Member Spotlight: Marlene Calderon

Member Spotlight is back with Marlene Calderon, our Special Events Chair! Check out what she has to say about FTK and our upcoming Fashion Show!


What makes FTK different from other organizations?

As a member of FTK, I can see how our efforts immediately impact our FTK families and that motivates and inspires me to be more involved with this organization.

What is your role in FTK?

This year I am the Special Events Chair, so basically I plan and manage our events for the year.

Meet an Overall: Diana Cuervo

The Dance Marathon may have passed, but we’re still recognizing our hard-working Overalls.  This week, we’re recognizing one of our two Vice Overalls, Diana Cuervo!

What made you decide to pursue an overall position in FTK?

After seeing what FTK was about and meeting some families, kids, and hearing their stories, my heart belonged to FTK. I always stay occupied with things that I think will make the world and the community a better place, and this is where I knew I could make a difference. I belonged in FTK! It’s been worth every hour of work that I have put in, and I know that all other overalls would say the same. 

Meet a Dance Marathon Coordinator: Christina Phamvu

This past Saturday was our annual Dance Marathon, and we owe our Dance Marathon Coordinator, Christina Phamvu, our thanks for such an amazing marathon!

Thoughts on the Big Reveal?ChristinaP 

I was totally surprised! I honestly was speechless when I found out how much we made. Also, I loved how everyone did the FTK chant with us and joined us on stage. I think that showed how much the community cared.

Are there any moments that really stand out to you other than the Big Reveal?

All the performances; they were really upbeat and so much fun to watch!

What does 12 hours of standing even mean?

It means to pledge to stand for 12 hours in solidarity for the kids going through treatment. We can’t go through chemo, but we can feel some sort of pain, so we can try and understand what the kids have to go through.

What kind of shoes did you wear for the DM and do you recommend them to future FTKers?

I switched out between my tennis shoes and my memory foam slippers! I recommend either gel insoles or memory foam slippers! They are so comfortable, and after a while, you want your feet to feel better.

Member Spotlight: Chrissa Kozaki

This week we turn our attention to Chrissa Kozaki, a sophomore Finance major pursuing a career as an optometrist!


How did you hear about FTK?

Last year, my roommate told me about an organization on campus that dances for kids with pediatric cancer. Hearing about the cause and FTK’s events inspired me to become a member; FTK was the very first organization I joined at UTSA.

Why do you FTK?

I FTK because it gives me a sense of giving back to those who are in need, whether it be of emotional or financial support. Families fighting such a terrible disease are completely changed by this one thing and their situations are usually drastically altered. I love being able to give the kids and their families moments of pure happiness, among all the trials and tribulations they face.

What is your favorite FTK memory?

My favorite FTK memory would be the tunnel of love at the end of the FTK Fashion Show this year. Seeing all the FTK kids pass through with huge smiles on their faces made all the hard work for the event worth it. It was the perfect way to end the Show.

Meet an Overall: Andy Linares

At the top of the FTK chain of command is our Executive Overall Chairperson, Andy Linares!


What made you decide to pursue an overall position in FTK?

Being a part of something much bigger than myself excites me! I decided to pursue my first leadership position as a sophomore because I was inspired by the strength and bravery displayed by children battling cancer. Now as a senior and as the Executive Overall Chairperson, it has been the highlight of my college experience to be able to lead a group of amazing students to create magical moments for these kids outside the walls of a hospital.

How has your role in FTK affected your personal life?

FTK has been life altering in more ways than one. I’d like to point out that along the way, Google Calendar has become my best friend. Whether a group project in class or planning a Spring Break trip, everything is on a spreadsheet and on my Google Drive somewhere! Being the leader of thirteen committees has taken my organization skills to a whole new level! Aside from all of that, the most important way FTK has affected my personal life is that I have found the courage to face any challenge.

Member Spotlight: Hai Le

Sophomore Mathematics major Hai Le shares his FTK experience with us on this week’s Member Spotlight!


How did you hear about FTK?

I was walking around campus during the Involvement Fair, and somebody tapped me on the shoulder. It was Amanda Perez. She introduced herself as the Communication Overall of an organization which raises money for families in San Antonio with children affected by cancer.  She also explained their signature event called the Dance Marathon, and that’s when I first heard the name, “FTK.”

Why do you FTK?

I don’t know, but there is definitely something inside me that motivates me to do this. Prior to joining FTK, I had never actually done anything to help the community. When I met with FTK for the first time, there was a fire that ignited in my heart and told me to start the journey immediately.

Meet an Overall: Kevin Conway

Here’s to Kevin Conway, one of FTK’s Vice Overalls!


What made you decide to pursue an overall position in FTK?

Last year, I served as the Lead of Communications, so it seemed a natural progression to run for an overall position.

How has your role in FTK affected your personal life?

This job has helped me meet so many new friends and make so many connections that I would not have made otherwise. Talking about my position in FTK also helped me to secure a job offer from the Big 4 accounting firm, EY.

Why do you FTK?

I FTK to assist the children and families. I FTK to make a positive impact in the lives of real people. I FTK because I enjoy a challenge. I FTK to make people happy. I FTK to make myself happy. I FTK because it allows me to make a difference. I FTK to let these families know that they are not alone in their struggle. I FTK because it makes me a better person. I FTK to bring hope.

Meet an Overall: Lisete Maldonado


Today we introduce Lisete Maldonado, our senior Special Events Overall!

What made you decide to pursue an overall position in FTK? 

I have been in love with FTK since day one and I just knew that I would be ready to take on the responsibilities of becoming an overall. I felt like I had great ideas to bring to the table in addition to my passion and commitment. Also, I believe that if you expect your team to work hard, you’re going to need to lead by example. So here I am now, giving my 110%.

How has your role in FTK affected your personal life?

When I joined the organization 2 years ago it helped me mourn my friend, but now it’s just a way of life. FTK helped me grow into the person I am now. It gave me amazing friends and memories that I’ll never forget.

Member Spotlight: Taylor Buchanan

This week we will introduce you to Taylor Buchanana sophomore Kinesiology major and Terry Scholar!

How did you hear about FTK?TaylorB

Kevin Conway, one of the Vice Overalls for FTK, is my big in the Terry Scholars Student Organization. When I asked what kinds of things I can do to be more involved on campus, he immediately suggested FTK! I have never regretted the decision to join!

Why do you FTK?

I FTK because we are not only trying to raise money for families battling pediatric cancer, but also support, awareness, and emotional assistance. I believe we are so different from the many other charity organizations for that reason: our relationship with those families we are supporting. The fact that we are a non-profit organization is also a huge achievement that shows our true dedication for what we do and where our money will go.