Thursday, October 5, 2023
image of Natalie Knapp

From Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Natalie Knapp is a Therapeutic Recreation major, with certificates in Disability Studies, Non-Profit Leadership, and Philanthropy.

What is your favorite University of Iowa memory?

One of my favorite memories was participating in the first-ever annual University of Iowa Hawkathlon in 2022 and becoming one of the coordinators for the second annual event in the spring of 2023! The Hawathlon is a free adaptive challenge course for people with disabilities that aims to adapt, include, and empower. Being able to see over 50 athletes successfully complete each unique fitness station, run a final lap together, and show off the medals they each earned truly made me so happy. Seeing the Hawkeye community continuing to promote inclusion efforts is so special. 

What would you like to see changed in the world during your lifetime?

In my lifetime I would like to see our world become more equitable, accessible, and inclusive. As someone who acquired a TBI in high school and still struggles with mental health, I saw firsthand how our society is lacking when it comes to providing basic accommodations to those who need them. Over 15% of the world's population experiences some form of disability and unfortunately are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes. This can include less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates. I think more citizens of the world need to place an emphasis on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and realize that disability rights are human rights. This can be done by providing more accessible transportation, creating services that encourage access to basic needs, implementing the use of assistive technologies everywhere, developing special education curricula, and designing more inclusive recreation programs!

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Right now, my roommate and I simply cannot stop singing the Big Time Rush Theme Song! We'll be studying in our living room and randomly burst out with, "Oh, oh, oh-oh, oh." 

What is your secret talent?

My secret talent is that in High School, I actually used to make money from my own photography business! Once I got to college things were too hectic to keep it up, however, I'd like to get back into it. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

The future is so hard to predict, but in 10 years I’d love to see myself being the Chief Executive Officer within the Non-Profit Sector where I'm helping people in some way. Although I’m graduating from the University of Iowa soon, school is not yet done for me. I plan on working towards receiving my Occupational Therapy Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration through a three-year combined program. I will definitely stay in contact with the incredible friends that I made at the University of Iowa, and visit Iowa City as much as I can!

About this series: during Homecoming week, we publish profiles of each member of Homecoming Court. For more information about Homecoming, visit