Marissa Castner

Marissa Castner
Rider Profile
HometownSt. Charles, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorChemical and Biomolecular Engineering
View Rider Blog (5)

Hello! My name is Marissa Castner and I am currently a junior majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago surrounded by more corn than Champaign-Urbana. Since there wasn’t a whole lot else to do I played outside a lot and became very engaged in extracurriculars like band, volleyball, and track as I grew up. My athletic endeavors fell to the side though as my interest in music grew. Music stuck with me the most as I transitioned into college and I’m now a member of the Marching Illini, Orange & Blue Bands, Basketball Band, clarinet studio, and have participated in several concert ensembles on campus. When I’m not in band I’m either running around (literally) training for my first marathon, or trying to remember to tell my advisor to add a concentration in biomolecular engineering to my transcript. My wonderful parents occasionally remind me that I’m not majoring in being a band geek, but they still show up to every concert/halftime show/basketball game I ever play, and for this I am endlessly thankful.

Personal Statement

The thing about cancer is that it doesn’t just hurt your body. It hurts your family, your friends, and makes you question how horrible things can happen to such wonderful people. Cancer is constantly surrounded by a cloud of fear, sadness, and insecurity, and when someone gets diagnosed this cloud seems to engulf everyone who cares about them. I felt the effects of this gloom when my grandma was diagnosed with lymphoma six years ago. Luckily, her cancer is slow growing and she’s been able to remain healthy without treatment. Despite this, my entire family still holds its breath each time she sets foot in a doctor’s office. My family is fortunate, but others are not. As a member of the Illini 4000 I am riding for those families as well as my own (both blood relatives and the best friends I’ve made that have become like family). I want to help clear the air around cancer and be a part of the fight that will one day transform it and the surrounding stigma into a thing of the past.