McKenzie Service Learning
McKenzie's Olympian Visitors:
In 2004, Miller began attending classes at Parkland College and playing on the University of Illinois wheelchair basketball team. It was there that she was introduced to sitting volleyball and, although she knew nothing about the sport previously, she was quickly hooked on the game.
Miller was named to the U.S. Paralympics Women’s Sitting Volleyball National Team in 2006, just prior to the World Championships in Roermond, The Netherlands, where the U.S. finished fifth. She said the experience of competing at that event made her want to work harder, so she transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) that August to devote more time to volleyball and continue her education in biology and veterinary studies.
After transferring to UCO, Miller, a track athlete in high school and the Army, received a pair of running legs from Hanger Prosthetics. She ran in her first track meet at the Endeavor Games in June 2007 and would like to train in the 400m at some point in the near future.
Although it is unclear what the future holds, Miller can forever cherish the hard-earned silver medal that she won with the U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. Miller served as a starter for Team USA when they took the silver medal at the 2010 Sitting Volleyball World Championships.
Diane Simpson was one of two rhythmic gymnasts – and the third of seven American individuals ever – on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. She won two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze medal in her two Pan American Games appearances.
She won more than 20 international medals, three Olympic Festival titles, and 22 national titles – including winning all four event finals and the All-Around title at the 1988 National Championships – during her career.
Simpson graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked previously for Chicago and other national television news and radio stations. She has served as a sports and news writer with the Chicago Sun-Times and as a deputy press secretary for a U.S. senator.
Simpson is the former manager of athlete relations and communications at Chicago 2016 and is the current president of the Midwest Chapter of U.S. Olympians and Paralympians. She also serves as secretary of the Female Athlete Triad Coalition, a 501(c)(3) global health advocacy collaboration, which works to prevent disordered eating, hormonal imbalances and poor bone health in female athletes.