Meet the Team

We are a small team of alumni and students who are passionate about making a real difference in the lives of children and families struggling with issues related to childhood cancer.

Jacie Buller

Student THON leader at Penn State Mont Alto

Female THON dancer makes diamond symbols with football player mascots
Jacie poses at THON with
Penn State “football players”

I am a Senior at Penn State Mont Alto majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. I have been involved in THON since my Freshmen year, and ever since have held a position on the Executive Board. I have been a Moral Captain, Family Relations Chair, and am currently a Primary Chair. My time in this organization has been a once in a lifetime experience that has led me to meet so many amazing people. 
I THON for more smiles, more laughter, and for a brighter future. Being a chair for two years has given me the opportunity to see the impact THON has on our Four Dimond Families. I am so blessed to have met families such as the Lightner family and the Schneider family during my time at Mont Alto. The last four years have been a true blessing and I cannot wait to take the plunge in December!!

Sarah McElwain

Student THON leader at Penn State Mont Alto

Sarah at THON

I am a junior nursing major at Penn State Mont Alto. I have been involved with THON on campus since my freshman year. Last year I served as an Alternative Fundraising captain, and this year I am a Primary Chair. Cancer has impacted me personally throughout my life, and helping others affected by cancer is something I am very passionate about. Joining THON when I came to college is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Knowing that my efforts have helped lessen the burden of a family fighting a battle against cancer makes all the hard work worth it. I THON in hope for a cure, so that one day we can dance in celebration. I am so excited to participate in this year’s Polar Plunge. Thank you to the organizers of this event for their dedication and to all of those who will be supporting us this year, despite the challenges we have faced!

Jake Schrom

Mont Alto Alum and Penn State Mont Alto Alumni Society President

Jake at 2019 Polar Plunge event

I am from Carlisle, Pennsylvania where I live with my wife.  We are both Penn State graduates, and I graduated in 2011 with a degree in Landscape Contracting and Design. I joined the Polar Plunge in 2018 as a member of the Penn State Alumni Society.  I really enjoy volunteering for the Polar Plunge.  It’s been a great way to give back to the campus and to help the students in their goal to raise money for THON.  We hope to build upon the momentum created with the previous Plunges and continue raising money for the school to support THON.   

Steve Hawbaker

Penn State Alumni Association Franklin County Chapter President

Steve is all about blue and white!

I am a 1975 PSU graduate with a BS in Business Administration and have been retired for several years. Penn State has been an important part of my life since my freshman year at Mont Alto. I met my wife at Penn State and my daughter is also a PSU grad. I have been an active member of the Franklin County Chapter of The Penn State Alumni Association since it was formed in 1977 and am currently its President. Further, I have served multiple terms on the Mont Alto Campus Advisory Board and work with the Campus Development Office. THON was actually started when I was an undergrad, but I really became a supporter while my daughter was actively involved as a student (fifteen years ago). The Polar Plunge has been a fun and successful way to help the Mont Alto students efforts in support of THON and due to COVID 19, this year we made it Personal!

AJ Stambaugh

Mont Alto alum and Polar Plunge Event Chair

AJ and company at 2019 Polar Plunge event

I am from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where I live with my two kids and one-year-old Golden Retriever. I graduated from Penn State in 2004 with a degree in Operations and Information Systems Management. Currently, I work for Capital BlueCross as an information security specialist and have also been in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard since 2002. I’m honored to be a board member of the Penn State Mont Alto Alumni Society and the chairman of the Mont Alto Polar Plunge for the past 3 years. 

Staci Grimes

Mont Alto alum (x2) and Polar Plunge Marketing

Woman stands near window with words stronger than cancer and pink ribbon superimposed over image
Staci Grimes: Stronger than Cancer

My time as a student at Penn State Mont Alto began with an associate degree in forestry, then culminated in a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in English a few years ago. I joined the Polar Plunge team in spring of 2019 as a board member of the Mont Alto Alumni Society. My own personal journey has brought this event near and dear to my heart, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with students and other alumni to have a positive impact on the world. The Mont Alto Polar Plunge has brought together so many good people in so many good ways… I’m hopeful that we’re really just getting started! We Are!

Team Ackerman

Randall `83, Scott `11 & Tyler `12 Ackerman

Penn State runs in
the Ackerman family

This father-son Penn State alumni team shares many of the same hobbies and loves spending long weekends together on the water, in a tree stand, or at a Penn State sporting event. Each of us started our Penn State experience at a Commonwealth Campus and finished our degrees at University Park. Supporting THON was a big part of our Penn State experience and today we love the raucous fun associated with a freezing plunge to support an awesome cause. We are…!

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