Steffany Lien

Attendees to UofL’s standout football season may have noticed a new face twirling about.

Steffany Lien joined the UofL Cardinal Marching Band this year as the Cardinal Girl Feature Twirler. Baton in hand, glistening in Cardinal-colored rhinestones, she leads the band’s pre-game and half-time shows. It’s her job to use the sport of twirling’s unique blend of dance and gymnastics to get the audience hyped at home football games, select away games, and of course, bowl games.

That’s a big job, but Lien has the twirling chops. She is one of the world’s most accomplished twirlers.

Lien has won six gold world championship titles with the U.S. Twirling Team, including twiller_4846World Strut Champion, World Solo Champion, World 2-baton Champion and World Rhythmic Champion. She holds 14 gold national titles and was gold medalist for the World Open 3-Baton Championship for seven consecutive years. She is the current Miss Majorette of America.

“It is an honor to have Steffany as the new Feature Twirler for the UofL Cardinal Marching Band,” said Amy Acklin, Associate Director of Bands. “Her world-class skill level, paired with her positive and kind spirit, represents the highest attributes we could have in a student. Steffany has a passion for representing UofL at the highest level and does so with maturity, humility and great excellence.”

Lien, who is from Lincoln, Nebraska, was awarded a full scholarship for four years. The scholarship is funded through the Owsley Brown Frazier endowment, which has secured a number of top-notch twirlers in recent years, ensuring that UofL’s preeminent twirling legacy continues. That legacy reaches as far back as 1952, when Hilda Gay Mayberry was named National Champion Majorette.   

“At UofL we’ve established a reputation for having a world-class feature twirler with our Cardinal Marching Band through the generosity and support of the late Owsley Brown Frazier,” said Frederick Speck, director of Bands and chair of the School of Music’s Department of Performance Studies. “In the history of our band, there have been other times as well when the band has boasted twirlers of great talent. Steffany certainly exemplifies all of the same characteristics of talent, poise, spirit and maturity as many of her predecessors.”

Lien started twirling when she was four. She attended a camp where several types of dance and gymnastics were taught. Her mom encouraged her to try them all and pick which one she’d like to focus on.

“Right from the start, I knew it was twirling,” Lien said. “I’ve never regretted that decision. I love twirling.”

She started competing when she was 6 years old. She practiced daily at the University of Nebraska Student Recreation Center, and about twice a month made a 3-hour drive to Topeka, Kansas, to practice and learn choreographer from her lead coach.

She can twirl multiple batons – up to four at once – and also does routines with ribbon.

This past year, in addition to her twirling regime, she made about 100 appearances at community events through her role as Miss Nebraska Outstanding Teen.

“I love being involved and out and about in the community,” she said.

Lien, who is a pre-med psychology major, said she was introduced to UofL through a Twirler Day event and UofL’s former Feature Twirler, Melissa Cox, convinced her it was the place for her.

“I fell in love with Louisville,” she said. “It feels like home.”


Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.