UNI student-athletes—Team GOLD in their sport and in the classroom

Jessic Heims Running


UNI’s most recent gold medalist is sophomore Jessica Heims. Team USA topped the World Para Athletics Grand Prix June-7-9 in Grosseto, Italy, taking home 21 medals—15 of those gold. Heims contributed three gold medals to that count. She overthrew her very own world record by a full two meters in the first round, landing at 34.18 meters in the discus. She also won gold in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash.


While all UNI student-athletes compete at a high level within their sport, they are also successful in the classroom. The 15 teams and 379 student-athletes that comprise UNI athletics compiled a 3.18 overall semester GPA during the 2019 spring semester.


Academic and athletic excellence are at the heart of the student-athlete experience at UNI. In 2018, UNI Athletics released Panthers Rising, a comprehensive strategic plan that will guide student-athletes and the educators and staff who support them to unprecedented levels of academic success. Already a strong tradition of academic achievement, UNI Athletics is focused on increasing the academic progress and graduation rates of our student-athletes.


So, when you are attending a UNI athletic event, know that while you are cheering on your favorite UNI player, behind their athletic achievement is also an academic achievement worth celebrating!




UNI Athletics launched Elevating Educators in 2018 to recognize the important role educators play in the lives of students. UNI is acknowledged as Iowa’s premier teaching school because of its rich 143-year history and proven track record of graduating highly prepared, sought-after teacher education graduates. The university graduates more than 450 new teachers each year who join the more than 17,000 UNI alumni educators around the world. UNI also prepares principals, superintendents and speech pathologists, school librarians, counselors and psychologists, as well as many other educator roles in steady demand.