FTG 0020 - 46 for a Cure: THON Director Alumni Panel with Greg Tallman '10, Elaine Tanella '12, Charlotte Rose '13, & Dominic Mirabile '15 and Guest Co-Host Tessa Beauchat '23


This is a special episode of Following the Gong, Special Guest Co-Host Tessa Beauchat ’23 IST, THON Chair for the Schreyer Student Council & THON Family Relations Captain, joins the show for a panel discussion with four Scholar Alumni who have served on the Executive Committee for the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON). This conversation with Greg Tallman, Elaine Tanella, Charlotte Rose, and Dominic Mirabile focuses on the College’s mission tenet of creating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement, lessons learned from volunteering with THON, balancing academics and involvement, and leveraging leadership experiences in the job, internship, and grad school application process.

This episode is a great listen for any Scholar involved in a club or organization on their campus for the here and now and for leveraging these experiences in their career, Scholars looking for advice on time management, advice on the thesis, and certainly for any Scholars or Scholar alumni passionate about THON.

Guest Host Bio:

Tessa Beauchat ’23 is a Schreyer Scholar in the College of Information Science and Technology studying Human Centered Design and Development with honors work in Architectural Engineering. She currently serves as the Primary THON Chair for the Schreyer Student Council, where she leads their THON committee to communicate with their two paired Four Diamonds Families (the Millers and the Sylveses) and plan fundraising events. She serves as the primary liaison between THON and StuCo. Tessa also serves on the THON Family Relations Committee as the Teen and Adult Coordinator Captain for THON 2022, Spark Endless Light, where she is the primary advocate for all teens and adults in the THON community working to ensure the organization can grow with them as they get older and move into new seasons of life.

Guest Bios:

Greg Tallman ’10 Business & Liberal Arts is a Consultant at EY in New York City where he supports the merger & acquisition activities of Fortune 500 companies. Before joining EY in 2020 after graduate school, he previously worked for eight years at PNC Bank in a commercial lending capacity. He earned a BS in Finance with Honors and BA in Economics in 2010 from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business and the College of the Liberal Arts, respectively. He also earned an MBA with a focus in Strategy & Finance from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He is happy to speak further about careers in financial services, consulting, and graduate business school. Greg served as the Communications Director for THON 2009, Dream Forward and is a past Board member for the Scholar Alumni Society.

Elaine Tanella ’12 Engineering is a Director of Data Products at Condé Nast in New York, New York where she works across the enterprise to develop data-driven products that support the Consumer and Commercial revenue streams. Before joining Condé Nast in 2018, she previously worked at the New York Times, Tremor Video, and Accenture. She earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering and Minors in Italian and Biology with Honors from Penn State’s College of Engineering in 2012. In her spare time, Elaine loves to spend time researching and nerding out on nutrition. She Olympic weightlifts for fun and is in constant search of the next best flight deal for a trip anywhere in the world. Elaine served first as the Communications Director for THON 2011, Together Without Limits, and as Executive Director for THON 2012, Brighten Every Journey.

Charlotte (Kohl) Rose ’13 Liberal Arts is a Brand Marketing Manager for Android at Google in Los Angeles, California where she develops global brand strategies and creative to launch, grow, and evolve the Android brand internationally. Before joining Google, she was a Marketing Director at Fandango, an NBCUniversal company, where she drove strategic efforts and managed film studio partnerships to scale ticketing across platforms. Previous to Fandango, she worked in digital strategy for Canvas Worldwide, a media agency, working on client Kia Auto, and in consumer marketing supporting multiple lighting brands at Philips Electronics. She earned a BA in Political Science with Honors from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 2013. She is happy to speak about integrated, consumer, and digital marketing, media, and digital strategy.  Charlotte served as the Communications Director for THON 2012, Brighten Every Journey.

Dominic Mirabile ’15 Engineering is a fellow at Stanford Graduate School of Business's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. where he is furthering research on entrepreneurship and incubating his own start-up. Before his fellowship, he previously earned his MBA at Stanford and worked in private equity and management consulting. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering with Honors from Penn State’s College of Engineering in 2015. Dominic served as the Donors & Alumni Relations Director for THON 2014, Redefine the Possibilities.

Episode Specifics:

In this episode, this all-star lineup of former THON Directors share their insights on:

  • Varied paths to Penn State that lead to opportunities like becoming a THON Director can start with just attending one meeting or one event
  • The value of making connections early and often
  • Finding inspiration for career paths from involvement in activities like THON and learning life and professional skills in student leadership roles
  • Growing in leadership based on an organization’s mission and purpose
  • Finding time to balance classwork and involvement opportunities and the value of networking with other students – and using it as preparation for life after college – including the community of Scholars around you and learning about yourself and how you best operate
  • Balancing the thesis proposal, research, and writing process with being in a heavy involvement role like the THON Executive Committee
  • Learning from Scholars that come before you and using opportunities like THON for learning to lead – and overcoming imposter syndrome – and getting involved when it’s the easiest point in life to do so
  • Dealing with the pressures of leading high visibility organizations on campus that feel high-stakes and learning self-care and not “giving 150% to all things all the time”
  • Thoughts on dancing in THON relative to serving in a THON leadership role and advice for THON dancers
  • The history of Atlas and special mission THON organizations, and the role of Schreyer Scholars in that development
  • Reflections on tragic moments and leadership lessons from a former Executive Director
  • Serving as a public face for a large organization
  • Leveraging your predecessor’s wisdom and finding opportunities to grow and build something you care about
  • Lessons learned from Four Diamonds Families and from being involved in THON
  • Authenticity and empathy in involvement and in the workplace
  • Leveraging experiences and resources as both a Scholar and a student leader in interviews for internships, jobs, and graduate school
  • Pulling insight from the Four Diamonds of Courage, Honesty, Strength, and Wisdom   


Schreyer Honors College Links:






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Credits & Notes:

This content is available in text form here.

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer).

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer.

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License.

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast of the Shuire Honors College at Penn State. Following the Gong takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career in life advice and it spanned your professional network. You can hear the true bread of Hell. schollar alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rind the gone and graduated with honors, and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Shawan Doheen, class of two thousand and eleven and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. Welcome to a special episode of following the Gong. One of our mission tenants and the Shuire Honors College is creating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. A very popular and meaningful way for many scholars and Penn staters to do that is through Penn State Dance Marathon, or as you probably know it better than on today's episode I'm joined by my first ever guest host, test, the bay shot class of two thousand and twenty three, thawn chair for the Shuire Student Council and family relations captain for though, on two thousand and twenty two. As we talked with, for scholar alumni, Great Taman Elaine Tanella, Charlotte rose and Dominic Maraboli, who served on the thawn overall or executive committee, about their experiences and lessons learned and how it's help them in their careers. This episode is a great listen for any scholar involved in a club or organization on their campus, for both the here and now and leveraging those experiences in their career. It's also great for scholars looking for advice on time management and advice on the thesis, and certainly for any scholars or scholar alumni who are passionate about thawn. I'll let you read their full BIOS and the episode themes in the episode description on your podcast player, since this episode is already much longer than our normal episode length. With that, let's dive right into our conversation. Following the Gong thank you all for joining me today. Today's a very special episode of following the gone. This is our first for alarm panel here and we're really focusing on the college's mission tenant of creating opportunities for civic engagement and leadership, specifically related to Penn State's dance marathon, or Thawn, and as part of that I'm it's like my first ever guest co host today. So, Tessa, can you introduce yourself? Hi, I'm TESTA BA shan. I'm the primary thawn chair for Fire Student Council. I'M A third year student studying human center design and development and I'm really excited to be joining you today. I'm excited to have you here and I'm also excited to have for former thawn directors or overalls on with me today. So we're just going to go by Grad Year through the list. Greg, can you introduce yourself? Sure, my name is Greg Toman. I'm currently living in New York City. I'm a graduate in two thousand and ten with degrees in finance and economics and I served as the communications overall four than two thousand and nine. Glad to have you here and Greg also is a past member of the scholar Alumni Society Board. So welcome, Greg Elane. You've had two roles on the community. Can you introduce yourself? Hey everyone, elane to noah. I graduated in two thousand and twelve with the degree in biomedical engineering and I was a communications director for Thn two thousand and eleven and the executive director, or overall chair for Thon Two thousand and twelve. Look at me using both names. Welcome, glad to have you here, Charlotte. Yes, my name is Charlotte Rose, formerly Cole. I graduated in two thousand and thirteen with a degree and political science and under a lane, I was the executive communications director communications overall for though on two thousand and twelve. Glad to have you here and dominant. CAN YOU RUN US out? Yeah, sure, thanks, sewn. Dominic Morabolie and I graduated from Penn State in two thousand and fifteen with a degree in electoral engineering and was the donor and alumni relations director for though on two thousand and fourteen. Definitely appreciate having that perspective on here working in the development and alumni relations office for shrire. Now, Tessa, I'll let you kick off with our first question for our panel today. Awesome. Thanks, Sean. Just kind of get started. What first attracted you to come to Penn State and specifically the Honors College, and then how did you become involved in though, in your time here? I can start then, with with that. I guess that my journey depends state. Started early, as many persons journeys do, by having both parents having been attendees. Not met at Penn stay, but they did meet shortly after. So I'd already's been a fan of just that collegiate atmosphere, the large, you know, football game and tailgate journeys, but all the way, you know, through just having a community and campus that's really student centric...

...with all the resources that any eighteen to twenty two year old could could enjoy. And then specifically then, as I got later in my years in high school, learning more about the shreire program really saw it as an opportunity to sort of double down and excel in the classroom with a smaller class size and the beliefs and tenants around community service and global engagement that resonated with me, which drew me to Shreire. I think that last piece really on service and the last part of your question being what drew us to getting involved in in than I myself, you know, sort of experience the benefit and a support of others. You know growing up at a single parent household, leaning on a lot of people and a lot of different roles, you know, sort of giving back. So even through my journey in high school I was very focused on a volunteerism and engaged men and then coming to Penn State, I don't think there's a better, better stage you're seen to be involved in that then than presents. So I sort of knew right away you got to do than you got to do than what what doing thon wasn't exactly clear probably for many of us in those early months on campus, but was able to quickly roll up my sleeves and dive in and it really provided some transformational leadership experiences for me on campus. I do have to add also that when I was a freshman and I almost had the opposite experience of Greg but I wanted to go to a university in a city, so penn state was just sort of like a off the whim school. I applied to. A New Yorker, grew up in the suburbs of New York and my dad just happened to watch football every Saturday. Pence a football with an a lump. So I was like that sounds cool, I'll apply here. The rest of the schools I played were city schools. I was like, I don't think I'll go there. Ended up going and doing a stay over program with the Society Woman Engineers, which you would think that would divert me even further, like shadowing or engineering class as like a high school senior, and I fell in love with a campus. In February. It was like two weeks before thon, and then when I got to Penn State, Greg was actually the I guess I don't know what we called it then, but the executive director for Atlas, so he was basically the head of Alice Thon, and so he was the my first interaction with with on was going to an atlas meeting because I lived in Atherton and I saw the flyers and I was like got to get involved with on. This seems cool. It's in my dorm, so I have to share that one. I actually too was influenced by drag. I also from am from out of state. I'm from New Jersey, although I wasn't focused on city schools, I was focused on much smaller schools. Through my college search process I was very close to my guidance Concor, who basically told me unless I've visited a large school, she would not be helping with my college applications. So I've gradually went with a friend for a day. We actually had a current try or student at the time who it's also a line ambassador, gave us a tour and some things. I don't know if it was him. Someone told me in my search process they make a big school small, but you can't make a small school big, and I think it's something we've probably all heard, but that's something that really stuck with me once I finally, you know, through my process I learned about tryer. was super excited. went to accepted students day. That was actually a first time at parents had seen the campus and it was a really a very defining foam moment for me, seeing all the resources that a large university could provide, but the small, more intimate focus environment that trier could also provide with in that when I showed up for moving at trier during showtime. I'm not sure if it's currently still called that. But the orientation showtime became friends with some of the older students whoards. The mentors had no idea what though on was. They told us. went to a you outlas meetings. Greg was actually on one of my first panning trips fund raising. I'm not sure. I guess canting doesn't exist anymore, but one of our first fund raising trips Greg was with me and I didn't really know anything about communications, to be honest, and that's eventually what put me into the communications really trajectory where then became a captain and it overall. So I too was influenced by Greg but, like lane, also at a different path of what got me to Penn State and trier. So it sounds like Greg recruited the other two. I did not have the chance to get to know Greg, but just to add a little bit about my story, it's similar to what's been shared around. When I think of Penn State, when I thought of Penn state originally, you know, you get this feeling of it's big, it's a big community, it's a big football weekend, it's a big campus and it has the scale of, you know, a full land grant university. That that helps you get a lot out of your education. But what drew me this shriyer specifically is that it was a way to make it feel small and it was a made a way to make it feel like a family and a smaller community with...

...really like minded people who are maybe reaching beyond what typical students get involved in and thinking bigger about their careers and their aspirations and their dreams. And I found that in spades in trier and in terms of getting involved with on I had the experience of one of my rowing teammates who was diagnosed with childhood cancer in high school. And then, you know, by luck, I arrived at Penn State, which has this huge apparatus and organization to get involved and feel like you can make a difference in that in that fight, and so it's just this perfect moment of having this, you know, tough experience of seeing it up close and then being told I can actually make a difference in this cause. And so got involved in my freshman year and really found that that that was true, that you know, bunch of college students can really come together and make a difference in the fight against Pied aftric cancer. Awesome. Thank you all for sharing that I had a kind of a similar experience, so it's funny to hear that from everyone. Di Greg, to also recruit you. Yes, I got that experience, unfortunately, it seems like it was a good one. Yeah, well, considering I went first and Intros meeting, I'm the oldest. That was, you know, eons, Aka a decade or more ago, which is crazy to think about. But yes, I definitely remember distinctly the moments that both elaneen and Charlotte shared. Will talk a little bit more, I'm sure, about what Atlas Don even means and the journey and role that shryer really has played in amplifying thns reach and leadership and whatnot. So I'm excited to continue the conversation. Me Too. But before we get onto like some more thoughts. Well, I guess kind of related with your academic interest. Did you have anything, either in your Undergrad or in your post Grad that you pursued after college that was influenced heavily by thon in your career trajectory or anything else? I will say I actually I was a political science major and I intended to go to law school. I did not go to law school. I married a lawyer and I see that it was a good choice. But when I was going through classes, that was my goal was either either immediately after college or taking a few years off working and then eventually going to law school through my role with communications at thought. It's it does share many parallels with marketing and I think it's something that something about my role of communications was there was multiple different audiences you had to sort of there were alumni, there were current students, there were student Orgs, there were parents, there was Penn State Faculty and staff, and it's something that be able to take like what was the Thughn mission and how people could get involved and applying it to these different audiences was a challenge that I really enjoyed and so I actually leave this was I was a overall director my junior year, so it allowed me some more time to kind of make a career shift in my plans and when I actually started to look at roles for Postgrad I really focused and in in more of the marketing communications area. So we actually got my first job through on campus interviewing and that's kind of really where I landed in my marketing career. My first job out of college was marketing. So, while it's I am not in the nonprofit world, some of the skills and really what sparked my initial interest in it was because of my role within thon. Yeah, I had I had a similar pivot to Charlotte. I came in and engineering and for the first, you know, two years of college I was staying up late, all hours of the night doing engineering problem sets and trying to figure out all the math and science and that's something that was intellectually engaging, but I don't think it really brought me to life. And then having the leadership role ins on and seeing how just through being a part of organization, by learning leadership, by bringing people together in a common goal, just seeing the power of that at the scale that's ont operates, really encourage me to think about, you know, what role I want to play in organizations. Do I want to be an engineer or do I want to kind of move into management and focus more on leading organizations? And so it got me much more interested in business. I think there's a lot of parallels to especially the donor alumni relations role and and business organizations. And so I also was a director in my junior year and when senior year came around, I started looking at consulting in a way to learn more about businesses and and really never looked back. And so my encouragement to scholars would be, you know, just listen to what what in your experience. Maybe it's in a classroom, maybe it's outside of the classroom, but what in your experience really lights you up and just follow that. It'll lead you to the right place. I also agree. I feel like one of the really cool things about triers was you met people with so many different majors, but everyone was so engaged in the classroom and also outside of the classroom that it really made you realize that, okay, I'm majoring in my example, in biomedical engineering. I thought I wanted to go to med school or Grad School. It really made you really recognize that I can actually do anything and what I'm learning most importantly is how to work with people, how to problem solve, Ho how to communicate at the most basic level, and...

...if you have those skills they're transferable to anything. I think one of the most challenging things, probably from coming from thought to the real world is like everyone just treats you like you're there. You know to do their grunt work, but in reality, like the skills I think we all probably gained just in, you know, every aspect of every level of being involved in than are like far superior that any sort of corporate level of training. But yeah, the the world is your oyster as a shriier scholar. So, yeah, echo those sentiments as someone who studied business but was in the communications, you know workstream or the team for than it really is about stakeholder management that you know, as Charlotte mention, learning how to interact and deal with people, structure thoughts, make critical decisions, lead and motivate teams. And you know, I've gone on and gotten a graduate degree in business and those themes still ring true and looking back at the thon experience, that was really where I think I flex those muscles, you know, as much or more than I have in any other you know, professional or graduate school setting. You know. Since so you just all mentioned a lot about leadership and and kind of building on that. What was what really sparked you to kind of continue to apply for more leadership roles within though, and take on these higher responsibilities in your time here at Penn State? And it's like the generic answer that, I think, if we were all go back to our overall applications or executive director applications, is just you want to do more and you want to give more of yourself to the organization, to the families, to the four diamonds fun. I don't I think one of the things that I've I've appreciated most about all of though leaders that I've ever interacted with, even as a lum, is the humility and humbleness of a leaders and I think you know, I obviously don't know the student leaders as much today, but I think most people's desire to continue on and get more experience with leadership, with on is not because they want to be a leader, but because they actually deeply care and identify with the mission and want to help the families and want to give more of their time and more of themselves to the organization, and leadership is almost just sort of like the secondary attribute that that comes with that desire. I'm seeing a lot of head nods. I think. I would just trying to agrees with Elaine on that. So I'm going to ask the next question. Everybody I'm seeing on the Zencaster screen right now is or was involved in a lot of student organizations, not just on student council, CCSG line, ambassadors, other groups. How did you all find time to be involved in those other things on top of though on and just being a student? Oh, that's the old adage. The other's plenty of time to sleep in you're dead. And I think many of us on the screen took that approach through our our years at Penn State. But it was invigorating, right. I mean, you know, this is the work that gave us energy. I mean, yes, we were excelling in the classroom. That sort of table stakes for you know, most of us are many of the scholars. You know, people could laugh because I was the business major, so with my friend I got to be both social and extracurricular, but the engineers and lab researchers maybe had a different set of circumstances. So really just building that sense of community and getting involved, you know, across organizations. Pain state can seem like this big organization or university for some, but when you're involved across those groups that you mentioned, you know, student government and and homecoming and this and that, you will not believe the number of familiar faces you know and friends you see walking through the hub, walking through Atherton and the halls. It just you know, I play the game. How many, you know, from here to smeal, how many Hellos am I going to need to say? You know what's the over under? It's probably ten to fifteen, you know, and those are just the student leaders that are that are you know you're interacting without a day to day so you just learn how to manage your time. Knew what your expectations were in the classroom and you know your work might have you know you're going to have to make some tough calls about whether you're going to study a little bit extra or harder for that test tomorrow or, you know, crank through some emails that have been waiting in your inbox. But those are skills and challenges we you will face in the real world. So it's just good. It was good practice and time management to get it all done. I would also say in my experience, like more involvement, like begets more involvement, like once you start to make some connections, the web just continues to grow and I think that's something that again, when you think about making a big school small. Once you're involved, whether it be and try or honors, called activities, thought or any other extracurriculars. you start to really gain a larger understanding and a much deeper...

...appreciation of the other experiences that other Penn state students bring, and I think that's something that I really loved. I met Varsity athletes, I met people in UPA, people that I probably wouldn't have been in contact if I had strictly focused on my school work. Again, liberal arts, so I was not engineering or was not in a lab, like I said, but I think there was something to be said about being able to make those connections and and you start to see it become a very circular I actually want to be more involved because I'm meeting more people and meeting more people makes me want to be more involved in better understand those around me and those that are that are fellow students here. I would also say in terms of balancing things, this is another skill that I think really started with bond for me but has extended into my professional life, of being present where you are. When you're in a though on meeting, you're paying attention to that and when you have thought work to do, you're doing thon work, and then when you're locked in on you know your student mode. You're locked in on that, but I think that ability to really balance difficult priorities, things that are happening simultaneously separate work streams, that's something that's only become more complicated in my professional and personal life as life goes on. But I really think of where I started to learn how to balance that, and that all started with being a shry or student and being involved in thought. But also say, one of the really thing, the things that stood apart to me, and just comparing my academic experience at triers and Penn state compared to other friends and family that may have gotten elsewhere like an ivy, is like everyone was willing to help each other out. There was it was competitive in the sense that people wanted to better themselves and better those around themselves, but it wasn't cut throat in that if I had to miss class because I was sick or I had another engagement, that someone wouldn't share their notes with me or something like that. So even though it was hard to balance, you know, school versus though meetings or other extracurriculators, there was always like a it was very much like a team atmosphere. There was always there someone to support you and you would in turn do the same for your peers. And you know those late nights in you know, doing engineering problems. That's, like Dom said, you had people doing them with you. So even though it might have been arduous, it was fun, you know, like you'd still laugh and joke and fun ways to make it fun. So definitely really fortunate at that. Yeah, the the only two points I would add is I think it really hit home during son kind at the peak of my involvement, just how important it was to know myself and to listen to myself and to really just dig deep and understand how I work best and what are the conditions that make me most effective and efficient and what do I need to be able to show up to class and Tousan and to my other extra curriculose and show up for my friends and my family and I think most people, I'd imagine, you know, when you're pushed to the to the brink of you just feel really oversubscribed, you have to start asking yourself those questions and designing your life to set set you up to be able to manage all those different constraints. And for me that happened at Penn State and for me that happened in my involvement for son. So I'd encourage scholarsh to think about you know, do they work best working into the night, or is it better for them to go to sleep early, get up and do that? Or do they need some social time? Do they need exercise? Like, how are you prioritizing your day so that you are showing up as the best version of you to all these different commitments? And then the other the other thought I had was one of the big lessons I took from San was just this idea of delegation and empowering others, and I think I learned this lesson really the hard way. In the first couple months I was really trying to do everything and be involved and aware of everything that my team was doing, and as soon as I started investing other people, getting them up to speed, getting them and clarity on what to work on, the workload just became much lighter because then they were empowered to go and make decisions and and and maximize their impact. So learning that skill of delegation also helped with with the balance piece as well. Moving on to kind of, as you talked, balancing academics is kind of a crazy act, and especially with the shry requirement of writing your thesis. So some of you were directors are on the committee during your final years of scholar which meant that dawn weekend happened and then your thesis was due. Or, if you were in your junior year, your proposal was do so how did you balance doing your responsibilities for Thn weekend and also making sure you were fulfilling all of these academic requirements? And I'm very personally invested in these answers. I will be taking notes. Well, I was lucky enough to be on the exact committee my junior year, like Charlotte, not as lucky as as maybe a lane or some others. So from a thesis standpoint, I was definitely managing other extracular priorities during that that time period. But but senior year I was able to take on some kind of cool coal projects and initiatives that were most interesting...

...to me and that was one way that it sort of worked out that I could manage. But again, my being a sort of a business background, it was sort of back end loaded. I won't call it a full procrastination. A few months crash course, the chosen resources were there to get started and planned early at a steady pace over the last couple of years. But maybe that's what I was so busy doing junior year. So I think it was just, you know, leveraging the the time in the classroom reserved and carved out for thesis prep and thesis understanding. That really helped sort of set the stage so that when it came time to sort of finish the research and and grind, if you will, you know there was a clear pathway to do so and to sort of go out on a high note as a opposed to feeling as though this was, you know, a weight hanging over us. So that's just how I I went about about mine. I was also in my junior year, I think. I think something that was helpful was I really lead on my advisor for help understanding, like what is this timeline really even need to look like? So going into it, you know all those my junior year was selected at the end of my software year, so the entirety of my junior year I knew though, on week I was coming up in February. So being able to kind of build out that timeline so come January come February when you're really in the full swing of all things, thought it wouldn't hit like a tsunami at the very end. I do remember I think I had like eight or nine ams and I was not a morning person. I was very much an eye owl on college, so that wasn't always favorable. Really had no other option with that one. But I think there's those things like that where you learn like, okay, I'm going to like frontload my day and so I have an afternoon, three days of work that I can just at worked on, whether that be student work or whether that be thought work, and I think to being able to understand, like what are the timelines of what research? What resources do I have available? I think that's something that was really crucial in the process to me of understanding like I have. I have other honor students who have done this, whether they whether they are a year or two a head, and I have other advisors and other people I can go to within the honors college who are familiar with this process, who can help guide exactly how I should even be approaching this. They're not going to do the work for me, but they can help me establish a framework that will then kind of allow me to make sure I'm putting forth the work needed so then I can also focus on definitely, I think one of the huge assets of being scholars you have so many resources. You know, you've met so many people in your dorms, you meet other people in your major also, and I think just in general, finding an advisor early on that is going to support you and help nudge you along, because I think most college students like to procrastinate. So trying to even recall, maybe I blacked it out of my mind, how getting it done in senior year. But I was fortunate in that I did most of my research the summer leading up to, you know, my senior year, and so most of what I had to do was just since synthesize my lab notebook, which, if you've ever seen my handwriting, as a challenge, and convert that into actual text and diagrams and things for a thesis. So definitely just time management which I think as a scholar you learn early on, which are all fortunate for yeah, and I think I probably did, to be honest, I probably did a fair amount of cramming on the thesis. I remember being in the Honors College and we were all just kind of looking around at each other in the couple weeks before it was due and there was that same face of Oh my gosh, why did I leave this to the last minute? So I imagine that's pretty common. But if I was to go back and do it again, I would say that I love the quote of we don't always rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems. And so if you can think of a way to have a forcing function to make sure you're making progress against the thesis, and maybe that's intermediate deliver boles that you sign up for on certain timelines with your advisor or some kind of timeline that that is forcing you to do the work in small chunks versus save me to the end. If I could go back in my wisdom now and and talk to myself as a senior, that's probably what I would say to do. You just heard some great advice from our scholar alumni and completing the honors thesis. A great resource that we have here in the college is the thesis Boot Camp. If you're a scholar in your last semester you will have gotten an email from Deva Rodgers, our coordinator of academic advising and services about this program the thesis boot camp is an opportunity to have quiet, dedicated space for you to write your thesis. The benefit is that you will be surrounded by other scholars who are in a similar place and you can lean on them for advice and support during this process. College staff will also be there to help you answer questions. College staff will also be...

...there to help answer questions about the process formatting and other questions that you may have about the honors thesis. With that, let's get back into our conversation here on following the Gong. So for this next question, Charlotte, I'm going to let you take the first stab at an answer and then everybody else can chim into and because of the way you answered on your questionnaire, you are director your third year and you were leading a team of captains, and then those captains had twenty, thirty students on their committees. So you're talking about being the manager for two hundred students. Maybe. How did you start developing the skills to manage that committee as their leader, on top of again being a scholar and facing what we might even call today imposter syndrome? Yeah, you know, I think I think I most relied on kind of two different areas. First, had wonderful mentorship and second relate a system of trial and error, but we were an environment that it felt safe to do so. I think first, focusing on Mentorship, I was on the exact I was the exact chair for communications and Elaine was actually our overall that year. I'd had a lane previously as my calm director when I was a compaptain, so it's great to have a it was great to have a familiar face. I knew her leadership style and there were elements, lots of elements, that I really want to emulate with myself. And then I think we also had wonderful other mentors. For instance, we had our faculty advisor at the time, very Braham, who was a really great resource for us, whether it be like small like I don't know how to handle the specific situation, or larger macro questions where you could always go into his office and just like I need help, I don't know how to address this. I think that's something that, you know, homecoming was near us. They had a similar experience with their advisors and I think that something in a collaborative environment like Penn state, and then other fellow students and try or were involved in their own organizations. I think being able to kind of bounce ideas, whether it be off of fellow peers or off advisors, was really really helpful for me to understand both what were other people's leadership style, what did I want to take of that, and what parts of it that I really need to make my own. Again, I think that's a theme we're seeing this in this is that it really it was really kind of like the launch pad for my own leadership skills to develop that I still try to, you know, continue to foster in my professional life today. Really understanding that some of the students were actually older than me, which in college, like when year, feels very significant. That's a quarter of your college experience, and it was it was an environment that I had to understand. How do you best? It was it was actually like the first crash course for me, like how do you understand what other people strengths are and how do you how do you help them develop their best work? How do you identify what their weaknesses are and where others can really start to kind of pitch in there and then like the biggest, one of the biggest things for me was like step out of their way, like people can do great work on their own, and that that learning of how to delegate and just get out of people's way when they're doing great work. That was kind of my first experience with that and it wasn't my last, but I think some of those first leadership roles really happen there. Secondly, on the second point, I think trial and error. Again, I think being within Penn State and then you have shreiers, like the smaller environment that you're that you're comfortable in, and you have, you know, very familiar faces when you're I've lived in Atherton both my first and second year and walking into the lobby you always recognize people and you felt like it was a safe environment for you to kind of test these leadership skills and what works what doesn't. And then again, you had a wonderful group of fellow exacts. We had fourteen other exacts on our committee plus a lane, and that allowed me to really feel like I could kind of test out exactly like is this good to delegate? Okay, maybe that's should have been a task I did myself. Maybe I'm taking on too much. I need to find other avenues to kind of push this work too, and also understanding that people did have weaknesses. How do I help them grow? And that's something that in turn helped me grow as well. I think Imposter Syndrome was very real for me. I was the end of my sophomore or when I was selected a lane. Could tell you I definitely thought I did not get it and when I did, definitely had a tough time even I'm like grasping, like wait, you chose me, and it was something that I was very excited for. I wouldn't have applied if I didn't think deep down in my hearts of hearts, that I could truly do it. But again, that was like one of my first experiences where I'm like, Oh, this is actually kind of terrifying that now I need to go and do this and I don't really even know where to begin. But I think the experience was so great and I've learned so much and it's just continued like what I learned in my role and thought has formed like a launch pad for so many other aspects of my life that I've continued to seek out opportunities where I'm like, Oh, I'm a little terrified to do this, because I found that those have been off on the most rewarding for me. So, you know, I felt similarly when I got into friar to. You're like a weight really, and I think it's those type of experiences that have really led me to again seek those moments out where I'm a little bit terrified but I know that it'll it'll probably rate...

...the largest rewards. I think the point that Charlotte made about sort of the low stakes environment. It didn't feel that way at the time. Right, you almost carry the weight to your shoulders, the weight of your you know, report. It's not that they're those your partners, you your friends and looking back, there couldn't have been a you know, sort of safer space to take those, you know what was seemed the Times as risks. Do I apply, do I not apply? I hadn't been a captain before in the formal fun organization. I'd been a committee member but I never led a committee. When I I'm had applied, I had led the fundraising organization atlas the year prior so. I mean I had the leadership skills and experiences, but I didn't know what I was, you know, necessarily doing. And to Charlotte's point, with people who were older or people who had applied for your position or people who could do what you know you're being tasked to do with their eyes closed and I'm coming in with my eyes wide open and a binder of transition materials. How do I, you know, break that down? How do I gain their respect and trust? And I mean, you know, this experience is about the delegation. I mean it's trust, it's reliance and you can't do it all from from day one. It's very clear. So that that helps you develop that that sense of sort of delegation and leadership when you know we all are aligned to the same mission. To a lane's point earlier, we are very much a self selecting group in terms of those that are in it for the right reasons, understand the mission and keep the the the thumb and for Dimons family, you know, closest to their hearts. Circling back to that, it makes those conversations much, much easier. So just my you know, encouragement to students has to take those, those opportunities when they come because, frankly, when you hit the Post Grab Blues, you're looking for ways to get involved. You know it's not as easy. You don't have a sign up sheet for volunteers, you don't have, you know, clubs and or orgs. You know down the hall that you can stumble into the grandfather clock lounge and attend. So taking advantage and and you know you'll see those fruits for years, years to come. Yeah, this this question. It took me back to my when I first selected my captain's and was meeting them for the first time and we kind of sat around in our meeting rooms in a circle and I can I can actually feel the feeling I was having with them just kind of looking to me, and I think that was probably the first time where I felt real really in the situation of okay, these people are looking to me to set set the vision and to bring them together as a team and to accomplish the goals that everyone shares. And I remember being very stressful and I was similarly, I was a director as a junior and then were folks that are older than me. There were many folks that applied for the same positions, and then you also have this whole dynamic where you know from a lane forward, the total is just kind of going up and up and the organization is growing and growing, and so you carry the weight of that too. Like you, you you feel like a steward of this organization and you feel pressure to help it continue to grow, and I think the only antidote for that is just really adopting a growth mindset. To say, and I think I remember saying this in my first or second meeting, just like I'm going to get things wrong, we're all going to get things wrong, but that's okay, we'll get better together, we'll learn from it. And if you set the table that way with a team, I think it's a much better environment for all of us to come together and to grow as individuals and grow as a team, and it kind of takes the air out of the the imposter syndrome mindset of saying, wherever I am today, I just have to get a little bit better and I have to learn and grow and it's a journey there. So kind of leading from a lot of what we just talked about was the skills that you did develop through thon and that it was a great environment to do so. But there are there any skills that you wish you would have developed during this time period or with whether that regards to like academic or your thon involvement. Is there anything that you would maybe give advice to someone to really try to work on in your position? This might sound strange, but making time for yourself? I think that as a scholar and being on the overall committee, it was either school work or thon or social hour with friends, and I definitely could say that Penn state and the thon years were some of my most fond memories of Penn State and most fun. But like, I was not a healthy individual terms of feeding myself or Selfcre like working out or just recognizing that taking an hour or thirty minutes out of the day to like,...

...you know, just do something for yourself is a normal thing that you should learn as an adult growing up. So I say that is just one piece of advice I could go back and tell myself is don't you know, eat wings over for multiple meals, something like that. So yeah, I know my director mentions at the end of every one of our meetings. I don't know if this was a thing when you were there, but than is the largest student run philanthropy and that you're a person first in a volunteer. Second so it's funny still hear that it way too much panda Chicklai. What else do we have in the hub at the time? Borrow, I would say, I think. You know, I think something that's just always tough is I think greg kind of hit on this, but at the time you feel like this is this is all encompassing, like this is my life, and I think this this is also sort of going off what a Laine saying, but I think just I do think we were good about it, but just the perspective that like, if things aren't going okay right now, that's not the end of the world. It's really tough in the moment because you have the weight of you know, it's a fifteen thousand. I probably even more. I Fifteen Tho. I think at our time we always said it was a conservative estimate of how many volunteers, and that's before you take on the emotional weight that, at the end of the day, though, on is helping families are going through a nightmare and it's really tough to separate that and not want to give your entire self to it, and I think that's something that again, just kind of being able to have perspective in that men. I don't know if anyone's ever great at that at any point in their life, but it's really hard to not feel like this is going to swallow me whole if I don't do this at a hundred fifty percent. I think you know, with the gift of perspective and having a paid career that's different from volunteering in Penn state, you kind of learned that, like you can't be the best student and the best volunteer and the best family member and the best family friend. You can't get that everything a hundred fifty percent all the time. So how do you really look at what is a priority at what moment so you can be the best in the situation you're right at that moment? I think that's something that I was just kind of like, and I don't think I was alone in this, but you're like burning the midnight oil literally, and it was fun. Like I have really great moments of me either really trying to be quiet in the Zombie loungeulate at night or like in the thon office all night. But you know, you you also have to realize that like your student now and there are there will be life moments after this. That will also be challenging. So trying to learn and understand that in the moment as well. So a little bit of a lighter question now, Greg this one's specifically for you. You were involved in Atlas, which we've talked about, and I actually remember you dancing for them my sophomore year, year, senior year. What was it like being on the other end of the event weekend after serving on the executive committee? Yes, yes, so, as a senior I was able to dance for Atlas, which was sort of a very cool come full circle moment. It was only a second year as an organization, my first year at Shreire, and then four years later it was the largest, you know, non greep group on campus. You know, from the basement of Atherton Hall, we actually to move our meetings to Thomas and you know, what would that do? Because you know now we have to walk, you know, in the winter, to meetings. We do we really want to leave, you know, this fifty person room and Shuire, and we did. We took the leaps and and grew and then, after having serve as a direct executive director, to dance. I'm not going to say it was always easy, because it wasn't, I think, the hardest part, and I say that only because when you're on the exact committee, you're starting way earlier on that Friday and you're going away later on that Sunday, if for tear down, and yes, you're assigned a very brief sleep schedule, but with the adrenaline that's running through as a leader, you know you're sort of giving it. You're also then on the other side as a dancer. You know, I think I was mentally prepared, but it really the hardest part for me was just really reflecting and taking it in and and cheering on my fellow friends who were dancers who maybe hadn't gotten involved that I saw that, you know, would come up to me and say hey, you know, we're here because you bothered us like I did, Charlotte and e Lane and and thank you, and you had other organizations. Maybe at the time we were competitive, friendly, you know, rivals coming over and shaking your hand and saying like man, what a journey this has been. So it really was a great, you know kind of cap of the of the journey full circle to have that reflection moment at the end of my my career, but I would say the exact direct directive duties that I had were a bit more challenging. I was like, okay, so I'm just going to stand here. It's only forty six hours. That's it,...

...we'll be out of here tomorrow. Okay, let's play with some kids and, you know, play with some friends and enjoy the time we had. And then, as a follow up to that, Greg So, you mentioned at the time what is Atlas Springfield, these groups. Those kind of a revolutionary idea at the time. Now that but for like Tessa's cohort of students, it's just normal. It's its own category. Can you talk about how you helped lay the groundwork for the special mission groups becoming their own category within thon? Yep, absolutely so. You know, in my early fun journey, you know, really there were two ways to fund raise, for through on rights the way through structured of course, it's the formal organization in the various committees that are sort of working on the execution of the entire yearlong program culminating within the weekend, but that's only you know, we are enabling the organizations on campus to fund raise, of course. Don You know, it is in itself coordinating many of those measures, but to the point of fifty thout fifteen thousand student volunteers. That really encompasses the entire campus community. At the time, though, that really represent it, you know, Greek organizations, and then other organizations on campus, such as Lyne abassadors, such as, you know, the right across club, etcetera, that would sort of add on th on fundraising as as a second priority, third priority, that they were all involved in doing and they would have their own shares and that was how you could get involved. Some scholars much more, you know, visionary than I the year before I joins it. Well, we want to raise money for thon. We have the same goals and objectives and care for the four diamonds. Why can't can we just do that? And you know, the leaders before me said, you know, sure, I guess you can do that. So the first two real independent organization, Springfield though, on at at last, and we're both based in Simmons at Atherton Hall. And then what became? You know, these smaller organizations, to SCHAUMP's point, over the years became its own category, its own classification of there's just people that were empowering to form you know, teams across their freshman, you know, dorm floors and fundraise it that way. And how do we get them equipped right? You know, there's no legacy of information. They don't know where to start. How do we workshop and plan for these organizations, because we really saw this is the future, you know, growth of this organization and you know, fortunately, that that came to bear. Those bets, if you if you will, that the the leadership team of Thoughn sort of made during my journey, you know, continues to serve though's mission today and I get super excited when I see the totals lies at the end and see, you know, the category and page and it's wow, a decade later, they're still going, you know, not only Atlas Springfield, but the many others, ohannas and the others of the world. You know, on that listing that that I helped, you know, and providing guidance and tools and sharing my experiences that would benefit them are still there today. So I think that's why I botht you know, proud accomplishment having given back to the to the organization. And on the note of dancing, is what's your biggest piece of advice for dancers how many other fellow dancers are on here? I know elane danced, if not my year, Charlotte danced. Getting a note from dumb dance before you are behind the scenes, because I don't think I could have done like Charlotte. Dr Craig didn't danced after I had been involved and seen all the I don't know. Part of it's just being able to walk and find some quiet space. So just knowing what what, what you're coping mechanisms are for when you hit a wall, and for me it was spending time with our thon families of the time atlas, I dance as a sophomore, so I was totally naive and had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I don't know, like no, no yourself and knowing what's going to sort of like bring you back when maybe you're going through a tougher moment. Yeah, I think just like being prepared in a way that's unique use. Like I knew the time and because of experience. Again, I danced my senior year and served on the overall committee my junior year, and so because I essentially had the minute by minute already memorized in my head, I was like my no, it's gonna Happen Now, and so mentally I could not have the experience of not knowing the time. But I knew when I get angry I get really mean. So I had like a full supply of snacks ready and a full supply like I knew when people were coming on the floor for me that would be able to bring me snacks. But just in general, like that was a key for me of like Gatorade and water and always a snack. And I think just knowing like other people were like I need to keep walking, and the social aspect of it was really important to me. I think something that really made dancing much more rewarding for me the year after being on the OC was again, like like Gregs headsaide, you see people in the stands that you maybe didn't know before, fellow dancers, families that you really didn't that you wouldn't have had a relationship otherwise, and I think that social aspect but was the part that really...

...carried me through the weekend of there was always someone knew to find on the floor, whether that was like causing some lightness stiff with them or just again to go get a snack with, but it made the experience fly by for me. Yeah, I tried to be the first dancer Slash Moraller, I see her year, and took on that cheerlead role, or I guess it's did the Dancer Relations Committee today. At the time, the morally the morale committee, you know, task with making or the dancer and family will being is at the forefront. So you know, I definitely took more the angle of let's let's soak it in, let's have some fun, because I also certainly knew the time and and the knew what to expect. So there weren't going to be any tricks really pulled over, pulled over our heads, but made the most of the weekend with with those we interacted with. So I hated to take the conversation down a peg after talking about snacks. But this one specifically for you, e Lane, since you served as the we now call the exective director. So you were in that role during a very trying time for Penn state and also for thought, and you kind of detailed this a little bit in the Penn State or magazine, which is a great benefit of joining the Penn State Alumni Association in the January February, two thousand and twenty two issue. Can you talk about what strategies you employed to steer thought through what was probably one of its darker moments? Yeah, I would. I would say it wasn't just me. I think one of the biggest strategies not doing it alone and realizing we weren't alone. You know, as Penn state students, it was just a tough time to to be a student, and then losing one of our volunteers was also just another extreme challenge and leaning on a committee like Charlotte was on my committee, like leaning on each other and recognizing that none of us had the answers for how to move forward or how to just address and mourn and, if you will, and have to give another shout out to our advisor, Barry Bram, who was so critical and key in just an advisor and just making sure that we were okay. But I think really what it all came down to is, I think Tom touched on these earliers. When you have a mission and you have a framework for what you're striving for as an organization, it makes decisions a lot easier because you always have that mission to answer to. And what we collectively recognized is, you know, we still have to support for diamonds fun and for diamonds fun families and our Mission for conquering childhood cancer has not changed will not change, and that kept us kind of laser focused, just continuing to provide the best experience possible that we could for the families and the Fund and student volunteers through some of those tougher months. So made to pull the conversation back up again. What was it like being that that CEO figure? A lot of our scholars go on to lead organizations like though, on like upway and others. What was it like being the kind of that central figure and leading the organization? I hated the attention, to be honest. So I it was. It was definitely like a I say strange in the way that, like, I'm not someone who likes attention. So for me I always just tried to stay humble and give opportunities to those in the committee. I tried to get to know as many of the volunteer year as the captains of committee members as possible because, you of the day, they're the ones dedicating the most hours the organizations, are the ones out there fundraising their biggest owners to the organization. You know, I think what it was like was just an extremely humbling experience and to this day, one of the most rewarding experiences I have and something I try to take with me, is just that you know you can grow and prepare future generations for sort of anything, and getting to work with so many dedicated volunteers, students, faculty staff, getting to know families and really be in touch with the mission was just truly all inspiring and so I can't find a single world to sum it up. I Apologize, but it was it was something. Yeah, I mean, you know, Elaine is alluding to what a thun director or exact director, you know, might feel in a little like it's the closest thing I'll probably ever have to celeb status, right, but at the same time you recognize you were just people. Clearly it hasn't gone to our heads, but I remember sitting in my class Rushrom here, right, and you see somebody in the in the track suit or in the gear or with the jacket, like, oh my Gosh, look I'm in Italian with the overall chair. So I really took it on myself to do it. Elane did, which was. You know, I didn't say no when other student organizations like invited me a sort of a guest of honor, and I wasn't there to to jump on the MIC...

...or whatnot. I was there to just to learn and meet people and see how we could be involved and help. And you really like a steward of not just, you know, your committee of the program you know, really of just the University Student Services Organization, which is it just absolutely massive. So yeah, it was a visible role. I think, both being on the common side, it would be Charlotte Aline myself. Both sent the emails, the news letters. So we were the the the odds, if you will, behind the email. So oftentimes, even if you just met someone, like, wait a second, you're the one that sends me emails. Yeah, I don't read those and I think, great, you don't need to read those that others would say, man, I read that, I read that email. Let me pull it up. What was this that you sent out? So it was always just like it added, you know, a bit of spirit to some of the the conversations that we had. But I really just afforded the opportunities to serve, as you know, maybe a judge on an Indian dance competition for which I had no experience for, but also, you know, wasn't an opportunity just to get to know a lot of people in these leadership roles, which are the relationships and experiences I, you know, remember most. So, Dominic, I'm going to start with you on this question because you're the most recent Grad but everyone can chime in. I know a big thing in thought and how we get through our positions is leaning on the predecessors in the roles within thon. I know I was best friends with my predecessor from last year and it really allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom in the position. So what was that relationship like for you and how did you feel like you were able to grow what they had done before you? Let me first say I think it's just truly remarkable that, though, is its organization of Fifteenzero people that turns over every year. Like very few people are in the same position, and so the only way that works is a lot of thoughtful planning to transition knowledge and relationships and processes from year to year, and it's definitely the situation where, if I can see further, it's because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, If you will, and my relationship with my predecessor's name was Mike Grigginbach, who is donor, along my relations the year before me, was incredible, incredibly supportive, and I'd say the first several months of of that relationship was him teaching me the mechanics of the role, learning how to work through what is expected of me as a director and to just understand how the machine worked. Is the way I was thinking about it. And then afterwards, as I moved into the summer and into the fall, then it became my turn to think about what, what type of impact do I want to have on this organization and where do I want to put my energy and effort and how do I want to kind of leave my brick in this long line of people building what's on is today? And just as an example, I remember in two thousand and fourteen, you know, I think we had this twin problem of or this twin challenge, and really was an opportunity of thinking about the long term viability of canning as a lane alluded to, and then also thinking about kind of filling the BJC to capacity in the year prior and those presented to opportunities for us to rethink how do we fundraise, how do we think about the weekend, and what are the areas that we can test and innovate against those challenges, and so I chose to focus a lot on alumni and alumni chapters and corporations versus just the while still sustaining all the efforts around individual fundraising and organizational fundraising. And I think the really cool thing is that that work then laid the foundation for my successor to actually split donor and all my relations into development and alumni relations, and that story played out again, and so it's really less of I really do see the position, and all student leadership positions, as more stewardship. Right you're stewarding the Organization for a time. You're learning from everyone who came before you and trying to change the trajectory in some way and set up the next person for success, and I think the relationships and the handoff that's on a set up is really remarkable in enabling that. I would just add that I spent many nights it's calling my predecessors and asking for their guidance and advice on how they would handle different situations and I think that that continues to, you know, shine through even in corporate world now. Is like you develop these mentors who may not obviously be your predecessor but may have worked in a similar role, and just really continues to you know, bring home at it's important to have a network and important to have a network of people who you value their perspective opinion to prop them selves. Yeah, I think I didn't really I haven't seen as a robust the knowledge...

...transfer process that went into the transition. Right, you think you're short of done when you're rolling off and then it's like wait, we've got another month passed on where we're, you know, working to provide the tools and resources and experiences and knowledge to our successors. So, as I mentioned, I hadn't been a captain before, so much of what was in my my reading materials was, you know, new, new, the first time I was seeing and I hadn't been at these events before and attended one of these. Maybe I was on another committee as a committee member before. So that's where, in those situations, to a lanes point, you relyed on giving them a call both up the up the chain, down the chain to get some insights, but also, as you know, dam had mentioned coming with a New Vision. Right we're in on. We're innovators and that's why we were selected to be in those roles. It's not rent and repeat, but the transition really provides the foundation to set you up for success. And then, you know, it's about introducing new ideas, finding out what works, what doesn't work, what you would do differently, and capturing those that's the only way thon grows over the years, you know, both both from an organization standpoint and on the fundraising side. That was such a huge part of the experience. So I know that throughout a lot of these questions we've touched on like how it is so simple and easy to be involved in thon, and a lot of that centers around the families, who really reside at the center of our mission at every point, which is what I find be so wonderful and beautiful about bond. So was there ever specific family that had a really long lasting impact on you, or an interaction you had with a family or family story you may have heard over the years? It's certainly hard to sort of pick pick anyone, which I think is why there's there's a pause. Looking at the faces in this call. I think you know, Atlas has first family. The Smith family, you know, really became my family on campuses, a family I could turn to, you know, really for anything I needed, you know, personally, and got to know, you know, my family situation as much as their's, and knowing that, you know the challenges that they were going through in the fight that vic was was working through, where she maybe couldn't couldn't be there, you know, for every event we might have had planned, but if she couldn't, there be a representative from the family there. You really saw how much they put into the experience. You know, like wow, they've got a lot of other priorities on their plate and this is at the very forefront, you know of it. So I still do. They look forward to the text I get on my birthday or seeing some of the facebook posts and updates today, which is which is really neat and cool, and I think that's the other part, just seeing in facebook the pictures of those that were really, you know, young at the time, the physiqueist family, actually physeguists, for one, just seeing updates and, you know, seeing her be an adult. Right at the time it was about hanging out with the dance team and showing off her skills and the talent show and then, you know, today it's about what her career aspirations, you know, might be. So yeah, just just just I think all of those, those are the ones that come comes to a friend of mine, but there's too many to really choose anyone. Yeah, I would echo that, I think. So. I actually danced my senior year for my story, Pipetafy, and at the time we had three families. We were paired with each and sort of a different phase. With Aaron Thomas Family where their son was an active treatment. We had the Cornea Jarrett family were Courtney had actually passed away. We had the crystal Bryant family and crystal was their mother and she was, you know, survivor and she had her own three children that would at ten fence, and so it was really striking to see the variety of experiences and all of these families were able to get support from our sorority. Are Paired for Turney and th on and the four diamonds fun in different ways. I think something that really stuck out to me across our families, but also any family that we came into contact with was the fact that they were also sharing such a moment that was vulnerable and, you know, likely one of their worst experiences. They were able to share that with Penn state students as well. I think something again. I just want update on Emily Whitehead and she was, you know, very small when like ten eleven years ago, when we're involved and plots of my facebook it's like a photo of her towering over Steven Spielberg. And whether it be like physical differences or just these all of the thought children, of course, are growing. You're like what is what is happening? But I think it's just the ability to really understand like how how they're able to go and live their their lives day to day and that Penn state students are able to kind of share in that experience, even in such a small way. Now, how to Echo Charlotte, like couldn't pick I mean all of them and, similar to Greg the Victoria Smith family and the Brobson family were just...

...some of my first interactions with for diamonds fun families, but it's just incredible to what want. It makes me feel old, but just watching these kids grow up and, you know, on facebook and like they're younger siblings who you know were toddlers on stage as family speakers are now like in middle school, high school, and you're like wow, okay, that's wild, but it's just incredible to watch and each of them really just inspirational to still see to this day. Yeah, you guys all set at the best. If I can actually jump in Tessa on this ide know I was not on the executive committee by any stretch. The Natalie Being Coombe family and Jason Swope family from the bird's campus, they were all paired together. I thought of one lesson I remember learning from them is that the experience at the four diamonds families go through can either really bring a family together like nothing else or it can drive them apart, and I think that's where a lot of the social support from the thought groups, from the students and also the services at her sheey, like the music therapy and the family therapists, those services at her she are just so important because of the emotional toll that it can take on these families. So that's just something that always trying to stuck with me. So I hope you don't mind me interjecting here for that question. Not at all and this was just such a fun conversation to have because I'm actually the teen an adult coordinator on family relations. So all these families that you're talking about being younger kids. I was just texting with Ash physiquets earlier about she's in like her vocational program and that's just so ild to hear like these testaments. So that was a really fun like conversation for me. And I kid you not, if I even if I open my college laptop, which exists somewhere, if it would start Ashley Physiqueisti is picture would be by my desktop of the time, that would just go to came for one of these four diamonds, picnics and family picnics and whatnot. That sort of served as my inspiration. Right I'm online, I'm answering emails, but that's what I look to, but that laptop hasn't been opened and in probably six, seven plush years by now. So that's awesome to see. You know that the engagement is is still continuing to this day. If you're enjoying this podcast, then listen up about this great opportunity. Do you know your major but not sure what your career will be, or you still in the fence about your major, even if you know both scholars like you, should come to connect two thousand and twenty two on Saturday March Twenty Six, two thousand and twenty two from one to five pm to meet staller alumni like the ones you hear on the show and learn about their paths to get where they are today. We are excited that this event will be in person this year. Connect two thousand and twenty two is open to students in all majors, from stem to business to liberal arts, and those who don't know their major yet. Students will participate in three panel sessions of their choosing to hear advice from stoller alumni and ask questions. Are you looking for opportunities to connect with the alumni in your field? Connect features sessions between each panel for students to meet with the panelists. To top it off, free professional headshots for Linkedin will be taken before the event starts. Be Sure to visit SHC, DOT PSU DOT eedu. s should connect to learn more and registered today. Our SVPS are due by March eighteen two thousand and twenty two. Now back to our conversation on following the Gong. So kind of resurrecting back to being a scholar and being a though volunteer. was there ever a point in your leadership journey or your trajectory of being a scholar that you considered potentially dropping one or the other of those positions? Because I know we talked about having the thesis and having all the things you need to get done for thon. So was that a thought process for you and, if so, how did it go? Honestly, never crossed my mind, personally speaking. I don't know if anyone else here. It was just kind of like, once you're in it and you're doing it, you just kind of forge ahead and find a path through it. Yeah, I can't say it. I can't say I ever considered dropping them. I think it was a large I was an overall my junior year and it wasn't the only component by deciding whether to apply for the exact position my senior year. It was a factor in it wasn't the only factor anything. Ultimately, I just knew it wasn't the right decision for me at the time, but knowing that I'd be doing a thesis and hopefully applying to jobs my senior year was one of was was indeed one of the factors that went into my decision, but it wasn't necessarily foregoing it was just changing my thought involvement from the committee side to focusing as a thought chair for my story instead. Yeah, I think maybe only in the home stretch of the thesis did did the thought of dropping one or the other ever come come up, and that was after my major son volunteerism. So but, but now I got it over the...

...finish and other than that, just smart learning to to manage and balance through it all. Awesome. So now for some more career oriented things so that scholars can take with them after the Gong. And how has thought affected your career and leadership style today? I think I had to give a talk once at some event at Penn State about leadership and I felt totally woefully under under qualified for it, but I came up with a couple of key aspects I think I took from thon that I still try to carry with me today. One being adaptable, so like you can plan for something but now that it's going to go totally differently. So finding that flexibility to being approachable. I think the number one thing that a leader can do is show the show, you show the people that they're leading or working with that you're approachable and I think just no matter what level or roll someone has in the company or how you work with them, everyone's a human and everyone, you know is walking their own shoes. So just being approachable, asking people how they are and, you know, taking ownership you know something doesn't go right, owning up to it and you know we're all human. We're not robots. We can make mistakes and learn from them and I definitely made my fair share of mistakes and Leading Committee and if I could go back, I would do things differently, maybe and how I provided guidance or direction, but just knowing that you can take every opportunity as a learning moment and move forward. I was just going to say I think elane sounded up beautifully. I think something that I realize I learned in though on was a link. kind of hit on it, but that human experience, acknowledging your employees, your coworkers, your contacts, your team members, that they are and they're humans. They have a life outside of work and how do you treat them like the human they are? Being respectful, being approachable and being considerate, but also bringing yourself to work as well. So, being like my authentic self, I think that's something that than did well. We were all we were all students with each other as well. We were all peers, and so, you know, you brought your sense of humor, you brought your fears, you brought your best and bad side to meetings, and I think that's something that I've tried to do transparently and my professional career as well, because I think it's something that led to a very authentic and it was something that brought a very authentic experience for us all, but I think it's also something allowed us to all grow in a way that maybe we're not all able to outside of an environment like that on so that's something that I try to emulate where I can and my professional setting to yeah, that authenticity, peace and roleness and realness and being in sort of the war room, saying with with your peers is and sharing your vulnerabilities. I've continued that style in my professional career. Will see how it continues to bear out, but at the end of the day, that that's you know, we're people in this room and showing that that sense of, you know, trust and actual true desire to build connection, especially in the virtual setting. I mean, you know, at work I've on boarded onto a new team and new project and it's just as important to sort of understand people's, you know, work and skills, but to just get to know them and carve out time to really build that connection. So I think that mindset, it's on really indexed on, you know, quite quite hard and as something I've looked to carry with me through to today. Yeah, I think. I think for me, when I think of than, I think of the incredible spirit of empowerment that thousands of people feel, that they just have this deeply help belief that they can make a difference against pediatric cancer. Like they really hold that and I think it's informed my leadership style, because I really see leadership now, after the experience and then after the experiences I've had since then, as trying to unlock and unleash other people's potential. And how do you do that? You you craft a vision that is compelling and that they align with and that energizes them and you create a context for them to do their work and show them how their work makes a difference and you invest in them and think about their strengths and their objectives and how do you unblocked for them and how do you set them up for success? And so I think it was fun where I felt that while I'm in this incredible organization where the norm is everyone is feeling like they're connected to this cause and everyone feels empowered to make a change, and if I can replicate that spirit in the teams I'm in, in the organizations I'm in, then I think I'm on the path to being a good leader. Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. It's really awesome to hear from people who are in this professional world and kind of building upon that. What was the best way that you were able to leverage your thought and other leadership experiences in internships, job interviews,...

Grad school interviews? What advice would you give in terms of leveraging it's all of the above, right. I think the experiences that you have right, as I thought leader, sort of gave you a lot of to talk about and come forward with in the interview setting, when you know they want to see results, they want to see action, they want to see you communicate, they want to see your presence, they want to see that you're a good team member. And somebody that they'll want to work work with. And you know, interviewing with an alumni at penn stay and they see down on your resume, it's likely to strike up a conversation about their involvement or, you know, they're maybe niece or nephew who happened to be a dancer. So that's certainly helped. But if it wasn't on I mean the it was. Frankly, my internships were really indexed. The doors themselves open through Shreire and you know, shreire specific postings made available to start my career PNC and in financial services. So Sara shreire opened the doors and then don sealed the deal, I guess, in terms of leadership experiences and being able to talk about the Atlas and Communications Leadership Journey throughout. I think also what thought is wonderful at doing is it helps you grow your network, not just to say like, join it and you'll meet a lot of people, but that that tends to be what authentically happens. You meet other student either other student leaders and other words you've got a better understanding of how other organizations even work, and I think that's something that I've been able to leverage in that. Like I was on the Communications Group, I didn't really know how don't don't earn alumni relations work and didn't know how supply logistics worked. Just that understanding you pick up. You pick up all these little pieces and it makes you more curious and you want to learn more, and I think that's something that has continued into into my professional life and you can start to speak to how how you learn, and I think that's that's a core piece as well. I know, like in my jobs one of the key things I've often been evaluated against is like problem solving and how you collaborate with teams, and I think that like the root of that really started with me at thought, and I think you can speak to that of like this is something that I started doing, you know, ten years ago, and you've been able to build on that. So it kind of like gives you a headstart and where you're even starting. So most people don't have those experiences in a large capacity until post graduation. Also, it's great when you event when you inevitably need a fun fact, it's a great opportunity to still be a found evangelist in your post Grad world where you're like, guess what, I was part of a very large student run work. So that's kind of always my fun fact. I think. I guess the only two things I would add. The one, and Greg alluded to this a little bit, about you just have a lot of ownership and you're given all these projects that you can show, you can demonstrate what you did and what the results were and what the impact was, and that's really how you show up to these interviews and how you put together good applications, and so it just gives you a lot of repetitions around taking something, changing in some way, analyzing it a problem solving and then executing it. Gives you a lot of just great experience with that. And then the other thing that I would say, would you haven't talked about too much here, is the amount of relationship and stakeholder management that you do as a student leader, especially in thon is, is really tremendous. Especially in my role with down an Almani relations managing relationships with companies and with large donors and with the university and the development office. You start to really how to understand people's objectives and ways of working and communication styles and their leadership styles and how to broker agreements and how to just how to kind of talk and operate at a higher level and that that's really helpful in interviews because you just get a lot of practice interfacing with different people in different functions and finding your way through these organizations. So I would say that you know project management and in relationship management comes in spade as a leader and that sets you up really well for for some of these future career opportunities. And I just have to reiterate it's the reps right like if you're an engineer, you're doing problem sets, you're learning things at the back of your hand. Just the amount of communication with different people, with the president of the university or an organization or, for diamonds, family or a donor, being able to flex and communicate at that level, you know, conversation after conversation, and it it really ingrains and you skills that take, you know, time to develop head you not have these experiences as a scholar or within awesome. Thanks for sharing those. I will definitely be keeping them in mind. So I think we have some quick, rapid fire wrap up questions and to kick it off, what is if you can leave us with a final piece of advice. What is it? I would say it just get out of you know, it sounds try if I get out of your comfort zone, but I think something that I really took to heart when I went to school was there's that moment when you first get to campus where everyone's open to new things, everyone's open to meeting...

New People, into getting involved, and really take advantage of that fine things that Pique your interest that maybe you weren't expecting, whether that be a class or an organization. I really don't be afraid to dive in use those resources available to whether it be older shire students or different pure sets, to better understand the campus around you and where you might be able to make a difference and where it can help complement your strengths, your weaknesses and your passion points. I would say might be device is to take risk early in your career. Really to be any of your career, you're just trying to maximize your slope of learning and your slope of growth, and that usually comes in the higher risk opportunities. So be thoughtful about it, but that usually is where a lot of the learning comes from. Yeah, I think you never stop. Never Stop Learning. Is something that I you know it's going to took to be true and take those those risks in a you know, safe space and environment through Penn State. But then, you know, continuing to sort of push the envelope and kind of eight years into my career, I pivoted, went back to school, was a student again. I'm now a student in my new career. So you know, it's never too late to sort of take on those new experiences and in a place where you know, at the end of the day, maybe the stakes aren't as high as a professional setting, focusing on areas you aren't the most maybe experienced or best skilled or best suited to do so. I know oftentimes we want to just keep indexing down on, you know what I'm really good at, but I think my piece of advice would raise your hand and take the presentation task from Your Team members and a group project if it's something you're not comfortable doing, and those experiences at least if it's not something that you'll continue on, you'll have a pretty appreciation of. You understand what what's required from others or for others and and then you can, you know, work to support others and their endeavors to sort of move the team forward. I can't really think of anything else besides what these guys have said, but I think one thing that stuck with me is it's okay not to know. It's okay not to know you want to do. I've pivoted several times in my career ready. Still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. It's okay not to know the answer to an email or communication. Or maybe you're in a tough situation and you know an extra curricular meeting or you're trying to decide something in your you know Undergrad education. It's okay not to know. You'll figure it out. Every decision you make obviously impacts the next step, but like the skills you learn as a scholar and just in being involved at Penn state or so transferable to anything. They will be transferable to whatever your desire is to do. Next common theme that came up was networking relationships and obviously on the back end and the production and I've turned out a lot of questions because we've been talking for a while and you get pen staters talking, especially about dawn, that conversation can go for a long time. So students like Tessa wanted to reach out to any of you with you. Obviously, you can read their BIOS and their specific companies that they work for in the episode description. If you want to take this conversation with any of them further, how can a scholar get a hold of you? I think I'm not supposed to say the DMS are open, because I actually don't think they are, but you can find the I'm Linkedin Greg Tom and happy to connect. The cord away. Yeah, same here. Happy to connect. Don't ever contact meet, and I'm just kidding. I also you can find me on Linkedin or or you know, Shawn, if you can put my email address in there. I'm happy to love connecting with a lumb so or students. You can also you can reach me at my linkedin. So, before we get to the ice cream question, this is a special question related to the thought episode. But for anyone who's listening and doesn't know, the four diamonds are associated with courage, wisdom, honesty and strength. Is there a diamond that you most connect to? That's pretty tough. I think I maybe say honesty. I think if you're able to be honest with yourself with others, you can hopefully work on your wisdom, your strength, your courage. I think it takes courage to be honest, but I think a lot of it is at the root of honesty. I'm going to hit on a point Charlotte mentioned earlier, but for me I think it'd be courage, because I think what Charlotte said is that when you put yourselves in some situation that might feel uncomfortable because it feels beyond your scope, that's when you learn the most, and so having the courage to recognize that throw yourself into the deep end, you'll learn something, you'll come out with, you know, a whole bounds of knowledge. I think you know, in the spirit of authenticity, I'll say honesty. I think. I think honestly is my aspirational one, because I'm always trying to be more candid and and more transparent and kind of go there and conversations. But I think one thing I saw from a lot of the poor diamond families was strength, and this quote six in my mind of we must be our very best in our darkest times, and I think that was just proven to...

...me so many times with the strength that they showed. So when I think of gone, I think of strength. If you're a regular listener on this podcast, you know the very last question that I'm going to ask, but first I want to hear Tessa. Which diamond would you pick? Um, I think I'd probably pick honestly, I try to be pretty candid, as you mentioned, and I consider myself to be a pretty straight up person. Now I'll let all five of you answer this last question here, as is tradition. If you were a flavor of Burkie creamery ice cream, which would you be? And as a scholar, lum or testing your case, occurr and scholar, why would you be that flavor? I can kick this one off. Like was mentioned earlier, when you're in college, kind of the mindsets sleep as you can sleep UN your dad. So probably coffee break. I'm going to go with Monster Mash, the fall seasonal flavor right around Halloween. A little cookies and cream that is sort of somehow orange. I'm sure it's all natural, but the caramel swirl, because i Halloween's just a fun time to be at that Penn State with football, Penn State's either ready to take it to the next level or, you know, the football team setting us into a depression. But at least we can get dressed up and and have fun. So I'm going Monster Mash. Greg you stole mine. I'm super pissed. I thought I had a really niche flavor. I'M gonna I'M gonna have to go with in peanut butter swirl, because I think it was one of the first flavors I had when I visited Penn State and when you get a court of that, there's literally like rivers of peanut butter that run through it and it's quite amazing. I'm not a peanut butter lover, but I don't know, rivers of peanut butter sounds of healing. I would probably go with death by chocolate. Sounds like a pretty good way to go. Multiple types of chocolate in it, little surprise in every bite. You know, I would I would also say we should probably apparently there's a flavor called bjc jams that feels appropriate for this group, but I have not tried it so cannot endorse it. Honestly. I had to look up the flavors again and what caught my eye was monkey business, which is banana, peanut butter and chocolate, three things that I love, and it has that kind of salty sweet combination and it just seems fun, because it's fun to be business, but it's fun to be a goofy monkey sometimes too. I put in our chat here. I'm really surprised nobody picked the thaw on gold ribbon ripple. But apparently too easy to predictable or we're getting we're getting docked for NAT picking scholarship. I guess either. I let you all pick what you feel were most identify with as far as ice cream goes. Tessa, thank you for being my first ever cohost on this show. Charlotte Elane Dominic Gregg, thank you so much. We left a lot uncovered in this conversation. I highly recommend if you've listened to this point, reach out to them on linkedin connect with them. They're great people, especially if you're interested in pursuing thought leadership careers or specifically to the careers that they have that you can read about in the episode description. Thank you all so so much for an extended conversation today. Really appreciate it. Thank you. Appreciate a John. That's a theme. Great's great to meet y'all. Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show probably supports the Shryer Honors College Emergency Fund, Benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at rays dot PSU DOT edu, forward slash shreire. Please be sure to hit the relevance, subscribe, like or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say uptodate on news, events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or a scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the gone, please connect with me at scholar alumni at PSU DOT ETU. Until next time, please stay well and we are.

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