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University of Oregon Senior Receives 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award

From the thousands of graduating seniors who have participated in Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the approximately 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, twenty students were selected to receive the 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their individual campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To see all of this year’s recipients, click here

Hometown: Temecula, California

Degree(s): Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Marine Biology; Minor in Chemistry

Dance Marathon Involvement: Over the course of my three years involved with University of Oregon Dance Marathon, I have collectively raised $2877.18 for PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend and served as a Morale Captain (sophomore year), the Events Chair on the Executive Board (junior year) and the President (senior year).

Campus/Community Involvement: I have held various volunteer positions within my community, including volunteering in the cattery at my local humane society and teaching kids about nature at my local arboretum. My two passions are working with animals and working with kids! I also held a job on campus in the student orientation program, communicating with prospective students and their families.

Awards/Recognition: I received the Summit Scholarship, awarded by the University of Oregon, for all four years of my academic career. I was on the Dean’s List for the term of Winter 2017.

Post-Graduation Plans: I will be working smaller roles in the animal care field over the next year or two to determine if I want to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. My long-term career goals are to work in zoo or aquarium where I have the opportunity to educate others about the importance of preserving our planet. I plan to stay involved with UODM by instilling our organization’s first-ever Alumni chapter.

At UO Dance Marathon’s 2019 Dance Marathon event with the Oregon Duck.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

I participate in Dance Marathon because I adored my childhood and wish I could re-live it. I am so thankful I got to spend my days on the playground, at dance class, having sleepovers, surrounded by family. However, the kids we dance for probably wish they never have to re-live their childhood because its filled with hospital beds, doctors’ appointments, and painful procedures. I do Dance Marathon so that these kids spend less nights in a hospital bed and more nights at home in their own bed. I do Dance Marathon so that their doctors receive the best training and are equipped with the necessary medical supplies. I do Dance Marathon so that every kid has a Child Life Specialist who can make those painful procedures less scary. The kids that I’ve met through Dance Marathon never let their condition dull their light. They are some of the strongest, bravest people I’ve met. As a kid, I would freak out at the sight of a needle when getting a shot, I can’t imagine enduring even half of what our miracle kids go through on a daily basis. I do Dance Marathon so that families can worry less knowing the hospital has funds to provide for their kid(s). I do Dance Marathon so that if/when I am a mom myself, my child has access to any necessary medical care.

Child Health Day 2017: We brought the neonatal transport ambulance from our hospital to our campus to show how donations are used at the hospital.

How has Dance Marathon impacted you as a student leader? What specific skills have you developed during your involvement?

Over the course of the three and a half years I was involved with Dance Marathon, I have grown tremendously as both a leader and a valuable team member. My first year with Dance Marathon I was a morale captain. I will admit I was not the best morale captain because I stayed in my comfort zone, only reaching out to close friends and family members. I was too scared to present in front of my classes or other clubs’ meetings. When we didn’t hit our goals that year, I knew there was so much more I could have done for our organization. The next year when I was selected to be an Events Chair on the Executive Board, I made a promise to myself to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone and become a more confident woman. Being an Events Chair pushed me to do just that – I had to make phone calls and write emails and work with various groups across our campus and community, all things I was uncomfortable with at first. The whole organization rides on the big event, and it was this sense of responsibility for creating a successful event that forced me to get out of my shy, reserved tendencies. My time as Events Chair provided me with the skill set to push myself even further, taking on the role of President for my senior year. When I was selected for this position and preparing for our first Executive Board meeting, I remember thinking “what have I gotten myself into?” because I had never led a meeting before, nor have so many people look to me for direction. My year as President taught me how to deal with various situations and gave me valuable experiences that I will carry with me for life. I learned how to approach conflict among team members; I learned how to bring out my assertive voice (something I didn’t think I had); I learned the fine line between being friends with my team but also earning their respect for me as a leader. This position really tested my time management and organization skills – juggling a board of 15 students by myself along with school and other responsibilities. About half way through the year, I learned the significance of setting aside time for myself and taking a moment to de-stress. Perhaps most importantly, I learned the value of communication – how to be an effective communicator, how crucial it is for every single team member to be on the same page, how to ask for help and how to be vulnerable.

At the 2018 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Leadership Conference.

What personal accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of from your involvement in Dance Marathon?

Talking about personal accomplishments is something I have always been uncomfortable with because I am a very humble person. In the case of Dance Marathon, I cannot take full responsibility for our accomplishments because it truly is a group effort. I could not have been successful without my teammates, managers, and supporters. With that being said, I am proud that for the past two years, UODM has had record-breaking numbers in terms of total fundraised and registered participants. I am proud that this is the first time UODM has been on an upward trajectory, consecutively growing in these numbers for the second year in a row. I am proud that I was able to lead a team of amazing students on the path to do so. Over the past two years, our organization has started to create a name for ourselves on campus. When presenting in front of different groups, we ask how many people have heard of Dance Marathon and a majority of the hands in the room go up. There is so much potential to take this recognition and turn UODM into a campus-wide movement. I am proud that I was able to contribute to creating a solid foundation for our organization to continue growing year after year.

WE DID IT!!! We raised a total of $68,732.15. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. We are forever grateful and extremely proud of this accomplishment! FOR THE KIDS ?❤️?

Posted by UO Dance Marathon on Saturday, March 2, 2019

Why should students get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus?

There are so many reasons why someone should become involved with Dance Marathon. Whether someone is seeking personal gain or knows a patient treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, there is reason for everyone. First, Dance Marathon can provide lifelong skills and experience to carry into your career. From donor relations to event planning to communications, the skills learned from simply being a participant can be valuable long past your involvement with Dance Marathon. Second, Dance Marathon is an opportunity to give back to your community. If you grew up in the area of where you attend school, Dance Marathon allows you to invest your time in helping those around you (which provides a very rewarding feeling). If you are attending school far from home, Dance Marathon can connect you to this new area. This was extremely important for me as an out of state student. I was constantly homesick my first year of college and was struggling to find my “place” on campus and in the community. As soon as I joined Dance Marathon, I started to feel that sense of belonging. Lastly, Dance Marathon is a place where everyone is welcome. Political, religious, ethnic beliefs are left at the door. You meet people you never would have crossed paths otherwise. We forget about all the bad in the world for just a few hours. Students from all backgrounds are united together under one cause – For The Kids!

How have you seen your Dance Marathon’s fundraising make an impact at your local CMN Hospital?

Our hospital is in the midst of building a new guest house for patients’ family members, completely funded through philanthropies like Children’s Miracle Network. The current guest house is located miles away and is not ideal for families in the case of an emergency. The new guest house is located right next to the hospital, within walking distance. Our CMN Hospital serves patients from surrounding cities, some of which are a 2.5 hour drive away. The guest house is vital to these out-of-town patients because it allows them to stay close to loved ones in need and spend less time traveling back and forth. The guest house aims to provide an area of comfort and healing for grieving families. One wing in the guest house is solely dedicated to housing families of pediatric and NICU patients. One guest room in this wing will be named after University of Oregon Dance Marathon in recognition of the funds we raised to help make this dream a possibility.

Members of the UODM 2018-2019 Executive Board with a model replica of the Heartfelt Guest House being built.


Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across North America that fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 1991, Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $250 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

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