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UNI makes a difference with Special Olympics Iowa

In January, 400 athletes, 200 coaches and chaperones, and 300 volunteers attended the Special Olympics Iowa Winter Games in Dubuque. More than 50 of those volunteers were students from the University of Northern Iowa.

In 1986, Joe Wilson, associate professor of health, physical education and leisure services, was asked to help run the games. Gradually, Wilson began bringing student volunteers to the event and has since made it an annual volunteer opportunity.

Empowering and celebrating women

"I used to always hate my body and hate the way I looked," said junior mathematics education major and women's and gender studies minor Paige Hageman. Like a lot of girls, Hageman grew up reading magazines and comparing herself to the models she saw on the glossy pages. "I was always like, 'Why can't I just be this stereotypical girl and fit into all this?'"

UNI's track and field head coach is a two-time Olympian

Speeding down a twisting, turning, ice-covered track at 90 miles per hour on the banked curves of the Olympic bobsled track looks kind of fun—until you're in the sled.

"It's actually a violent ride," says Dan Steele, UNI's track and field head coach and brakeman for the four-man bobsled team that won bronze at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. "You can reach more than 5 G's in a turn and your body is compressed into positions you didn't think were possible.

UNI goes mobile!

University of Northern Iowa students, faculty and staff now have the ability to take UNI with them wherever they go... on their smartphones! The MyUNI mobile app is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Android phones and other phones, such as Windows phones and Blackberry, via mobile Web.

Helping others get in the game

Edward Failor and Tyler Campbell became buddies while playing youth sports in their hometown of Muscatine. They learned how to tackle problems on and off the field, how to strike a balance between sports and schoolwork, and how to cheer on each other and their team. The boys' parents were able to pay the sign-up fees and the costs for equipment and team travel. The two friends learned, however, that many parents cannot.

A heart for art

Prior to becoming Panthers, Dallas Center high school students Maria and Niah Howard went on a mission trip to El Salvador with a delegation from their church.

"We fell in love with the country and the people we met," said Maria. "They had a spirit of genuineness, compassion and resilience that was simply unforgettable."



The sisters were deeply concerned, however, about the poor living conditions and their new friends' stories of hardship. "Our eyes were opened to a reality we had previously not understood," Maria said.

Ready... Set... Go!

From the television screen to the workshop to the streets. The University of Northern Iowa's Physics of Mario Kart camp brought the classic video game, "Super Mario Kart," to life. Eight high school students spent a week constructing life-sized Mario karts and took them to the walkways on campus for some friendly racing.

Inspiration just around the river bend

Ben Hoksch has always had a love of the outdoors. His dad grew up in rural Iowa, and as a child, Hoksch and his father would often spend time fishing and hunting along the Mississippi River. His love for nature has had a large influence on his life. As an undergraduate at UNI, Hoskch majored in biology and recently canoed down the Mississippi River.

While his childhood experience and general love of nature influenced his decision to take this trip, it was experiences at UNI that ultimately inspired Hoksch to set sail.

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