Hedstrom stays disciplined on and off the court

The senior is studying for her master’s degree, and averaging 5.5 points per game.

Dominic Davis

The workload of student athletes is challenging. Joanna Hedstrom
has taken that challenge head on and thrived under the pressure.

The senior guard graduated summa cum laude from the Carlson
School of Management in less than four years. She is working towards a master’s
degree in Human Resources.

Hedstrom said staying disciplined and finding the right balance
between school and basketball were challenges when trying to graduate early.

“If school is getting frustrating or I feel stressed with that, I
can just go shoot or take it out at basketball practice,” Hedstrom said. “If
the same thing is happening in basketball I kind of use school as a distraction
as well.”

Education is something she grew up valuing. Both of her parents
were teachers, so she has always enjoyed school and has had a drive to succeed
in class from an early age.

Her discipline shows on the court as her role on the team has

She has featured in the starting lineup more games this season
than in her first three seasons combined. Hedstrom’s role in the team has
changed as the team needs her to do more.

“I need to be more of a scoring threat,” Hedstrom said. “In the past,
it was more just doing the little things as far as rebounding and getting stops
on defense … but that hasn’t gone away either.”

Teammate Kenisha Bell said Hedstrom’s positivity and shooting ability
help make the game easier for her.

“When I’m down in the game, I can always count on [Hedstrom] to
tell me ‘Don’t worry about it, next play, next play,’” Bell said.

Bell recognizes the impact Hedstrom has on their team. The
experience she brings is valuable since there are many younger players on

But Bell is more amazed by how hard Hedstrom works to do well in

“I can probably go in her room sometimes and see Jo on the couch
studying,” Bell said. “I’m like ‘what are you studying for?’ ‘[Hedstrom said] A
test that’s coming up in a month.’”

She looks at Hedstrom as an example of how to put school first but
also incorporate basketball.

Hedstrom is one of the original players head coach Marlene Stollings
inherited when she took over the program in the 2014-15 season.

Stollings appreciates the leadership that Hedstrom brings to the
team and how well she represents the program.

“The example that she sets off the court is tremendous,”
Stollings said. “She sets the bar very high for our team on how to be a student-athlete.”

Hedstrom realized she had a great opportunity to continue her
education and took it.

The HR program at Carlson caught her attention. She discovered it
was one of the better programs in the nation.

Hedstrom said she likes how HR is becoming more strategic.

“I like being able to lead people and develop people,” Hedstrom
said. “I’m excited to apply it to the workforce environment.”