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University of Oklahoma 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: Flower Mound, Texas

Degree(s): Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship

Dance Marathon Involvement: Over the course of my four years involved with Soonerthon at the University of Oklahoma, I have collectively raised $5,277 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and served as a Recruitment Committee Member (2016), Director of Recruitment Committee (2017), Innovation Committee Lead and CAC Soonerthon Exec Member (2018), and Vice Chair of Data Analytics (2019).

Campus/Community Involvement:

Involvement/Leadership on Campus:
University of Oklahoma Career Services Student Assistant
Price College of Business Dean’s Student Assistant
JCPenney Leadership Associate (Business Leadership Program in Business College)
BIG Event Operations Staff Lead
Price Case Competition Team – Travels Nationally
Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth Technology Commercialization Team Member
TEDxOU Marketing Team – Videographer

Involvement in the Community:
Volunteer Call Center Specialist, Heartline Oklahoma City
Volunteer with Senior Assistance, Rosewood Care
Big Brother Big Sister OKC
Price College Day of Service

Awards/Recognition: Love Family Endowed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurship Division Award; Distinguished Academic Scholar Scholarship; ConocoPhillips Finance Scholarship; Dean’s Honor Roll; President’s Honor Roll; Eagle Scout Award

Post-Graduation Plans: Following graduation, I will be working with Deloitte Consulting in Dallas, TX as a Business Technology Analyst.

Jack at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine.

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

One my favorite little kiddos is named Jeremiah. In addition to being a miracle child himself, he is also the sibling of one. When Jeremiah was born, his blood sugar was extremely low and he immediately began having trouble breathing on his own. They started asking Jeremiah’s parents for Mattie’s medical history, worrying that he may have been born with a same diaphragmatic hernia that his sister had been born with, but that his had gone undetected. Without hesitation, Jeremiah was flown to OU Children’s, is the only hospital in the state that has ecmo for babies. This was made possible with the help of Soonerthon, whose funds help provide the necessary resources and personnel so that kids can receive the care they need right here in Oklahoma. Jeremiah is now perfectly healthy and has no ongoing medical needs. More importantly though, together, we recently celebrated a birthday of mine at Chuck-E-Cheese’s, where he did in fact beat me at skee-ball. Without OU’s Dance Marathon, I might not have gotten the opportunity to lose what I consider to be the greatest skee-ball showdown in recent times.

Jack with Miracle Kid Jeremiah.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

Due to experiences of individuals close to me, I am quite passionate about helping others. More specifically, I aim to make others feel that they are not alone in their struggles, whatever they may be. This is why for some time I volunteered nearly 7 hours a week as a call specialist on the suicide hotline at Heartline of Oklahoma City, and this is why when I am came to college and met some of the families, kids, and siblings my Dance Marathon supports, I knew that I could broaden my efforts. Although I am not tied to a children’s hospital by a direct nature, my motivations have developed an equitable passion nonetheless.

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

Dance Marathon has truly been a transformative experience. Among refining soft skills such as working and communicating with diverse teams, as well as learning to adapt to complex, challenging situations, I have also progressed hard skills due to the nature of my positions. Serving as the Vice Chair of Data Analysis, I dramatically improved my proficiency in Microsoft Excel. I entered the role with what I considered to be a solid foundation and an above average understanding, but I now am exiting the position with abilities that have directly impacted my career and associated plans after graduation. Had it not been for the demands of Dance Marathon, the skills with Excel I now possess would not be as developed as they are at this point in my life, and, potentially, I may not be heading into consulting.

Jack and the 2019 Vice Chair team at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference.

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

During my time with OU’s Dance Marathon, Soonerthon, I have had the opportunity to launch two different committees, execute multiple campaigns that broke national records, and contribute on a list of other projects that have generated realizable benefits, but none are as notable as what I refer to as the Appreciation Project.

As anyone that has been heavily involved with a Dance Marathon knows, it is exhausting and burn out is real. Serving in an executive role for my second time this past year, I stepped into the role with full of understanding of this fact and wanted to make it my mission not to just better manage myself, but also help the rookie executive members best manage themselves. Over the course of two months, I contacted family, friends, partners and roommates of the executive team, asking them to write a letter showing their love, appreciation, and support for the individual. To my delight, the contributors loved the idea and spread the word. After collecting the letters, two weeks before our main event I gave the packages of letters to each team member, hoping the gesture would provide some energy through the final stretch; it worked. I sent the following message to each contributor, recapping the Appreciation Project:

This project has been a tremendous success, all thanks to each of you. Weeks ago I asked for a simple favor of a few letters from about 20 individuals. Since then, I have received nearly 90 letters from individuals all over the nation, a far greater reach than I could have ever imagined. But as I further ponder over this feat, I should not be surprised. After all, this project stemmed from an intent to show appreciation to those who work tirelessly, constantly putting others before themselves. Although I do not know many of you, I suspect it can be attributed to you all: some of the most important people in their respective lives. 

So, thank you. Thank you for contributing a letter, but more importantly, thank you for contributing to their life, their character, and, as a result, to Soonerthon.”

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

There are millions of reasons why an individual should be a part of Dance Marathon, but it only takes one to explain: For The Kids. So that they can see another tomorrow. So that their families can sleep a little more comfortably at night. So that they each have the opportunity to do something extraordinary. So that they can one day give back, just as we have given to them. The list extrapolates on and on, but it all boils down to the same primary reason, for the kids. We are made to help others; let us not neglect that fact.

Jack and the Soonerthon 2019 Data Analysis Committee.

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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