The Daily Illini

The Impressions of Allen Kleiner

By Mara Shapiro

Freshman in Engineering Allen Kleiner knew he wanted to rush a fraternity prior to arriving on campus. However, he didn’t expect to feel so welcomed by the brothers of Theta Chi.

“I didn’t expect how we were treated as well as we were here,” Kleiner said. “Seniors made the effort. The older guys were willing to hang out with you and be your friends. They’re just like you and are always willing to share their experiences.”

Kleiner chose to rush Theta Chi because he was living in Hopkins Hall, which is near the fraternity on 103 E. Gregory Dr. He and a few friends who he rushed with would always see the guys having a good time and he felt that he would fit in well there. 

Tomas Tebarek, fellow Theta Chi brother and freshman in DGS, enjoys Kleiner for his humorous personality.

“He’s caring. As the Scholarship Chair, if you’re struggling in school, he will help you get on your feet. He’s the best beatboxer I’ve ever heard. He’ll be walking around and randomly start beatboxing. Guys will join in, one of the brothers will play the piano at the same time. He’s just a positive person to be around,” Tebarak said. 

Besides being the Scholarship Chair of his fraternity, Kleiner is a pledge for the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, a member of the a capella group No Comment and a member of the registered student organization the Association of Computing Machinery, all while balancing his rigorous computer science engineering course load. 

While Kleiner’s schedule keeps him busy, he manages to balance all his activities and school work, even if that means starting a lot of his assignments early. However, he is still able to find time to unwind. 

“I do enjoy programming in my free time. I make websites and applets. I also enjoy watching TV (and) things typical college kids do. I also have supportive friends,” Kleiner said. 

Kleiner knew he wanted to become a part of a singing group on campus even though he wasn’t involved in any choir or singing groups in high school. In August, Kleiner joined No Comment as a beatboxer for the group. 

Kleiner enjoyed the recent 10-year anniversary show the group put on and liked meeting all the visiting alumni. He is looking forward to visiting high schools in the state with the group over the summer.  He listens to a variety of genres in his free time, including hip-hop, R&B and rap. Kleiner especially liked performing “Mother We Share” by Chvrches with No Comment because it has a techno feel. 

Dirk Maloney, fellow No Comment member and junior in Business, values Kleiner’s membership in the group. 

“He’s a very unique member as our beatboxer. In the past, it’s been a taught skill. He’s the first non-singer we brought into the group. He’s that good. He has good technique,” Maloney said. 

Maloney explained that Kleiner dedicates himself to the group by looking up a capella performances on YouTube in order to brush up on skills. Even though Kleiner studies computer science engineering, he shares a bond with Maloney about entering the business world. Kleiner is considering consulting as his future career path, while Maloney is also considering entrepreneurship.  

Maloney tries to help Kleiner balance his work with his extracurricular activities.

“He’s very ambitious and often puts too much on his plate. I try to advise him that he’ll crash and burn, but he just hits the ground running. He’s very driven and personable,” Maloney said.

Kleiner, unlike many University students, is not from the state of Illinois. Kleiner grew up in Houston, Texas, and moved to Washington D.C. at age nine. During his summers, Kleiner would spend time in Bulgaria, his mother’s home country.

Kleiner likes the relaxed atmosphere of Bulgaria. 

“Americans can get so caught up in technology,” Kleiner said. “In Bulgaria, they are more relaxed, laid back. And they are so genuine and sweet to Americans and foreigners.” 

Spending summers abroad let Kleiner interact with a variety of different people and gain cultural awareness.

“International exposure as a young kid allowed me to realize that everyone is the same, no matter where you are from,” Kleiner said.  

Kleiner knew when he was applying to schools his senior year that he wanted to attend a university with a good computer science program. Kleiner got a good feeling from the University after making a visit last March. 

“It had Midwestern hospitality. I came from a very small high school and (the University of Illinois) had lots of opportunities to try new things,” Kleiner said.

He was especially impressed by fellow engineers talking about their experiences and opportunities at the University. But when Kleiner is not focusing on his studies or extracurricular activites, he enjoys imitating his friends’ mannerisms and voices.

Kleiner began imitating when he took karate in Houston as a child. He imitated his instructor and his mom thought it was so funny that she videotaped it. From there, Kleiner has continued imitating people for fun.

“During live-in week, we all had to live in one room and (Kleiner) imitated all of us, the way we talked and the hand motions,” Tebarak said.

Overall, Kleiner is just a people person.

“I love being around people. I love hearing about people’s backgrounds and relating to them. It’s fascinating,” Kleiner said. 

Mara can be reached at [email protected]

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