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Esha Sharma Taking Experience On THON Committees To Floor As THON 2024 Dancer

Esha Shama’s story about choosing Penn State may be common, but her journey to get to the university and her actions since arriving are anything but.  

“I chose Penn State because they had a good engineering program and just a bunch of my friends from back home came here, too,” Sharma said. “So, it was nice to have that kind of community.”

Though it’s a story told by many students at University Park, not many have as much experience as Sharma does with community service and philanthropy.  

“Throughout high school, as part of community service, I also helped run a foundation because my childhood friend passed away to cancer, and we started a foundation in his honor,” Sharma said. “So, his foundation is called Team Arnav, so I was always involved in community service aspects.”

Team Arnav, a mainly student-run foundation, has been operating since its creation five years ago, and Sharma is still involved with many of its fundraising efforts. Still with a mechanical engineering coursework load, Sharma continued involvement with the Team Arnav Foundation amid COVID-19, and the current Penn State senior got involved with THON right away as a freshman.  

“It was exactly what I wanted to be involved in and coming in as a freshman during COVID, it was hard for me to join groups and be able to do stuff. We were all isolated,” Sharma said. “So I joined THON, and I was an operations committee member that first year.” 

Sharma fell in love with THON after her first experience, even if it was virtual. She was inspired by the huge impact that she saw THON have on not only Penn State but the local community and all Four Diamonds families.  

“I just kind of fell in love with the whole idea that the whole committee is banded together by this cause,” Sharma said. “Everybody kind of takes a moment to reflect how many people [are] impacted by childhood cancer and be there as a support system for everyone.”

For the next three years, Sharma knew she had to stay involved with THON. Her sophomore year, she was on the dancer relations committee and, despite going abroad, joined the special events committee as a junior.  

This year, Sharma was determined to play an important role, originally campaigning to be a THON captain before joining forces with close friends Emily Shank to become an independent dancer couple. Sharma was ecstatic to experience THON with Shank.  

“She’s one of my best friends here. I’m so close with her, and I’m so happy that we get to do this together,” Sharma said. “We both have had some ups and downs together, and it’s kind of like a full-circle moment of how we were as freshmen and now we’re dancing together.” 

Once a wide-eyed, first-time THON attendee, Sharma completed the 46 hours of THON, through the eyes of four different roles. As a member of the operations committee, the dancer relations committee, the special events committee, and now as a dancer in honor of Arnav.  

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About the Author

Collin Ward

Collin is a first-year majoring in digital/print journalism. Born in Hartford, he now lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As a die-hard Chelsea FC fan you can normally find him yelling at his TV screen each weekend. To reach him, follow him on Instagram: @cward829, or email him at [email protected].

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