Class of 2008, Communication Studies
When UI softball standout Stephanie Ackerson was a student at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, she excelled at softball, volleyball, and basketball.
“But softball was my first love,” Stephanie says. “It’s where my heart is.”
And it showed. While she was a four-year starter on the Dowling volleyball team (achieving first-team all-state honors her senior year), and was named to the basketball all-state team as well, her softball stats are what are truly eye-popping:
- The 2003 Iowa Pitcher of the Year
- The Gatorade Player of the Year in 2004
- Three-time elite all-state -Three-time first-team all-district and all-conference selection
- Captain of the state all-tournament team in 2004
- Hit .423 with 8 home runs and 61 RBIs while compiling a 31-1 record with a 0.40 ERA and 350 strikeouts in 2004
- Holds 12 pitching and 5 hitting records at Dowling
- Led her team to four straight conference championships and a state championship in 2004
Now Stephanie’s playing her heart out at The University of Iowa, taking the field--both at first base and as a pitcher, depending on where her team needs her most--in the black and gold as a proud Hawkeye. And she couldn’t be happier.
It was always her dream to play for Iowa. And while she was being wooed by Iowa and other universities, she was struck by the quality of both the UI’s people and the program.
“Everyone was so genuine,” Stephanie remembers. “And it’s been nothing but a positive experience for me. The tradition of the program, the Pearl Field facilities that the fans helped build, the relationships I’ve formed. Iowa has great academics and great athletics--it’s perfect.”
Stephanie, an academic all-Big Ten team member, deeply appreciates the support- -both emotional and financial--that she and her teammates receive from fans. She points out that it was fan enthusiasm that has brought the NCAA regionals to the UI campus. And not only did she receive scholarship assistance through the UI Foundation from the Polk County I-Club, but she also sees firsthand the benefits of ongoing I-Club support as it helps the UI athletics department pay for student-athletes’ scholarships, provide some of the finest medical care found in the Big Ten, defray team travel costs, and more.
“My experience here at Iowa has taught me the power of giving,” Stephanie says. “I look forward to giving back myself someday so others can have the same opportunities.”
“This place--and these fans--are amazing.”