New York Sigma

Postcards From A Postgraduate

Brother Jesse Greaves Explores the USA and the World

by Kathy Jonas
Indiana University, ‘78

Jesse, fifth from top right, with his Chapter back in 2015.

As an astronautical engineer, Jesse Greaves (RPI, ‘18) will be focused on the space above, but the last few years have given him the opportunity to appreciate the ground below.

Realizing he might not have a break for quite a long time, the recent graduate of Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, embarked on a journey that would take him across the United States and Europe prior to classes starting at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he is working on a Ph.D. Eventually he wants to work for a large space company and then become a professor.

In December, after completing a co-op at the MIT Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, he flew out to Los Angeles to visit a friend who was working at a NASA jet propulsion lab, and they started a road trip across the United States. The two of them would later go on to backpack across Europe following graduation.

“I traveled some as a kid, but this was so much fun,” says Greaves. “Seeing new cultures and experiencing new landscapes are awe inspiring.”

As a collegiate brother, Greaves said he joined the fraternity in his sophomore year after leaving the lacrosse team. He says the team did not provide the exploration and variety he was looking for in college in order to expand his horizons. The fraternity provided those opportunities.

At Phi Kappa Theta, he became the Chapter’s scholarship chair and then served as Vice President of Operations, maintaining the house by waxing floors, painting and making sure the property was kept in good shape. “It was a stressful year of my life, but the house gave so much to me; I had to give back to the house.” Through a brother, he was able to apply for the internship at the Lincoln Lab.

“I fit in with Phi Kap because it was the friendliest, most personable place,” he says. “We support each other. No matter what anyone gets into, we have each other’s back.”

As someone who skied before he walked, Greaves, 23, enjoys hiking, ice climbing, white water rafting, rock climbing and photography, so travel was a natural thing for him.

A few of Jesse’s travel tips (he has a lot more):

  • Watch a sunset in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah, which Greaves says is more impressive than the Grand Canyon with canyon after canyon after canyon created by the Colorado River. Sunset at Zion National Park in Utah is also gorgeous

  • Go to the WWII Museum in New Orleans

  • Drink real absinthe in Barcelona. The strong, licorice-tasting drink is sipped after putting cubes of sugar on a fork, squirting water on the sugar to dissolve it in the drink and partaking in the famous concoction as did Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh

  • Try to find the hidden architectural pieces in Prague, a city that Greaves found surprisingly vibrant and exciting

  • Listen to Mozart in a small church in Vienna

  • Go ahead and indulge in the pasta and pizza in Italy and Rome in particular. It’s a nice ubiquitous, inexpensive treat following a visit to the Vatican and the spectacular St. Peter’s Basilica, which he called the most awe-inspiring cathedral, with Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia Basilica (slated to be finished in 2026 after 144 years in the making) the most artistic and impressive

  • Cliff diving in Naples on the Amalfi Coast. What better way to end a trip?

Main Image: Brother Jesse Greaves (RPI, ‘18) enjoying the view of Prague in the Czech Republic.

A.P.R.E.S. Ski

RPI Alumni Brothers Create Event Subsidies Program

by Justin Sines
Duquesne University, ‘11

The Board of Trustees of the New York Sigma Chapter at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created an Alumni Program for Regional Event Subsidies, or A.P.R.E.S. Ski, to help establish and fund alumni programing for graduated RPI brothers and their families. With the creation of this four year pilot program, members of the RPI Alumni chapter hope to establish a strong and engaged alumni base.

Brother David Fogg (RPI, ‘00) states that APRES Ski “incentivizes brothers to organize events in their areas by removing the financial burden of event costs.” He believes that by creating more alumni social opportunities, not just in the New York region but across the country, that his brothers will continue to be connected to and value the Fraternity and be more inclined to “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof.” APRES Ski founders also hope that they can use this momentum to create a series of annual or recurrent events outside of the Troy, NY area and ultimately increase total annual donations.

Event logo from 1996.

Since the unveiling of the program in May 2018, they have already exhausted the first allotment of semi-annual funding. Within the first few months, events have been held in Boston, MA, Newport, RI, Portland, OR, and the San Diego area, with a regional Alumni Weekend in Austin, TX and a pledge class reunion for the class of ’96 scheduled in the upcoming months. The program is forecasted to see an increase of 50% attendance to alumni chapter sponsored events over its first year.

The pilot program is funded through the Board of Trustee’s Alumni Chapter General Fund, and Fogg believes this to ‘represent an investment in ourselves.’ A four year commitment to the pilot program provides stability until the program becomes established. Members of the Alumni Chapter trust that the program will continue to be funded by alumni donations, whether to the general fund or via ear-marked donations to APRES Ski. Fogg states, that “based on the early success, we expect alumni to continue their enthusiastic support of the program.”

The APRES Ski program hopes to increase brother participation in Alumni-sponsored events, and create a larger group of alumni who continually participate in those activities.

Brothers interested in sponsoring events in their areas can find additional information and applications on the NY Sigma Chapter website:, or contact the program administrators at

The Chapter is known on campus as “The Ski Lodge”. Après is French and means “after”, so although A.P.R.E.S. is an acronym for “Alumni Program for Regional Event Subsidies”, the name A.P.R.E.S. Ski means “After Ski”, or how brothers become alumni after the Ski lodge. Brotherhood extends past the time spent as a collegiate member in college.

How Our Chapter Grew


Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President

On October 8th, 2018 the New York Sigma Chapter at RPI was extremely honored to hold its first brotherhood retreat with Dr. Michael Brown of DMB Coaching.

Over the course of the last year many brothers have gotten to meet Dr. Michael Brown at the Boysie Bollinger Leadership Academy and IMPACT18.

After each of those events, many non-attending brothers were excited by the ideas and impact Dr. Brown had on their fellow brothers. With all this excitement, it was only right to have Dr. Brown come visit the chapter.

Over the past year the chapter struggled with passivity and ideals, Dr. Brown formed a personalized program for our house. This program hit home with all the brothers, talking about individuals and their struggles and putting those things into perspective as a brotherhood.

The key moment for us was when Dr. Brown had us write down something we are currently struggling with personally. After reading each of those anonymous struggles, many were taken back about how the Fraternity serves as that support system that each of us as individuals need.

Using the strategies taught by Dr. Brown, the Chapter formulated their personal values which allowed us to establish our first recruitment guidelines. These guidelines specifically show who were are as a chapter and why we do the things we do.

The executive board had a meeting with Dr. Brown the following morning. Despite leading a discussion from 10AM to 6PM and hanging out with the brothers from 6PM to 10PM, Dr. Brown was still lively.

He allowed us to ask questions about what we struggle with and how to implement what we talked about as a chapter.

Overall, our Chapter went into the retreat knowing about what it means to be good leaders and an even better brotherhood but being able to still be critical about these things allowed us to be even more efficient in these areas.

Also, being able to talk about tasks we struggle with made everyone more cognizant of where we look to improve!

Neil Patel
RPI, ‘20
Chapter President