Character studies: THON 2012 / Sunday

Story posted February 19, 2012 in News, THON 2012 by College of Communications

About a third of the students at University Park participate directly in the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon each year. But the mammoth charity event affects the life of almost everyone on campus. These profiles show some of those experiences as the event headed into the home stretch Sunday. View Friday and Saturday profiles here.

It's official: Another record amount

Inglima total fullsizeThe dancers sat down at 4 p.m. Fifteen minutes later they learned the amount raised for THON in 2012 -- $10,686,924.83. These photos were made with cell phones and transmitted within seconds of the events they depict. Crowd photo by Tina Grasha. THON total picture by Shawn Inglima.

Listen in below as THON overall Elaine Tanella announces the final total of money raised in 2012.


End of thon photo

Moments of THON

With links to all our THON 2012 photo galleries

More than 30 photojournalism students in the College of Communications, working in shifts, documented the entire 46 hours of THON 2012. From many thousands of images this slideshow serves as a preview for the five photo galleries of the best student work over three days.

Line dance from an insider's point of view

Photojournalist Andy Colwell, who graduated from Penn State in December, enjoys using a miniature portable video camera called a GoPro to see the world from a different point of view. Last fall he used a GoPro to produce a video of kayakers paddling over the 18-foot Ohiopyle Falls. This afternoon he strapped the GoPro to 6-foot-5 Morale Captain Cory Ingram during the last line dance of THON 2012. See the results below:


-- video for ComMedia by Andy Colwell

Post-THON update

After returning to Lambda Chi Alpha, Andre Freeman recaps his THON experience.

-- video by Andre Freeman

Not all the jobs are glamorous at THON

Katherine Russum, senior at Penn State experiences a side of THON many people do not get to see -- and probably aren't looking for.

-- by Bianca Hooper

Playing with the kids

Dylan Reap doesn't mind a squirt in the face when it comes from one of the children of THON. During the weekend, the kids play what seems to be their favorite game — squirting college students with water guns while knowing it will make them mad.

-- by Jennifer Picht

Bringing THON to life

ComRadio has been covering THON for the past five years and it continued the tradition for a sixth time this year.  Senior station director Thomas Frank Carr is broadcasting the last four hours of coverage, and he talks about his preparation and past experience.

-- by David Doggett

Student EMT helps keep dancers running

Charles Richard is an Electrical Engineering. He is a volunteer EMT who helped provide medical attention during THON weekend.

-- by Tunde Oduwaiye

Monitoring the press for THON

It's the job of Public Relations (PR) captains like Vickie Maseda to deal with local, state and national media requests for THON coverage. This entails finding out beforehand which media outlets are attending, compiling  a database of all media personnel who need floor access, checking them in and out and setting up interviews among other things.

PR committee members, like Alexis Deacon, escort student media members, including reporters, photographers and videographers, on the floor during THON. It's their job to secure proper captain approvals for dancer and family interviews and to ensure that press rules and procedures are followed. Sometimes, committee members are on the floor for the maximum amount of time allowed to student press -- two full hours.

-- by Matthew D'Ippolito

Broadcasting THON to the world

Jess Korpacz is a member of the team responsible for producing the live THON webcast.  Although she isn't standing for 46 hours, Korpacz, and the webcast team, give everyone a different look at THON. They may get looked over, but this group is in charge of broadcasting THON to every corner of the world.

-- by Matt Andersen

A memorable speech by Jay Paterno


Stepping out of the shadow of his famous father, Jay Paterno addressed THON on behalf of the Paterno family. The complete audio file is embedded below.

What does THON mean?

Everyone knows THON is a student-run organization that raises money to support children with pediatric cancer. But what does THON really mean to people? 

-- by Chris Gammon


Reporting from the dance floor: Haley Blum / Sunday morning

Haley Blum says she's starting to feel the physical affects of being on her feet for two nights. She is one of two students who is sharing her experience of being a dancer at THON in a series of video reports. She is dancing for the Penn State Figure Skating Club.

-- video by Haley Blum

More THON characters

About the Contributors

Andy Colwell's photo

Andy Colwell

Graduated Dec. 2011 / Visual Journalism and Integrative Arts/Photography

Andy Colwell is a resident and native of State College/University Park/Happy Valley, at the heart of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Penn State in Dec. 2011 with degrees in visual journalism and integrative arts photography.

Andy freelances for the Associated Press and works as a wedding, portrait and event photographer in the Centre County area. His photos have appeared in dozens of publications around the world.

In addition to photographic pursuits, Andy is an Eagle Scout and played trombone in the Penn State University Marching Blue Band.

Haley Blum's photo

Haley Blum

2012 Graduate / Print Journalism

I’m a senior print journalism major graduating in May 2012, and I’m also the editor-in-chief of Valley, Penn State’s student-run life and style magazine. I’ve interned at USA TODAY in its News, Life and College departments for the past two summers, and I’m looking to pursue a career reporting on music or higher education.

Bianca Hooper's photo

Bianca Hooper

2012 Graduate / Public Relations

Bianca Hooper is a Public Relations major, and English minor at Penn State. During her college career she has had several internships. Hooper has interned at W.Q.E.D multimedia in the productions department, the Tribune Review as a editorial/news, the Educational Opportunity Centers as a programming intern, and with P.H.E.A.A as a customer service intern. Hooper is also highly involved in student clubs on campus. Currently she serves as the Chaplain for the United Soul Ensemble choir, step & dance team, and as an Account Associate for Happy Valley Communications, a student run Public Relations Firm. In the past Hooper served as the associate editor and Public Relations Coordinator for Absence Magazine, where she launched the 1st St. Valentine promotional contest to increase literary submissions. She has also served as the President of Residence Hall council where she launched the first Alcohol awareness campaign at Penn State Greater Allegheny. Hooper is also a recipient of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award, a prestigious award given to students who demonstrate good character, scholarship, leadership, and citizenship.

Matthew D'Ippolito's photo

Matthew D'Ippolito

2012 Graduate / Print Journalism

Matthew D’Ippolito is a senior majoring in print journalism with minors in political science and music technology. Matt wrote for The Daily Collegian for two years and now writes for Onward State and WPSU’s Blue Robot music blog. He has had a passion for music since he picked up a saxophone for the first time in fourth grade. He hopes to write for Rolling Stone one day.

Matt Andersen's photo

Matt Andersen

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

I am a Broadcast Journalism major and a Law minor.  This semester I will be working on the In The Game television show, which broadcasts to 29 counties throughout Pennsylvania and New York.  In January 2011, I started with some of my friends, and am currently in charge of Social Media, Marketing and Advertising.  I play for the Penn State Club Lacrosse Team, enjoy everything outside, and have an extreme passion for music.

Jennifer Picht's photo

Jennifer Picht

Junior / Print Journalism

As an aspiring journalist, I strive to gain experience in the field of communications. At Penn State I write for Valley Magazine. I’ve interned with, and Ladies’ Home Journal.

Christopher Gammon's photo

Christopher Gammon

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Chris Gammon is a senior from Duryea, Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Kinesiology. He is a part of ComRadio, Penn State’s student-run web-based radio station, as a play-by-play announcer and is also a part of Penn State’s Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). His ultimate goal is to be a sports analyst for ESPN Radio or to have his own radio show. If that isn’t possible, he would like to work for a radio station doing something sports related.

Dave Doggett's photo

Dave Doggett

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Sports and music are his two biggest passions and he plans to make a career out of these through the medium of broadcasting.  He began his broadcasting career in his freshman year at Penn State when he joined ComRadio, the university’s student-run radio station.  Over his four year tenure at the station he provided play-by-play and color commentary performances for dozens of broadcasts for both Penn State and State College Area High School athletic events.  Though he covered myriad sports, some of his biggest events included Penn State football, basketball and baseball games.  Clips from these games can be found in his portfolio.  David was also a sports producer at ComRadio and was in charge of overseeing broadcasts for Penn State’s baseball and women’s basketball games for the station.
Comradio also produces weekly sports talk shows and music based shows.  David hosts one of each.  His sports show covered the four major professional sports in a conversational format with a co-host.  The music show he hosted was created to help give recognition to unsigned and relatively unknown hip hop artists from the Philadelphia area.  He would typically give a background of the artist, play one of their songs, and then analyze it.  Clips from both of these shows are also available in his Portfolio.
His love for sports and music also led him to several internships.  In sports he worked with and the Big Ten Network calling Penn State Men’s soccer games. He also worked with C-Net television in State College calling high school football and basketball games for the local cable network.  His music interests landed him an internship with Wired 96.5 in Philadelphia.  He has worked there as both a production and public relations intern.  His heart is in radio and would love nothing more than to pursue a career in it. 

Tyler Sizemore's photo

Tyler Sizemore

Graduate / Art (Photography) B.A. and Visual Journalism

Tyler Sizemore is a senior at Penn State majoring in Art Photography and Visual Journalism. Tyler has gained valuable experience in photojournalism through his job as a senior photographer for The Daily Collegian. His favorite things to photograph are sports and music. He enjoys the journalistic aspect of photography and aims to tell a story in every photo. His experience with The Daily Collegian has put him on the sidelines to photograph Penn State football games; on the airport runway to photograph the President of the United States; on the dance floor to photograph THON, the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world; and numerous other places that have given him invaluable experience in the photojournalism industry. Tyler is also employed by Penn State University Health Services to photograph their facility and patients. He also works for Penn State Sports Properties, photographing advertising and vendors at Penn State football games. During the summer, Tyler keeps busy by freelancing for the Evening Sun, his local newspaper in Hanover, Pa. and photographing weddings. He hopes that the experiences he has gained during his time at Penn State will open the door for a career in photojournalism.

Shawn Inglima's photo

Shawn Inglima

Graduate / Visual Journalism

Senior in Visual Journalism at Penn State University. Topic Editor/photographer at Onward, photographer at the Center of the Performing Arts, and entertainment photographer for the Student Programming Association (SPA) and The Lion fm.

Tunde Oduwaiye's photo

Tunde Oduwaiye

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Tunde Oduwaiye is an aspiring television reporter currently attending Penn State University. Studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in African and African-American Studies, Tunde is anticipated to graduate August 2012.