Dakota Karson

Rider Profile
HometownNorthbrook, Illinois
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorBroadcast Journalism
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Hi everybody! My name is Dakota Karson and I am so excited to be apart of this year’s Illini 4000 team! I am a junior here at the University of Illinois, where I study Broadcast Journalism. I am also specializing in Recreation, Sports and Tourism as well as receiving a certificate in Public Relations. My hometown is only about a two and a half hour drive up north to the suburb of Northbrook, Illinois, where my family resides. Being the youngest of four older sisters, staying in state was a big deal for me, that way I could make the drive to see my family. On campus, I am involved in several different activities. As a die hard Illini fan, I help lead Block I, which is our football student section. While my weekends may be filled with cheering on my favorite Illini and getting decked out in orange and blue, my weeks are filled with working for Daily Illini and Illini Hillel. I am an On-Air Sports reporter for our school’s newspaper and at Illini Hillel, I am on the executive board as Vice President of Engagement. I am also a member of our greek community, as an active sister in Alpha Epsilon Phi, Mu Chapter. If I am not doing any of the activities above, you can find me on Green Street looking for my next meal (normally Chipotle) or hanging out with my friends on the quad. I am an avid Netflix watcher and enjoy working out at the Arc while keeping up with my usual shows like Parks and Rec or House of Cards. If there were 25 hours of the day, I would probably spend that extra time playing my guitar, singing and absorbing what life has to offer me.

Personal Statement

There is no doubt, cancer is a horrible disease. Sometimes it is so hard for me to understand just how many people, families and loved ones have been affected by it. Two of my great grandfathers passed away from throat and skin cancer, as well as my grandfather who passed away from lung cancer. Then about 8 years ago my sister was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer and is now cancer free. My family, among with many other families in this world have been apart of the battle with this disease. This is apart of the reason that I feel compelled to participate in Illini 4000. In my young age, I don’t take for granted the abilities I have to complete such a task as biking across the country. I want to bike for all those who have been affected by cancer and don’t have the opportunity to join me in this journey. If all it takes is for a group of students to bike this distance to help raise money for researchers to get one step closer to finding a cure, then I am willing to go that distance. Having a part in the Portraits Project is also what is driving me to complete this journey. I think it is so important to tell the stories of those individuals who are battling or who have survived. As a journalist, a family member, and as a human, I want to hear these stories and help tell them. With the hopes that one day, we can cure cancer and change the world.