Mary Papandreas

Entertainment Director

Year: Senior
Hometown: Strongsville, OH
Major: Industrial Engineering
Minor: Biomedical Engineering

Previous THON Involvement

THON 2016: Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2017: Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2018: Entertainment Captain - Floor Entertainment

Why did you want to be a Director?

Whenever I meet someone, the first thing I notice about them is their smile. It is a universal way of showing the world that you are happy, and I have come to find value in my own life whenever I am able to give someone that happiness. One of the most magical things that THON is able to do is put on a 46-hour dance marathon, where the only thing kids fighting childhood cancer need to worry about is their cheeks hurting from smiling too much. I wanted to be a director so that I could help give the world more smiles like that.

One of my favorite quotes is by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” When I look back at my life at Penn State, I want to be able to say I gave everything I had to a cause that matters. I joined THON to help others, but in reality THON has helped me more than I can ever hope to match. It has allowed me to be a part of something so much bigger than myself and kept me grounded when life got tough. Through THON I have met some of the most inspiring people and families in my college career, and now I owe it to them to pay it forward in the same way that they did for me. I wanted to become a director to dedicate my senior year to empowering the next generation of THON Volunteers and creating impactful moments that would put smiles on the faces of everyone in the THON community.

What are your main duties as the Entertainment Director for THON 2019?

My main responsibility as the Entertainment Director is leading the Entertainment Committee to embrace their roles and take them to new heights. The Entertainment Committee has a unique opportunity to impact over 50 pre-THON events and THON Weekend through live performances and audio/visual entertainment. We work to provide the highest level of production value to motivate thousands of THON volunteers and supporters throughout the year. Entertainment Captains and Committee Members perform a variety of tasks including DJing events, creating the THON Weekend timeline, contracting bands and various entertainment acts, executing large scale crowd engagements, setting up and tearing down the stage, moving lighting and sound equipment, controlling in house cameras and visual displays, planning Pep Rally, and generally bringing the hype to the stage, floor, and crowd THON Weekend. My role is to ensure we are all working together to combine these entertainment aspects and foster new ideas, creating a more effective and exciting entertainment experience For the Kids!

What is your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory happened last year during the Final Four: I was working a stage shift and got to press play on the Celebration of Life video. Once the video began playing, I stood arm in arm with my Entertainment Co-Captains at the back of the stage watching the entire BJC sway to the music and be impacted by the video. Seeing thousands of THON volunteers, supporters, and families all moving in sync and bonding over this amazing cause moved me to tears. It is in those moments, after a year-long effort of financial and emotional support followed by 40+ hours of no sitting and no sleeping, that you realize how powerful THON is and how closely connected the THON community has become.

Are you involved in any orgs?

I am involved in the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. I joined during the spring semester of my freshman year and have since been the Philanthropic Chair, New Member Educator, and Recruitment Chair. I also have supported Alpha Kappa Psi's THON efforts - we are paired with the Tyler Bryant and Matthew Rodriguez families!

Anything else to share?

This summer I traveled to 12+ cities and never spent more than 4 days at a time in the same place!

Favorite Quote

Be relentless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.