Erin Curtis (’10 kinesiology) has a strong passion for Iowa State University – and for her favorite ISU student activity: Dance Marathon, the 15-hour standing marathon that raises funds and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network held every January on campus. Today Erin works in St. Louis, Mo., for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as the national coordinator of Dance Marathon – a dream job she says she’d never have without her experiences at Iowa State. Young Alumni News recently caught up with Erin to find out a little more about her ISU experience.
How did Iowa State help to lead you to where you are now?
I LOVED every second of my time at Iowa State. I have a hard time going into the ISU Bookstore without spending too much money, wear the same pair of red and gold overalls for ISU athletic events that I got as a freshman in college, and still carry around the Iowa State bucket list I made (and checked off most items from) as a student. Iowa State is the sole reason I am doing what I am doing today, no doubt. As a freshman at ISU, I participated in Dance Marathon and was hooked two seconds after it began. I knew I wanted to be involved with ISUDM. Over the next four years, I was on a committee three times and on the executive board my super-senior year (I graduated one semester late). Although I was involved with a plethora of leadership activities during college, none meant more to me than Dance Marathon. Dance Marathon and ISU gave me an identity and a family of friends that are still extremely near and dear to my heart.
After I graduated, I wasn’t quite sure what path my life was going to take. After a few months in a draining job about which I was not passionate, I found out that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the national organization that benefits from Dance Marathon programs, was hiring for a brand new job as a DM manager. Of course, I applied. A few months later, I was offered the job. Without my experience and deep love for ISU Dance Marathon, I would have never pursued or been offered my current job. I don’t think I can ever give back enough to DM or ISU for that.
Dance Marathon was just that eye-opener that really made me realize how much I have a passion to serve. Even though my career path will probably change, I know I need something that allows me human interaction and a chance to work for the greater good. I want to continue to work with the children and hospitals I have developed such a connection with via Dance Marathon.
How do you “live” Iowa State in your everyday life?
Iowa State’s commercial slogan is “Choose Your Adventure.” I think that is the perfect description of how I “live” ISU every day. Between frequent travel for work, meeting and interacting with individuals from every walk of life, collecting and sending postcards from every travel destination I visit, and continuing to pursue new career paths, I think I am still in the process of continuing the adventure I started at Iowa State. I just really, really, really love this university and forever will.
How has being an alumna of Iowa State helped you to connect with others?
Since I don’t live in Cyclone country, I get REALLY excited when I see someone in ISU apparel and always shout, “GO STATE” to anyone wearing anything Cyclone. Being of an alum of ISU is definitely a source of pride. Our university is one that is very highly respected, and I love telling anyone who asks about my experience there. Also, you’d be surprised how many comments I get when wearing ISU stuff.
What is your favorite Iowa State memory?
How do I pick just one!? Football games, my roommates who turned into sisters, Clone Cones, walks to class on gorgeous fall or spring days, tacos at Es Tas…everything about ISU is my favorite memory. In 2010, I was chosen as the Cardinal Court Homecoming Queen and got to stand on the sidelines for the Homecoming football game. Everything about that Homecoming queen honor was very special to me. The memory that sticks out the most is probably my senior year Dance Marathon. Everything about that day was just unforgettable for me. Having my parents see a DM for the first time, seeing my little brother participate as an ISU freshman, and being on an executive team with people I absolutely cherish are very fond memories from that DM. Nothing may ever feel as great as watching our total reveal be raised…$264,290.14 raised by ISU students for University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and CMN Hospitals…unbelievable. That total has only increased since my last event as a student in 2011.