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Nikita Lisenko could talk for hours about the positive benefits of Penn and fraternity life, but he sums it up with one simple phrase: “I absolutely enjoy it.”

A Russian national, Nik’s family moved to Uzbekistan before the fall of the Soviet Union. After participating in an IB program at an international high school, Nik came to the United states to study Physics and Materials Science at Penn as part of VIPER (Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research).

“I was initially unsure about what Greek life was like, but when I got to know the brothers of AXP, I realized that this is the place where I would love to be,” he said. “It is more about being in brotherly relations and helping each other out than it is about nonstop partying.”

In addition to contributing to Phi Phi’s great reputation for being a diverse brotherhood, Nik also carries the task of improving the chapter’s academic position as Academic Chairman, a new position for Phi Phi.

“I cannot single-handedly lift up the GPA of our entire fraternity, but I am trying to make small steps and primarily help the people who are struggling with classes. That can include finding relevant study materials to prepare them for exams or connecting them with academic tutoring resources available on campus,” he said. “But most of the time it is just about playing the role of someone who cares about your academics. People need the voice of conscience when they are hesitating whether they should study or party, or the voice of support when they need to get over the stress.”

Nik sees the value in maintaining a strong legacy at Phi Phi—academic and otherwise—and ensuring that the chapter exists for generations to come, especially after the most recent alumni reunion.

“An 80-year-old brother told us that our chapter was already great when he was studying at Penn,” he said. “It really made me realize that I’m part of something more than just a group of guys; we are a part of history.”

“I am also proud of the strong presence of alumni support in our chapter,” he added.

As Academic Chair, Nik looks forward to balancing the academic and social interests of brothers and contributing to the development of the fraternity. In his spare time, Nik enjoys drawing, playing the piano, and playing computer games. He spends his summers in the US working for an on-campus lab, contributing to research alternative energy sources.