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University of Maryland Senior Receives 2017 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 2017 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


Dance Marathon Involvement: During my involvement in Terp Thon at the University of Maryland, I personally fundraised over $10,800 for Children’s National and held the following leadership positions: Executive Director (2016-2017), Family Relations Chair (2015-2016), Family Relations Captain (2014-2015), Family Relations Committee Member (2013-2014)

In 2017, Terp Thon at the University of Maryland became the youngest Miracle Network Dance Marathon program to fundraise $1 million annually, doing so in just their eighth year.

Campus/Community Involvement:

Present Involvement:
University of Maryland Honors College student
Course Instructor (college introductory course) for honors freshmen students
School of Public Health Center for Academic Success and Achievement Peer Advisor
Make-A-Wish Foundation Wish Granter
Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Member

Past Involvement:
Editor in Chief of independent online publication covering campus/global issues affecting minorities -University Honors Peer Mentor
Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity
Nonprofit Management Intern at The Children’s Inn at National Institutes of Health


University Honors Citation
Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Membership
Alpha Phi Omega National John Mack Scholarship
President’s Volunteer Service Award
University Career Center& The President’s Promise Bright Futures Scholarship
Phi Alpha Epsilon School of Public Health Honorary Society
Alpha Phi Omega Steve Martin Book Chapter Scholarship
University of Maryland Adele’s Circle of Women Finalist
Dean’s List

Post-Graduation Plans: Full-time management consulting analyst at Accenture; Will be serving on the Leadership Team for the Terp Thon Alumni Network.

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

This summer, Children’s National Medical Center will name a nurses station after Terp Thon to recognize our strides in fundraising and raising awareness for the hospital. This recognition is an incredible honor for our Dance Marathon program, but it holds special significance to me. The Terp Thon Bear Station will be named in the oncology unit at Children’s National – the very place that changed my family’s lives. Six years ago, my little brother was diagnosed with bone cancer and he spent a long year undergoing treatment at Children’s National. The same Bear Station that he passed every day while relearning how to walk will now be named the Terp Thon Bear Station. Six years ago, that nurses station had little meaning to me. But this summer, I am immensely proud that my little brother will be standing there, right next to me, when we cut the red ribbon to unveil the Terp Thon Bear Station. And from that moment forward, every single patient who walks by will know that there are thousands of students at the University of Maryland fighting with them.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

I participate in Dance Marathon because I’ve been on the other side, and it’s really hard. It’s hard for the patient, for the parents, for the siblings, for the entire community. When I came to my first Dance Marathon, my little brother was still undergoing treatment at Children’s National, our local CMN hospital. As hard as it was for him in the hospital, coming to Dance Marathon was a whole other world. It was a world full of hope, passion, and bounds of electricity. It was a world in which he was a hero – not just for the event, but for the entire year. Watching him on stage, falling in love with Dance Marathon more and more every year, has fueled my drive to spread the magic of Dance Marathon everywhere. No family should ever have to fight alone. With Terp Thon, my family was always surrounded in enormous love and support. I participate in Dance Marathon and will continue to until no family ever has to fight, period.

Hsu with her younger brother Jaiwen.

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

When I walked into my first Dance Marathon meeting freshman year, I had no idea how much it would impact my life. Looking back now, I can say that I’ve learned more from my Dance Marathon experiences than from any class I’ve taken. Participating in Terp Thon has helped me develop a whole range of skills from organization to strategic analysis. For most of my life, I was terrified of public speaking. Now, speaking in front of a few thousand people comes naturally! I feel incredibly lucky that Dance Marathon has equipped me with professional skills that will allow me to continue being a leader after I graduate. Without Dance Marathon, I would not be half the person I am today!

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

Students should get involved with their Dance Marathon program because there are tens of thousands of kids in hospital beds across the country who are waiting for a miracle. With Dance Marathon, you can gain leadership skills, meet lifelong friends and, best of all, make a real difference For The Kids in your local community.

Why should people donate to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals?

I gave a presentation to a university group a few months ago and said, “Raise your hand if you think children’s hospitals are considered charities.” Not a single hand went up. To be honest, I didn’t think children’s hospitals were charities either until CMN Hospitals CEO John Lauck asked the crowd the same question at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference. Learning about how CMN works and how much CMN Hospitals rely on donations have been very eye opening for me. Donations are vital to CMN Hospitals to ensure that their doors can stay open for children to receive world-class treatment and care. Donations fund everything from micro-preemie diapers for our tiniest patients, to paying for a child’s brain surgery when their family’s insurance lapses. Donations are critical because children’s hospitals are counting on you to help them save lives.


Hsu with the 2017 Terp Thon Steering Team celebrating the first year their annual fundraising total surpassed $1 million.

Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 300 colleges and universities 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 $180 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

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