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Meet the YAL Chicago Executive Board

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Stephanie Garoufalis

Stephanie grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, attending Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Palos Hills, IL. Stephanie graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021 with a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Science and continued on at Iowa to graduate with her Masters of Speech-Language Pathology in 2023. During her time at school, Stephanie was an active member of her OCF chapter. This summer, Stephanie also had the honor of serving as a staff member at Ionian Village. Stephanie now works as a pediatric speech-language pathologist in southwest Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog Charlie, reading, and listening to Taylor Swift. Stephanie is thrilled to be joining the YAL Chicago board and is excited to connect to young Orthodox Christians in Chicago through the faith.

Tia Kotsiopoulos

Tia Kotsiopoulos

Tia grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago attending St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church in Palatine, IL. She has her BBA in Marketing from Loyola University Chicago, and just recently graduated with her MBA from Loyola as well. Tia currently serves as the Treasurer for the National Hellenic Student Association of America (NHSA), and is involved in her parish’s YAL organization. She has enjoyed being involved within the Metropolis, and looks forward to bringing her leadership skills to the YAL Chicago Executive Board. Tia is eager to grow in her faith and play a role in bringing the young adult community together.

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Maria Laros

Maria is a recent resident of Chicago but was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois. Growing up she attended Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church and now attends St George in the city. Graduating in 2020 and 2021, Maria studied behavioral neuroscience and Human Resources at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While at school, she served as OCF president and parish council member at Three Hierarchs. Maria now works as an Onboarding Specialist at the UPS CACH facility. In her free time she enjoys painting, practicing writing icons, reading, singing & playing ukelele. Maria is thrilled to be on the YAL Chicago board and is excited to serve the orthodox community of Chicago.

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Fr. Anastasios Theodoropoulos

Fr. Anastasios grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago. Though raised in the Orthodox Faith, it was not until his college years at the University of Illinois that he developed a passion for the Church and deep desire to know Christ. Upon graduation, Fr. Anastasios enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, where he was able to indulge his desire to enrich and enliven his life in the Orthodox faith. Upon graduation in 2014, he married his wife Presvytera Elizabeth, and they moved to St. Louis, Missouri to serve Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, where he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in May of 2015. He served in St. Louis for 5 years as an associate pastor before being transferred to Peoria in September of 2019.

Fr. Anastasios is the spiritual advisor of the YAL Chicago Board. He has a deep passion for sharing the Orthodox faith, and works to inspire the faithful Orthodox Christians of Joliet to live their faith, and share it with our friends and neighbors. He welcomes all who seek God to come and see how Orthodox Christians have encountered Christ for centuries.

Evalina Bournias

Evalina Bournias

Evalina is from the northern suburbs of Chicago and is a steward of her parish, Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church of Niles, IL. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L!) in 2020 with a degree in Economics, and currently works as a Human Resources professional. Evalina has always loved being involved in the Metropolis since she was a young age and continues to be heavily involved. She currently serves as a GOYA advisor, YAL board member, member of Philoptochos, and Jr. Olympics coach for her parish, as well as a co-chair for the YAL Chicago Conference. Some things that Evalina loves (almost) as much as her faith are jet-skiing, Tik Tok, and Chick-fil-A! 

Constance Chrones

Constance Chrones

Constance grew up in Glenview, IL attending both St. Andrews and Sts. Peter and Paul. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-N-I!) in 2020 with a degree in Agriculture and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Public Policy & Law. Constance is now a third-year law student at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, the President of the Hellenic Law Society at UIC Law, as well as an active student member within the Hellenic Bar Association. Within the Chicago Metropolis, she was a Fanari camper and counselor. She is especially honored to serve the Metropolis through her leadership on the YAL Chicago Conference board and the YAL Chicago board for the third year. If she has free time, she works at lululemon, goes to pilates and writes.

Lexi Mantice

Lexi Mantice

Lexi is from the northern suburbs of Chicago and attends Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, IL. She graduated from Purdue University (Boiler Up!) in 2021 with a BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences. Lexi was GOYA President and OCF President and has a passion for being involved in young adult ministry. She is excited to take these experiences and serve the young adults of the Chicago Metropolis.  Currently, Lexi is working at NorthShore University HealthSystem as a Research Study Coordinator in Infectious Disease Research.  In her free time, Lexi enjoys playing Suduko, taking her dog Niki to the beach, listening to music, painting, and drinking sparkling water.

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Yanni Motter

Yanni grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois. He is a second-generation Greek American, with roots stemming from Tripoli and Nestani. Most recently he graduated Southern Illinois University, majoring in Automotive Technology and minoring in Workforce Education & Advanced Vehicle Systems/ Diagnostics. Most recently he began his career with Toyota Motors North America (TMNA) as a Management Trainee. Yanni has been involved in various organizations and activities within the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago such as being a counselor since 2019 for Fanari Summer Camp and his involvement with the Young Adult League of Chicago's conference board. He is also currently the Regional Director for the Great Lakes of the National Helenic Student Association (NHSA). Yanni is thrilled to be able to participate and help grow the YAL Board along with bringing people together through the faith. 

Athan Nickolozak

Athan Nickolozakes

Athan grew up in northeast Ohio attending Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from ‘The’ Ohio State University in 2017 with a degree in biomedical engineering and went on to pursue Dental School, graduating in 2021. After completing his residency at University of Chicago, he now works at General Dentist in the Chicago suburbs. Athan has a love for the outdoors and athletics. Tennis, golf, and volleyball are amongst some of his regular activities. To escape the city, he enjoys being on the water or in the mountains and has discovered a love for fly fishing. Athan is eager to combine his passions to increase engagement in YAL through organized sports and activities throughout the year!

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John Panos

John lives in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL but is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. He now attends St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Lincoln Park. John came to Chicago for work, selling software to car dealerships (very glamorous) for Reynolds & Reynolds in the Chicagoland area and Wisconsin, and is happy he did. When he isn’t working, he’s helping run Chicago and Pittsburgh YAL Conferences, spending time with friends as much as possible and trying new restaurants for his food instagram @PanosPlates. He looks forward to growing his involvement in the YAL community wherever he can apply himself, and is very excited for the year ahead!

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Amanda Sideris

Amanda grew up in Glenview, Illinois and resides there today. Amanda attends both Saints Peter and Paul and Saint George. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a minor in Visual Art and Design in May of 2022. Upon Graduation she got a design certificate from a small Creative Advertising School, Book180. Amanda now works at a PR agency, GOLIN, as an Associate Art Director. Within the Chicago Metropolis she works as the Communications Coordinator for Saints Peter and Paul. She’s honored and can’t wait to serve the Metropolis on the YAL Chicago Board.

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Valentina Tragus

Valentina grew up in Los Angeles, California, and attended St. Katherines in Redondo Beach. She graduated from DePaul University with a bachelors of science in Business with a concentration in leadership. While at DePaul, Valentina attended St. Georges and was the Vice President of OCF. Valentina works at Wintrust Financial Corporation as a Credit Analyst and enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling in her free time. Valentina enjoys being involved in her community and is excited to be a member of the YAL Chicago Board.

Zoe Wilkens

Zoe Wilkens

Zoe is from Bensenville, IL & attends Saint John the Baptist in Des Plaines. She is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Finance. Zoe is currently a Business Relationship Manager at Key Mortgage Services and has been concentrating on obtaining her mortgage advising license as well as breaking into the real estate development field. She has served for a year on her parish’s YAL board at St John’s & looks forward to continuing her efforts with YAL Chicago. She is also currently a board member of Toy Run Chicago, a charity organization that collects car donations through car show events for sick/displaced children in the Chicagoland area. In her free time you can find Zoe at the gym, at car meets, or traveling the coasts of Florida. 

Allie Novick

Allie Zell

Allie is from Schaumburg, IL and recently moved to Algonquin, IL with her husband. She is an active member at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin, IL. In addition to being a founding board member for the St. Sophia YAL, Allie also teaches 1st grade Sunday School. She is an occupational therapist, working at the Early Childhood Center in Huntley, IL. Traveling, eating dessert, and watching movies are all things you can find Allie doing in her free time.

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