JoAnne Owens-Nauslar speaking March 30 at Title IX event

KEARNEY – In 2022, women officially started to outnumber men in the U.S. college-educated labor force, making up 50.7% of that population, according to data analysis by the Pew Research Center.

These numbers can largely be attributed to the passing of Title IX Educational Amendments in 1972, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

JoAnne Owens-Nauslar
JoAnne Owens-Nauslar

As the University of Nebraska at Kearney caps off its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, led by the Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach, some may be wondering, “So What, Now What?”

This is the question that JoAnne Owens-Nauslar aims to answer when she addresses the UNK campus on Thursday, March 30.

“Title IX is not just important to women in sports. It actually prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program that receives federal financial assistance,” said Sharon Johnson, an online program support specialist at UNK who was instrumental in planning the event. “We chose Dr. JoAnne Owens-Nauslar to speak at UNK because she is a highly credentialed, nationally known speaker. She is not only a trailblazer for Title IX efforts, but she is also passionate about helping everyone become a healthier and happier version of themselves.”

Owens-Nauslar will address the UNK student body from 3-4 p.m., followed by a session for faculty, staff and the wider Kearney community from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Ponderosa Room at the Nebraskan Student Union.

Livestreams of the sessions will be made available via Zoom. Links can be found at

In these sessions, attendees will learn more about the impact of Title IX and have opportunities to laugh, learn and share while being reminded of the necessary ingredients for a healthier and happier self.

Owens-Nauslar, who also goes by “Dr. Jo,” has spent 44 years promoting the benefits of healthy, active living and is considered one of the nation’s most vocal personalities and masterful motivators on issues of physical activity and how people can improve both health and academic outcomes. She has served as president of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, SHAPE America, Nebraska SHAPE, Central District APPHPERD, Husker Softball “On Deck Circle” and Husker Athletic Fund.

Throughout her career, Owens-Nauslar has taught at all levels and was the state director of comprehensive health and physical education at the Nebraska Department of Education for nearly 10 years. She has since taken roles in corporate America, where she has worked for the past 15 years.