Athlete Testimonials

Learn firsthand how Team USA athletes have grown and developed through our country’s college sports system.

Jessica Heims Northern Iowa // Para track & field

Why did you choose your college,  and what did you like most about being a student-athlete there?

"I chose the University of Northern Iowa because it felt like a place where I could make a difference. My first meeting with my prospective coaches made me feel valued and taken seriously as both an athlete and as a student. They listened to my thoughts and concerns, and were honest with me. I most appreciate the willingness of my coaches to reach beyond their comfort zone. None of my coaches had ever coached an adaptive athlete before and they made it a priority to provide me a safe space where I could explore as well as push past my limitations as an adaptive athlete."

How did competing collegiately help prepare you for competing on Team USA?

"My time as a college student helped prepare me for Team USA by the constant support and growth that my teammates and coaches fostered. Everyone had different goals, but we knew that every goal was valued and valid. It meant the world to me to know that my teammates would support me every step of the way."

How did (or will) going to college prepare you for life?

"College pushed my boundaries of who I thought I was, as well as who I wanted to be. I had to learn to grow and adapt as I came into my own as a young adult. College introduced many unfamiliar life paths to me, and I am grateful to have been able to explore them with an open mind. Somewhere along the way I discovered how to let my passions lead me to new and unexpected places."