Jenny Collins Vela grew up in the Philadelphia area, where she started playing lacrosse in 8th grade. She was a two-sport athlete, playing lacrosse and field hockey at North Penn High School. She was recruited by Cindy Timchal and went on to attend college at the University of Maryland. At Maryland, Jenny took a medical redshirt year her freshman season after tearing her ACL. She returned to the field for the Terps and contributed on attack for the next 4 years to a team that would ultimately win 2 ACC Titles (2009, 2010) and a 2010 NCAA National Championship in her final season under Coach Cathy Reese. Collins holds 3 All-Time Strength & Conditioning records at Maryland, and excelled off the field as the President of the Student Athlete Advisory Council and member of the Athletic Council. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a BS in Kinesiology, and upon the receiving the ACC Post Graduate Scholarship, she went pursued her MA in Kinesiology. She completed her Masters in Kinesiology in 2011, writing her thesis, “Beyond the Beauty Salon”, on the challenges faced by black female athletes in sport.
The passion for the sport of lacrosse is something that has never left her. She has gone on to spread her love for the game and coaching through, Step Up Lacrosse, hosting clinics nationally, and as the director of a girl’s travel team, API Select, from 2012-2017. Currently she is also the co-Executive Director of her non-profit, Step Up Lacrosse Charity, as well as a Coach and Board Member at Nations United Lacrosse. Both organizations are aimed at growing and diversifying the game of lacrosse. In 2017 she was inducted into the North Penn High School Athletic Hall of Fame. She resides in Houston, TX with her husband Ram Vela, and their daughter, Blake.