THON Harvest Day resized

Katie Solomon

Executive Director

Year: Senior
Hometown: Harleysville, PA
Major: Criminology and Sociology

Previous THON Involvement

THON 2017: Dancer Relations Committee Member
THON 2018: Development Captain
THON 2019: Director of Development
THON 2020: Director of Development
THON 2021: Executive Director

Why did you want to be the Executive Director?

When the last few total cards went up at the end of THON Weekend 2020 -- as photo evidence will long tell -- there was nothing but tears and a sense of weakness that overcame me: we were done. A full year’s worth of hard work had culminated in a flawless weekend of celebration for all involved, yet I quickly felt the sense that nothing really was finished after all. While THON Weekend may be a monumental event that concludes each THON year, childhood cancer keeps going. I applied to be the Executive Director to do everything I could to continue to push our efforts until the day that we dance in celebration of a cure. Serving in this role is an absolute honor and I feel so lucky to work alongside the most incredible community -- childhood is a beautiful thing and we are fighting for it.

What responsibilities do you have as the Executive Director for THON 2021?

My primary responsibility is to oversee the 16 members of the THON Executive Committee and be a resource to the entire THON Community. I help to facilitate all THON meetings and events while working on growth-driven projects and communicating with donors. I act as the primary liaison to Penn State Administration, Student Affairs, University Development, and our sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds. I am also privileged to be on the Four Diamonds Advisory Board.

What is your favorite THON memory?

When I was a sophomore, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Penn State Children’s Hospital for the first time. This is where the families that THON supports are treated and the research we fund is conducted.

My Co-Captain Emily and I received a tour of the hospital and saw a patient ring the bell to signify the end of treatment, a hopeful milestone in any cancer journey. We then spent the afternoon in the outpatient clinic with a family whose daughter at the time was still in active treatment. While she was waiting to go for a procedure, I remember vividly pretending to be getting a checkup as she was our “doctor for the day”. In that time, she was in control of a situation that could otherwise be considered choiceless. That day really put into perspective the different moments of both success and challenge for families fighting childhood cancer.

It has been three years since I first went to the hospital and in that time, I have seen the same girl from the outpatient clinic finish treatment, ring the bell, and sing her heart out on the THON Weekend stage. The experience at the hospital and every opportunity in between where I have gotten to know our families highlight some of my favorite THON memories.

Favorite Quote

“The  future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

What are you involved in outside of THON?

While THON and academics are my primary focus, I am a former volunteer for Camp Kesem Central Pennsylvania, Penn State Homecoming, and the 2019 Class Gift Campaign. I also used to intern for Penn State’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

What are your plans for after you graduate from Penn State?

I am applying to law school while exploring potential career opportunities.