Kent State Alumna Competes for $1 Million on “The Amazing Race” | Kent State University

Kent State Alumna Competes for $1 Million on “The Amazing Race”

She double majored in criminal justice and psychology at Kent State University, played on the university’s women’s basketball team on a full-ride scholarship, and now Jessica Shields is taking her skills and competitive drive to “The Amazing Race” on CBS. Unlike past episodes, this season features a unique twist. Shields is going to be paired up with a complete stranger for the 29th season and race around the world for a $1 million prize.

Shields told CBS that she is very specific about who her partner should be.

“Nobody who complains, whines, cries, nothing,” she laughed and looked into the camera with a smile. “If you whine on national TV, I don’t want you as my partner.”

Shields played on the Kent State women’s basketball team from 2007-2011. The 6-foot-3-inch player was homeschooled in Youngstown until 6th grade. She says she found herself through basketball. 

“Basketball brought me through high school and got me a full-ride scholarship at Kent State,” Shields said. “So, I’ve been competing my whole life.”

“I am so proud of Jessica,” said Lori Bodnar, former associate head coach for Kent State’s women’s basketball. “She has worked long and hard to accomplish her dream, and I am happy to see her get a chance to achieve it.”

Shields says that competitive edge is what will help her and her future teammate win the race. Her ideal partner for the show is a man, because that is who she is used to working with at the Youngstown Police Department in Ohio. Shields is the first female K-9 officer for the city, patrolling with her German Shepherd Hector “the protector.”

“I’m not afraid of anything,” she said. “You be the smart person, and I will do the dirty work.”

Shields has some tough competition. The show will open up with 22 contestants with a wide variety of professions from military personnel to realtors, a marching band drum major, auctioneer, butcher, pro snowboarder, wall street banker, mom, artist and an attorney – just to name a few.

“The Amazing Race” will air on CBS on Thursday, March 30, at 10 p.m.

Hear what Shields told WOIO-TV about the race

The Kent State community is encouraged to send well wishes to Jessica on social media using #FlashesForever.