Winning in Life

Photo by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Justice Collins gives back at every turn

Get to know our students, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Justice Collins, ’17
Program: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Groups and organizations: Athletics – Basketball, #ProjectMack, Vice Chancellor’s Honor Recipient 2017
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois


Why did you choose UMKC?

The basketball team recruited me. I grew up in a gym; my dad is a coach. The experience and education I’ve received here at UMKC has exceeded all of my expectations.

You won the 2017 Hallmark Cards Leadership Award from WIN for KC for being a role model and mentor who serves on UMKC and national student-athlete advisory committees, and for starting #ProjectMack. Tell us about that.

I started Project Mack after my friend, Mackenzie “Mack” McDermott, died in 2014. She was 20. It was created in memory of how she lived her life every day. Giving back and random acts of kindness are a part of it, but it’s about inspiring positivity and good vibes through our words and actions. We have Big Mack Challenges that incorporate the community, environment and personal wellness.

The WIN for KC luncheon was so inspiring. There were 1,600 attendees from various organizations that support women’s sports. It was such an honor.

What are your lifelong goals?

I would love to be a motivational speaker for fundraisers and universities. I am interested in mentoring young female athletes. I want to continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

College has been a time for tremendous growth. I have learned that I am capable of so much and that this is really just the beginning. I learned to trust my gut and not to worry so much about what other people are doing. College has taught me life is tricky and messy but there is always good somewhere in the chaos.

I also learned to listen more and talk less. When you really sit down and truly listen to someone you can learn a lot.

Who do you admire most at UMKC?

Our athletic department. Every day I am surrounded by such supporting and loving individualspeople who believe in my dreams and support me on so many different levels. I probably wouldn’t have accomplished half the things I did if it wasn’t for their support. At a lot of universities you don’t get to experience that, especially when it comes to your athletic administration. There is just a certain feeling of family.

What’s your greatest fear?

I think what I fear most is not living with a purpose. I fear going through the motions of everyday and getting caught up in the right now. I never want to become complacent or content. It’s important that I’m always looking to grow and make improvements.

What motto do you live by?

Live a life of impact in everything I do. Also, leave people better than when I found them.


From across the country and around the world, our students come together in Kansas City to study business, medicine, theatre and more than 100 other academic areas. Roos become leaders in their fields and give back to their communities.

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