Her summer 2009 internship with the communications division of the University of Richmond Athletic Department is only one of many commitments Jacki Raithel, '10, balances at the University of Richmond.
Raithel is a leadership studies and journalism double major, community programming assistant at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, copy editor and staff reporter for the Collegian, Jepson Student Government Association senator, and tutor at the Academic Skills Center. She is also the starting goalie for Richmond's varsity field hockey team.
"It's busy and I've probably overcommitted myself, but I like the challenge," said Raithel. "I've learned what it means to work hard and to push myself physically beyond what is comfortable."
Currently entering into her seventh season, Raithel first tried out for the varsity field hockey team her sophomore year at James W. Robinson High School in Northern Virginia. She was recruited by the coach of a USA Field Hockey Registered Club Team and first came to the University of Richmond for a club tournament her junior year in high school.
"I loved it from the minute I got here," Raithel recalled of her visit to the University. She met the team's coaches at the time, who played an integral part of her decision to play for Richmond. The Richmond Field Hockey team won five consecutive Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championships (2002–2006) and has been nationally ranked in the Top-20 in four of the last six seasons.
Her internship allowed Raithel to stay involved with Richmond athletics off the field. One of her biggest tasks this summer was managing the Richmond Spiders official athletic Web site, www.richmondspiders.com. She fulfilled a number of duties, including posting current rosters, upcoming schedules and statistics, as well as writing articles about athletes and updating their biographies. As someone who plans to work in communications, she's learned about the public relations infrastructure that supports athletes and promotes an athletic program.
Her interest in journalism is rooted in her passion for people and their lives. "Reporting is something I really enjoy. I like interviewing, sitting and listening to people talk." She added, "I'm not nosy by nature but I like an excuse to be."
Her leadership studies major also provides an outlet for her curiosity. "It's the kind of intellectual conversation that I enjoy and the Jepson School has always been appealing. It really is a community. I take classes with a lot of the same people. Everyone is learning different things but they all connect through the overarching theme of leadership." Last summer, Raithel went to Cambridge, England, with the Jepson study abroad program.
Raithel is aware that newspapers and traditional print publications are failing in today's digital world. She says she's not sure that newspapers are her calling, but writing is. "That's what I'm good at right now," Raithel said, describing her ideal profession. "I would love to find somebody who wants to pay me to meet interesting people and write about them. There are so many people who have endured great things throughout their lives that nobody knows about."
As far as being a student athlete is concerned, Raithel says she can't imagine trading it for anything. "I can look back over the past four years and see that where I am now is miles ahead of when I got here." She hopes to continue her involvement in field hockey after graduation and plans to try out for the USA Field Hockey Women's Indoor National Team in spring 2010.