Senior Lindsay Petty was a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays before she started working for them. The Rays have been in existence for 11 years, and Petty has been following them for nine of those years — ever since her family moved to Florida from Connecticut.

"I've grown up in a sports household," she said. But she had not thought about working in sports management until her mom suggested she try to obtain a summer internship with the Rays.

Petty coasted through the interview, in which many of the questions were geared toward her leadership studies major. "I explained the major had a core curriculum based on ethics, service, group relationships, and critical thinking," Petty said.

Also a psychology major, Petty said she liked how she was able to tailor her leadership electives to her interests in social psychology. "Your major is about you but doesn't dictate your future," she said. "You're learning about people and relationships, organizations of all kinds."

Petty scored the Rays internship, in Corporate Partnerships, where office work consisted of writing proposals for prospective partners, working on midseason recaps for current partners, and planning sponsored promotions.

She was also required to attend every home game. Each game she helped run the Baseball Buddies program, where parents would sign up their children to go onto the field during a coming game and stand with a baseball player during the national anthem. Nine children were selected for each game — to reflect nine Kia dealership sponsors — and were given a T-shirt, baseball, and pen. Petty would notify families about the event, and set them up for free tickets to the game.

Other duties during the home games required driving the Kia cars onto the field, setting up trivia about the game that day, and drawing the winning name. The department had to be flexible, Petty said, because the work she had to do paralleled with how well the team was doing.

The signs outside the front office explaining the company's vision and the importance of baseball harmonized with Petty.

Baseball is unique to the United States, Petty said, and sports have the ability to get people excited a the way that other events cannot.

"They bring families and friends together," she said, "providing community support and giving the community an entity to rally around. They mean so much to a community."

She noted the importance of the sport continuing during the summer, when children were not in school but had the option of going to baseball games with their families because the tickets to the Rays were not expensive. Tropicana Field also hosted a few YMCA camps during the summer.

What Petty said she loved about her internship was the purpose the department had of making games more fun and energetic. "I found an organization that valued its role in the community and valued its employees," she said. "I rarely felt like an intern because they gave me real responsibilities. I like to be creative and help other people's visions be materialized."

Themes from Petty's course in group dynamics came up often during her internship, she said, as she was working with different departments, other interns, managers, directors, and vice presidents. She liked to observe what kinds of decisions were made, she said, and see what each person's responsibility was within the organization. She saw the importance of how firms outlined specific roles and responsibilities, she said.

When Petty had the opportunity to plan two different events during her internship, she said she decided she might like to look for a job in events planning post-graduation. Back at the University of Richmond, Petty serves as the Westhampton chair of Honor Council, a position she has held since sophomore year, and has held leadership roles within her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.