Female athletes from Iowa are special in many ways; here at the IGHSAU we work to recognize the “Iowa Girl” and share our enthusiasm for the good that she represents. There is something unique in every Iowa Girl, whether that be leadership, dedication or compassion. Each one has a story worth sharing. 

Welcome to the Iowa Girl Project. Join fellow Iowa Girl Mia Laube as she shares the stories of Iowa Girls who are taking the skills they learned through their education and athletic career above and beyond. These women are making a positive impact on their communities, big and small. They inspire the next generation to compete in sports and conquer the challenges ahead. 

Proud to be an Iowa Girl!


Iowa Girls are LEADERS.

Meet Lily Hamilton, one Iowa Girl who transitioned from being a leader on her tennis team to being a leader in her community (and soon, her world). 

Leadership. Cultural exchange. Social Justice. Hard work. Those are a few of the words that Lily Hamilton gave when discussing her values. 

For Hamilton, a Grinnell High School and Grinnell College graduate, the world started out as a small place. At both schools, she participated in tennis. She won four individual singles conference titles in high school and placed multiple years at the state tournament. Those were only a few items on her long list of accomplishments as a high school athlete.

“The really beautiful thing about my athletic career is that it was always a part of my life,” Hamilton said.

From there, her transition to college was not easy, and not just because she was stepping up to a new level of competition in tennis. However, it was the beginning of a shift in Hamilton’s perspective that is now a driving force in her life. 

“Grinnell [College] was almost 20 percent international students,” Hamilton said. “I was learning to view Grinnell from the eyes of people who weren’t from here. I saw some of small town Iowa’s faults, and that drove my interest in law...  I realized how I could fit into my small town, but someone who is poorer, is an international student or is from a more urban area might not.”

That isn’t to say Hamilton isn’t extremely appreciative of the opportunities being an Iowa Girl has given her; it just means she now sees ways to make the world a better place.

In college, she put her newfound interests into action.

“I got involved in political activism during my first year on campus,” Hamilton said.

Her majors in political science and French led her to volunteer with her local Democratic party and bring educational opportunities to Grinell students. She completed legal internships where she “defended the rights of immigrants and refugees at a small immigration law firm in Washington, D.C.” She also helped teach French to local elementary students and prisoners. There’s plenty more, but the theme is obvious: Hamilton has developed herself into a community leader.


Written by Mia Laube. Mia is a freelance writer for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. She is a graduate of Marion High School and currently attends the University of St. Thomas where she studies journalism and communications. As a former Iowa high school student-athlete, Mia is excited to share the stories of the "Iowa Girl" through the Iowa Girl Project.