SAAC Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Arielle Himelbloom
Himelbloom is a GNAC All-Academic Team honoree for cross country from 2019 to 2022 as well as for track and field from 2018 to 2022.
Himelbloom is a GNAC All-Academic Team honoree for cross country from 2019 to 2022 as well as for track and field from 2018 to 2022.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations, and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Arielle Himelbloom
Sport: Cross Country/Track and Field
Institution: Alaska Anchorage
Year: Graduate Student
Major/Minor: Health Sciences/Minor in Athletic Training; Currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Health.
Hometown: Kodiak, Alaska

Why did you choose to attend UAA?: I chose Alaska Anchorage because it is close to home and the opportunity to continue both my academic and athletic endeavors was a chance that I could not pass up.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college?: My favorite class has been Circumpolar Health, which I took during my first semester in the public health program. The course dove into issues related to rural and arctic communities, highlighting the unique disparities faced and to their similarities to other small populations. Within the class, we had a lot of room for creativity, submerging ourselves into topics that interested us while still following the required tasks. In the end, we were able to come up with solutions to solving real-world issues, such as malnutrition in the circumpolar north and creating equitable opportunities for communities to thrive.

How many years were you involved in SAAC?: Two years.

What made you want to be involved in SAAC?: I chose to get involved in SAAC to better the sport by revising policies and providing a voice for other student-athletes.

What is your most memorable SAAC activity to date so far?: My most memorable SAAC activity occurred this past fall when all of the Alaska Anchorage student-athletes got together to play competitive games at the Alaska Airlines Center.

How do you feel participating in SAAC will help you in life after you graduate?: Since participating in SAAC, I have strengthened my leadership skills, which will help me in life after college. I feel more empowered to speak up for myself and others, in addition to discussing ways to improve the sport for generations to come.
What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics?: Time management has been the most important thing I've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics. Being able to organize your time around your priorities is key to working efficiently and completing each task in a timely manner.
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome during your collegiate career?: The biggest obstacle I have overcome during my collegiate career has been continuing to trust the process. I first started my athletic career as a walk-on, working to stay afloat in a high-caliber program. While my academics had a strong start, it took a few years to find success in cross country and track and field. After being redshirt my first year, it took many races to become competitive again and four years to score at a conference meet. But I persevered, showing up each and every day with no excuses and a strong work ethic to boot. Eventually, I earned an athletic scholarship and lowered my personal bests from 1,500 to 10,000 meters while keeping my grades at a strong level too. From this experience, I have learned to trust my vision and keep in mind the bigger picture, even when the pieces are still being put together.
What does it mean to you to be a Division II student-athlete?: Being a Division II student-athlete means a lot to me. I am the first in my family to pursue collegiate athletics and being able to pursue my career alongside my passion has been a dream realized. I was given the opportunity to be a walk-on and worked my way up the ladder to where I am today. Division II embodies the meaning of hard work, grit and determination, pursuing your goals day in and day out, regardless of the circumstances. I have met so many incredible people both through the sport and in academic settings, making my college experience truly one-of-a-kind.
What are your future goals after graduation?: After graduation, I would like to continue running wherever life takes me, pursuing trail running and sky-running competitions, in addition to getting a job in the public health field. Being able to give back to the community that has provided so many opportunities is my primary goal, especially in helping those around me.
What is the best advice you would give to an incoming freshman?: Always give yourself a chance. You never know what opportunities might come your way.
What is your favorite sports-related moment?: Running my current 5,000-meter personal best at the Mike Fanelli Classic. The race felt almost effortless as I felt strong from the first mile until the very end. I was motivated by my teammates cheering me on and the old-school jams blaring through the loudspeaker. When I turned onto the final stretch, I remember looking toward the clock, in awe of my time and redefining my capabilities.
Favorite Sports Team: The On Athletics Club (OAC).
Favorite Athlete: Eliud Kipchoge.
What is one thing that people don't know about you?: I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark.