in Austin, Texas, where he works at the finance firm Consero Global as vice president of engineering. He and his wife, Eleni, have a 2-year-old daughter, Emma, and their second child, Esme, is due August 9. "They bring me the most joy and love and teach me to be a more patient and unselfish person," Dave said of his family. "They continually motivate me to be the best person that I can be and do everything I can to ensure that they will have everything they need to be successful and happy in their lives." Throughout the pandemic, Dave has stayed in touch with brothers through a large WhatsApp group chat; he looks forward to traveling and visiting them again as the world reopens. Until then, he can be reached at D erek Doebel, Iowa Xi's new chapter advisor, has served as a police officer for the Iowa State University Police Department for over 17 years. In that time, he has seen the triumphs and struggles within the student population. "I want to pass on my knowledge that I've accumulated over the years and help our students be successful while at ISU," Derek said. "I want to help prepare them for the real world." Derek was approached by a member of Iowa Xi he knew through a car club about serving as their chapter advisor. This is Derek's first advisory role, and although he was not in a Meet Iowa Xi's New Chapter Advisor fraternity during his time in college, he knew he had a lot to offer through his life experiences. "The member I know is a good person," Derek said. "After looking into the chapter, I decided to offer my knowledge and experience within the university and accepted the advisor role." He is excited to be part of the chapter and hopes to have a positive impact on the active members. Earlier this year, Derek brought in a mental health advocate from within the ISU Police Department to put on a presentation regarding mental health for the chapter. They shared resources, both on and off campus, for students who are going through a tough time. This was especially important and valued due to the strain of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on students at ISU. "The appreciation I receive after helping the chapter is amazing," Derek said. "I don't always see it as a big deal, but they all think it's great that I am helping them." Derek plans to have a presentation for the chapter every year during the fall term to outline the positive and negative aspects of life in college. "My hope is to get them thinking about real-life situations that we all face as adults," Derek said. "I want to discuss the choices one makes while in college and the consequences of certain choices." We look forward to seeing the positive impact Derek makes on the active members of Iowa Xi. If you'd like to connect with Derek, he can be reached at

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