shayne mckernan

OPPerations Director

4th Year Student
Hometown: Fort Washington, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Engineering Leadership Development

Previous THON™ Involvement

THON 2020: OPPerations Committee Member
THON 2021: OPPerations Committee Member
THON 2022: OPPerations Captain (Set Up/Tear Down)

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

I wanted to become a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world because I wanted to give back to the organization that gave me so much throughout my time at Penn State. I found a home in THON and OPP and I wanted to help provide that experience for so many others. Last year as an OPP Captain, I saw the result of hard work and dedication pay off when I watched how the children and families were able to relax, forget about their diagnosis, and have fun for just one weekend in an environment I helped to create. I wanted to continue having experiences like that and know that when I leave Penn State, I have left my mark on the organization that has changed my life. As a director, you have the unique opportunity to shape the future of this organization and the leaders of it and that is something I wanted to be a part of

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

As the OPPerations Director, my primary responsibility is to prioritize and protect the safety of all volunteers, spectators, and Four Diamonds Families, as well as working to make THON a zero-waste organization. I am also responsible for overseeing the setup, logistical planning, maintenance, and tear down of the THON 5K, Family Carnival, and THON Weekend. I act as the primary liaison between the Bryce Jordan Center, as well as Penn State OPP staff and the Executive Committee to collaborate and maintain a trusting relationship. As a Director, I work with my 21 OPP Captains and their 530 Committee Members to plan and participate in all OPP events, mat cleanings, and Committee Member training opportunities.

What is your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory was during Final Four of THON Weekend 2022. My co-Captains and I were standing arm and arm on the floor - it was so moving looking around at Penn State come together as a community for such an amazing cause. I think this meant so much to me because of the year we had prior and knowing that the THON community was able to persevere through COVID-19 and have a magical in person weekend once again in the Bryce Jordan Center. THON was finally HOME!

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

As a Director, I am most looking forward to learning more about the collaboration between the 16 committees and all the work that is required throughout the year to make THON 2023 the best that it can be. I am also looking forward to getting to know as many volunteers and their personal THON stories.

Favorite Quote?

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” -Christopher Reeve

Are you involved in other organizations that benefit THON?


What are you involved in outside of THON?

Outside of THON, I am very involved in the Engineering Leadership Development Minor and the various technical projects that we collaborate on.

What are your plans after graduation from Penn State?

After graduation from Penn State, I hope to work at a Health Care Company as a Process or Quality Engineer in either Philly or DC.

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

If I was an animal, I would definitely be a dolphin. They are very friendly and constantly enjoy being surrounded by other dolphins. They are also very curious which I can relate to. I grew up as a swimmer so I definitely enjoy being in water and the beach is my favorite place!

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

Yes, a hotdog is definitely a sandwich. A sandwich is defined as two or more slices of bread or a split roll with a filling in between. The latter is exactly what a hotdog is!