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2016 PPP LandonHershStudent Spotlight

Casey Landon, '16
Major: Dance with a concentration in jazz
Class Year: 2016
High School: Baltimore School for the Arts
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

Cassandra Hershberger, '17
Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management
Public Relations and Advertising
Class Year:
High School:
Westmont Hilltop High School
Johnstown, Pa.
ThrivalFest, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Greater Pittsburgh, Point Park University Annual Scholarship Brunch

Strong Women, Strong Girls

Casey Landon, '16 (pictured right) has always seemed to know her path. Her passion for dance began in childhood and led to her enrollment at Point Park to pursue a degree in dance performance with a concentration in jazz. Cassandra Hershberger, '17 (pictured left), on the other hand, discovered her career aspiration to become an event planner after a job shadowing experience in which she assisted with the planning and execution of several high-level events.

Despite their different dreams and different academic paths at Point Park, both women want to be sure that other girls have the same opportunity to pursue their passions. Cassandra and Casey are volunteers with the Point Park chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls, a Pittsburgh-based group that works to empower girls to imagine a broader future through a curriculum grounded on female role models. Casey and Cassandra volunteer as mentors to girls in low-income communities. They hope to inspire these young girls to greatness and show them how to overcome any obstacle in their way.

Casey's favorite memory came from her first semester in the program when her group was able to help a five-year-old girl who had been afraid to speak for months, finally find her voice. "We were all in tears; it was an amazing feeling to know that you made that difference."

This semester, Cassandra is serving as the social media coordinator of Point Park's chapter. The highlight of her time in the group was when the mentors and young girls worked together to put on a Coco Chanel-style runway show using toilet paper, newspapers and other materials to create the clothing. "The girls were able to express themselves exactly as they wanted to during the show. They all had smiles on their faces and that's what I like to see from the girls every week."

Paying It Forward With Laughter

Through this special volunteer opportunity at Point Park, Casey and Cassandra can share their talents, enthusiasm and energy with the community in their own personal ways. For Casey, it's all about spreading the joy, because she knows that life is just better with laughter in it. "Life is not meant to always be serious. My hope is that I make people happy, I make them laugh and I make them feel comfortable."

Cassandra, on the other hand, is always willing to give to others and listen to what they would have to say. Her work with Strong Women, Strong Girls has allowed her to give back to the community and share her talents in a very personal way.

Passion For The Future

After graduating this spring, Casey plans to continue to pursue her passion for dance as a concert dancer or commercial dancer in film or on Broadway. No matter what happens in her life, however, the support of her friends, brothers, boyfriend and especially her parents have always set her on the right path and encouraged her to do great things in dance.

"There's never been a time where my parents weren't there to back me up, no matter what is going on in life. They always made me feel that I was a priority, which is really special."

Cassandra still has one more year of school before she can pursue her career as an event planner, however she is keeping her options open. She feels that her comprehensive education in the sports, arts and entertainment management program along with her minor in public relations and advertising will allow her to explore a wide variety of opportunities in the future.

"I think it's a different kind of major where you have a lot of opportunities that can take you anywhere you want to go."

More About: dance, public relations and advertising, Strong Women Strong Girls, jazz, Conservatory of Performing Arts, sports, arts and entertainment management