Athlete, Sexual assault survivor Katie Hnida to speak at LSSU

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Colorado native and accomplished athlete Katie Hnida, the first woman to play in an NCAA Division 1 football game, will bring her story of perseverance and survival to Lake Superior State University at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, in the Walker Cisler Center Crow’s Nest.

The public is welcome. Admission is free.

In addition to her accomplishments in the field, most notably as a placekicker with the University of New Mexico, Hnida will talk about the challenges she faced at University of Colorado and how she survived sexual harassment and rape to become who she is today.

Hnida graduated magna cum laude from UNM with a psychology degree. Her football career started at Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo., where she played varsity for four years. She was voted homecoming queen by her classmates and participated in halftime ceremonies wearing her uniform.

As a senior, she was named Colorado Sportswoman of the Year as well as Teen People Magazine’s Number One Teen Most Likely to Change the World.

While attending UC in 1999-2000, Hnida became the first woman to make the football team. She then transferred to the UNM, where she played three seasons for the Lobos.

In 2004, Hnida spoke out publicly about the sexual harassment and rape she endured while in Colorado. She has become a prominent speaker on violence against women and travels the country to share her powerful story at colleges, with women’s groups and other organizations. She has been a keynote speaker at numerous fundraisers, and was a featured speaker alongside Hilary Swank and Alec Baldwin at Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation events.

Hnida is involved with a number of organizations that work to combat violence against women, including the Voices and Faces Project, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Counter Quo. Throughout her life, she has served as a mentor to at-risk youth and she speaks regularly at elementary, middle, and high schools.

Hnida is the author of “Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division I Football,” published by Scribner in 2006. Her writing has appeared in publications such as People and Cosmopolitan, and she has been the subject of articles in others, including TIME, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. Her television appearances include Larry King Live, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, ESPN and others.

Hnida has continued her football career, most recently becoming the first woman to play professional arena football with the Ft. Wayne Firehawks in 2010.

For more information, visit katiehnida.com. Hnida’s appearance at LSSU is sponsored in partnership with the Diane Peppler Resource Center.