Donor and Alumni Relations
Anna Yankanich

Donor & Alumni Relations
Alumni Engagement Director

3rd Year Student
Hometown: York, PA
Major: Supply Chain & Information Systems

Previous THON™ Involvement

THON 2021: OPPerations Committee Member
THON 2022: Donor and Alumni Relations Alumni Engagement Captain

Why did you want to become a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world?

I wanted to serve as a director for THON 2023 so I could give back to an organization that continues to make such an incredible impact in the lives of families affected by childhood cancer. I also want to take strides to help grow the organization and spread awareness on a large scale. Ultimately, I wanted to get more involved to truly pursue my passion: financially and emotionally supporting our Four Diamonds Families. My experience as an Alumni Engagement Captain for THON 2022 gave me the opportunity to witness the passion and dedication of thousands of alumni supporters. Seeing generations of Penn Staters spreading THON's mission worldwide is incredibly inspiring, and I wanted to serve as the Alumni Engagement Director to continue spreading our mission to our amazing alumni network and help them make a lasting impact beyond their four years as student volunteers.

What are your main responsibilities as a Director for THON 2023?

As the Alumni Engagement Director, I serve as the primary liaison between THON and our 25,000+ alumni supporters. I work alongside the Penn State Alumni Association to help engage alumni groups nationwide to spread awareness and fundraise on behalf of THON. I also serve on the board of directors for the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group (DMAIG), a group of passionate Penn State alumni dedicated to continuing the fight past graduation. Finally, I lead a committee of 14 captains who work to develop and expand the variety of alumni initiatives we offer and communicate these opportunities to our alumni.

What is your favorite THON memory?

If I could only pick one, I would say spending the Final Four hours of THON 2022 with my co-captains. I will never be able to fully describe the feeling of hearing from our incredible families, the energy and excitement of the BJC, or witnessing the culmination of the efforts of thousands of volunteers. Experiencing it alongside a group of people that I grew so close to over the year made it that much more meaningful. Those Final Four hours were the most impactful hours of my life and I am so thankful to have experienced them with my co-captains and the entire THON Community. I cannot wait to create this magical feeling again for THON 2023!

As a director, what are you most looking forward to for THON 2023?

This year, I am looking forward to maintaining and furthering the relationships THON has with DMAIG, the Penn State Alumni Association, Alumni Groups, and alumni nationwide. Penn State graduates are so passionate for this community and our mission, and I cannot wait to collaborate with this stakeholder group to continue developing our fundraising and awareness efforts

Favorite Quote?

"It's worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change" - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Are you involved in other organizations that benefit THON?

As a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, I have had the opportunity to connect with the Rodriguez family. The Rodriguez family is AKPsi's paired family, and I absolutely loved getting to spend time with them at events such as Family Carnival and THON Weekend this past year. The Alumni Engagement Committee does not focus on family interaction as much as some other committees, and while we do have the opportunity to meet families at a variety of events throughout the year, my experience in AKPsi has fostered some of the most meaningful connections and has allowed me to see our impact first-hand.

What are you involved in outside of THON?

Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, Sapphire Leadership Academic Program

What are your plans after graduation from Penn State?

After graduation I hope to work for an organization that allows me to use my degree and technical knowledge to positively impact the lives of others.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

If I were an animal, I would want to be a dolphin because they are just so fun and get to travel the world by sea. Fun fact: growing up I swam competitively for many years and the mascot of one of my teams was a dolphin, so I think it's fitting!

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

I am not really a fan of this question, but I would have to say no. I believe a hotdog would be classified as a sub rather than a sandwich. A sandwich, in its basic form, is comprised of a multitude of components placed between two separate slices of bread. A sub, however, holds its contents within a joint piece of bread. The basic anatomy of a hotdog tends to align with that of the typical sub, therefore, I would classify a hotdog as a "sub" rather than a "sandwich."