50 years of Title IX: Joelle Weltner – Diving

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX by the United States Congress. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX as part of that year’s education amendments. Drafted by Rep. Patsy Mink, Rep. Edith Green and Sen. Birch Bayh, the law prohibits gender discrimination in all schools receiving federal financial assistance. Although the text of the law made no reference to athletics, it was later determined to encompass all aspects of a school’s operations, including intercollegiate athletic programs. One study found that between the implementation of Title IX and 2006, there was an almost 500% increase in the number of female collegiate athletes.

Joelle Weltner was eleven years old when she started diving. She started out doing competitive gymnastics, a common sport before diving.

“When I started diving, I fell in love with it,” Weltner said. “The air awareness you develop in gymnastics makes for an easy transition into diving.”

Joelle was inspired by two of her older family friends who competed in college diving.

“Being a student-athlete has always been a goal of mine. Without Title IX, I would not have had the opportunity to continue diving throughout my studies. It opened the door for me to pursue a career athletic and academic.

Joelle started her freshman year at Cal Poly in 2018. Throughout her time at Cal Poly, she was very involved on campus.

“I gained leadership experience at Cal Poly as team captain for two seasons. Being the person my teammates got to meet and look up to was awesome.” For the past year, Joelle has completed an internship for the Cal Poly athletic department as part of the development team.

“My experience at Cal Poly has been nothing but amazing. I’ve met so many amazing people. My teammates, I know I’ll stay in touch forever. They’re basically my family.”

“The bar is set high [at Cal Poly] not only for athletics, but also for academics. Students always work to surpass themselves and to be the best person possible. It’s very admirable and it makes me want to be better.”

One of Joelle’s favorite memories at Cal Poly is sitting in the hot tub with her teammates between dives. “We’re just messing around, telling stories, catching up on the weekends. It was a nice break from school and work.”

As for future athletes, Joelle’s advice is, “Use every opportunity and seize it. You never know who you might meet and what doors they might open for you. There are so many opportunities at Cal Poly and being part of a sports team increases those opportunities.”

Joelle graduated from Cal Poly last weekend with a degree in business administration. For the summer, she returns to Orange County, and in the fall, she plans to move to San Diego for a job.

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