New Kensington campus announces its four THON dancers

January 23, 2013

Move over Kim and Kourtney, Snookie and Jwow, and Honey Boo Boo and Mama June. A new group of “reality” stars is about to debut -- Penn State New Kensington’s THON dancers.

Aric Fellers, Leigh Hastings, Courtney Rockwell and Bill Staniszewski were selected as this year’s campus representatives for the annual Penn State Interfraternity Council/ Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately known as THON. As opposed to Pete Rose’s scripted reality, THON is real reality. A live webcast will be available at

More than 700 Penn State students, from all Penn State campuses, will converge Feb. 15 at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus for a 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping marathon fundraiser. All money raised through the dance marathon directly benefits the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

The four New Kensington terpsichoreans were chosen by an interview committee, and the selections were based on participation in campus THON activities that began in September -- canning hours, meetings attended and fundraising totals. In Greek mythology, Terpsichore was the muse of dancing.

“They were chosen not only because they worked extremely hard, but because it’s been from the heart,” said Kelsie Nury, chairwoman of the campus THON committee. “They each raised more than $1,000.”

Fellers is a junior business administration major from Lower Burrell. Hastings is a junior in the meteorology program and a Delmont resident. Rockwell is a junior kinesiology major from New Kensington. Staniszewski is a sophomore in mechanical engineering technology program and a New Kensington resident.

The interview committee comprised seven members from the campus: Kevin Snider, chancellor; Mike Tagliati, advisory board; Elaine Zarichnak, nurse; Jim Shields, career services coordinator; Jordan Miller, student government president; Vera Spina Greenwald, alumna; and Nicole Thoma, student and 2011 THON dancer.

The number of dancers going to University Park from each campus is based on the amount of money raised by the campus the previous year. In 2012, New Kensington students brought in $50,437, the second best total in campus history.

The four hoofers are preparing for the rigors of long-term dancing by fine-tuning their bodies through exercise and healthy eating habits. Nury offers some additional tips to her charges.

“Start sleeping regularly, and drink lots of water,” said Nury, a sophomore in the hotel, restaurant and institutional management program.

Nury speaks from experience. Last year, she was one of the four campus dancers. Since the Lower Burrell resident knows all aspects of THON activities, she feels confident in setting an ambitious campus goal of $55,000.

The $52,396 total in 2011 remains the campus standard. In the past three years, the New Kensington THON committee has collected more than $122,000 to support pediatric cancer patients, families and researchers. Since 2002, the total is $216,000. 

Donations can be made by visiting

To credit the New Kensington campus, donors should go to "Gift and Dancer Support," click the button "Click to support the THON Organization or Dancer of your choice” and designate New Kensington, which is listed under "General Organizations."

For more about THON events, contact Nury at 724-462-1779 or or Lauren Blum at 724-334-6063 or


  • More than 700 Penn State students, from all campuses, are on the floor for the 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon fundraiser.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 23, 2013