April 1, 2023


Exec Team

Kianna Thelen

Executive Director

Hey! I'm Kianna Thelen, a senior chemistry major from Brandon, SD. I'm excited to say this is my fourth year with dance marathon!

I started Dakotathon because I really loved their mission as I eventually wanted to work in pediatric oncology and after seeing just how passionated and involved the executive board was, I knew I wanted to be apart of that!

My favorite part about Dakotathon is being able to provide miracle kids a day to feel special and see their smiles!

Benjamin Tegethoff

Entertainment Co-Chair

Hi guys! My name is Ben Tegethoff and I am a junior Medical Biology major from Mitchell, South Dakota. This is my third year participating in Dakotathon. As a freshman, I was a Miracle Maker and as a sophomore, I was a Morale Captain. This year I have the privilege of being the Entertainment Co-Chair on the Exec Team.

I am really excited to see Dakotathon grow this year and get as many people involved on campus as possible. I enjoy participating in Dakotathon because it celebrates the miracle kids and gives them a chance to have fun all day long, while also raising money to support their families and treatments.

I dance for the children who can't and to support the children and families who have been greatly affected and have had to undergo treatment. #FTK

Graham Leonard

Recruitment Co-Chair

Hello everyone! My name is Graham Leonard, and I am a junior medical biology major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This upcoming year will mark my 3rd year of involvement in Dakotathon. During my freshman year I participated as a miracle maker, and last year I was a morale captain with one of Dakotathon’s finest dancers, Ben Tegethoff. This organization is very special to me as it emphasizes the role of being a servant. One of the reasons I dance is to give miracle kids the opportunity to spend more time doing the activities they enjoy and love. My favorite part of our Day Of event is the talent show as it highlights some of the many strengths of our miracle kids. I am super excited to meet all of Dakotathon’s new members this year and I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve on the exec team. Dakotathon truly is one of USD’s most rewarding and fulfilling organizations to become involved with and it has introduced me to so many amazing people. This upcoming year is going to be a blast and I cannot wait to dance with everybody in Vermillion. As always, Happy DM!!! #FTK


Leah Drengenberg


I am a junior at South Dakota with a Medical Biology major. My hometown is Dixon Illinois, which is 100 miles west of Chicago. My freshman year I was introduced to Dakotathon and was a Miracle Maker, and then became a Morale Captain for my sophomore year. This year I am on the executive team as a Sponsorship Co-Chair. I have really enjoyed being a part of Dakotathon and getting to meet new friends and miracle kiddos!! I am super excited for the Dance Marathon day of this year since unfortunately, we were not able to have an in-person one last year! My favorite part of Dakotathon is learning the dance and then getting to teach it to a lot of other people on the day of! Last, but not least, I dance for the miracle kiddos that I babysit and give swim lessons to. Even though my job is to teach them, they have taught me a lot too and shown me how much joy this life has to offer!

Logan Johnson

Sponsorship Tri-Chair

My name is Logan Johnson, I'm a Senior Finance major from Sioux Falls, SD. I've participated in Dakotathon the last two years as a Miracle Maker, I'm extremely excited to again work on the executive team! Dakotathon is an incredible organization that provides a unique opportunity to make a profound impact on people's lives. I'm super excited to get back on campus and get to work on making a real difference in these kids' lives!

My favorite part of Dakotathon is interacting with families throughout the year and on our Day-Of. Providing our miracle children 24 hours of fun and normalcy is truly a humbling experience.

Alex Allison

Miracle Maker Relations

Hi, my name is Alex Allison and I am a senior Communication Sciences and Disorders major from Pierre, SD. I have been involved in Dakotathon since freshman year.

I joined Dakotathon after hearing about it from a lot of girls in my sorority who were very involved and passionate about it. After my first Day Of event, I fell in love with the cause. I chose to join the Executive Board after working my way up from a miracle making to a morale captain. Each year I wanted to get more involved, so joining the Executive Board was the next step for me to get more involved.

I dance for more smiles, more hugs, more giggles, and more love!!

Kylie Christiansen

Recruitment Chair

Hi everyone! My name is Kylie Christiansen and I am a junior Medical Biology major from Jefferson, SD.
This will be my 3rd year participating in Dakotathon. My freshman year I was a Miracle Maker, sophomore year I was a Morale Captain, and this year I am excited to be a Recruitment Chair!
After participating my freshman year, I knew I wanted to have a bigger part in Dakotathon. Seeing all of the kid's smiling faces while getting to be free from their illness for a day is the reason that I love the Day Of so much. Since we were unable to have an in-person Day Of last year, I am even more excited to see all of the kiddos next April! I dance to help the kids and families who are going through something they never should have to. Dakotathon gives them the chance to just be kids for a day and to celebrate how amazing they are!
I am looking forward to meeting all of the future Miracle Makers soon! As always, FTK!

Ellie Richards

Hello, my name is Ellie Richards, a Junior, Elementary Education major from Pierre SD and 3rd year in Dakotathon. In my first year I was a morale captain, second year HS relations, and now Recruitment!

I started dakotathon as a miracle maker and was encouraged to apply for morale captain. I loved being a morale captain so much that I joined the executive board!!

I dance for the kids that can't dance, so soon they can join me in dancing.

Brady Samuelson

Logistics and Technology

Hi everyone! My name is Brady Samuelson and I am a senior chemistry major with a minor in mathematics from Sioux Falls, SD. I have been apart of the Logistics Committee for two years and this will be my second year on the Exec Team. I see Dakotathon as an organization that gives all we can and does everything possible to give kids an unforgettable experience for a full twenty-four hours. My favorite experience would be playing laser tag in the SCSC super late into the night and what I look forward to most this year is meeting all the kids and their families and sharing an incredible Day Of with them.

Autumn Wieczorek


I am a Junior, double majoring in Accounting and Operational Analytics. I grew up in Brookings, SD. My freshman year I was a miracle maker and loved it so much that I decided to apply to be a morale captain my sophomore year. After being even more involved in Morale, I couldn't stop myself for applying for an Exec position! I am now the Finance Director on Exec and I can't wait to see what this year has to offer! I was excited to get involved with Dakotathon when kids near to my heart became miracle children way too young. After witnessing what they and their families went through, I found my passion within this organization. I dance because being a small light in the dark for these families means everything. I am looking forward to the day of this year - in whatever form it may be!

Emily Hensley

Marketing Chair

 Hi, my name is Emily Hensley and I am majoring in History with minors in Political Science and Philosophy. I am a Sophomore from Brandon, SD and this is my 2nd year in Dakotathon.

I actually got my start with Dakotathon in middle school! Both of my older siblings attended USD and were involved with Dakotathon, so I was able to hear about their experiences and fall in love with the organization as they did. When our cousin delivered her own little miracle a few years later, we were able to see all that the CMN could do for our family on a first-hand basis and Dakotathon became even more special for us. I knew I didn't want to wait until college to get more involved, so I started my own dance marathon chapter at my high school during my senior year.

I dance for baby Barrett, who had a tough battle at the beginning of his life, but is the most joyful boy today!

Jecyln Lichty

Co-Morale chair

My name is Jeclyn Lichty and I am from Huron, SD. I am a junior here at USD majoring in Elementary Education. This is my third year in Dakotathon, but my first year on the Executive Board.

I learned about Dakotathon my freshman year at the organization fair. I was interested, so I signed up, and ever since I have been finding ways to stay involved. I joined the Executive Board because my friend, Ellie, who is also on the board, reached out and said there was a position open. I am so glad that I joined because I have become more involved and met new people!

I dance for the kids and to put a smile on their faces. The kids, along with getting to know members of Dakotathon, are one of my favorite parts about the organization.

Rylan Craig

Stewardship Chair

Hi, my name is Rylan Craig and I am currently a junior here at USD. I am majoring in musical arts with a minor in sports marketing and media and I am from Vermillion, SD! This will be my third year in Dakotathon.

I joined the Exec Team because I have a lot of friends that got me to join and realized it was something that I wanted to get more involved in.

My favorite part about Dakoathon is just knowing that all my dancing and hard work is going to a great cause and really making a difference.

Jake Lindenberg

Hi, my name is Jake Lindenberg. I am a senior sports media and marketing major from Rapid City and this is my second year in Dakotathon.

I joined Dakotathon as a morale captain my junior year where I won the illustrious Morale Captain of the Year award. I joined the Executive Board because my friends encouraged me to accept a bigger role within the organization.

I dance for kids and families to have bright futures together.

Alexis Slack

Hi everyone, my name is Alexis Slack, a junior, Biology, and Neuroscience double major, from Ankeny, IA, and my second year in Dakotathon!

I was a miracle maker last year and through my involvement in the Campus Activities Board, had the opportunity to collaborate with Dakotathon during the week of. I was able to see how important this club is in making a difference in miracle children's and families' lives.

I dance for miracle smiles.