by Caitlin Hanley

Maria Ellis is a senior at Penn State dancing for the Society of Women Engineers. She is from Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. This is Maria’s first time dancing in THON, but she has known it was something she wanted to do since before she came to Penn State. A neighbor from home was a member of one of Penn State’s special interest organizations, and through him Maria was able to meet his THON family, watch him dance, and witness his THON journey firsthand. He convinced her that THON was something she needed to be a part of, and that actually became a large reason as to why Maria came to Penn State. Once she was a student here, she joined an R&R Committee. Later in her THON journey, she acted as the Family Relations Chair and then the Primary Chair for the Society of Women Engineers. At previous THONs, Maria’s favorite aspect has been interacting with kids and families on the floor, especially in water gun fights. With THON 2021, she still values the family involvement and said she loved playing virtual Pictionary with their THON families. When asked what this year’s theme “Rise and Unify” means to her, Maria said, “I think it fits perfectly with the circumstances that have been given to us this year.” She elaborated by saying that even with COVID, we have still come together as a community and made an impact. Maria is being supported by her organization’s THON directors, her roommates, friends, fellow dancers, and DRCMs. Congratulations on coming so far in your THON journey Maria, have an amazing rest of your weekend!