For Katherine Rockwell, ’17, sports and fitness are her life.

“I’ve always loved and played sports,” Rockwell said. “I knew I wanted to pursue business and find a way to incorporate my love of sports, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it.”

So when she received the opportunity to intern with the Washington Redskins in summer 2016, she knew she couldn’t pass it up.

“My very first day we did an autograph signing with Josh Norman, a well-known cornerback for the team,” Rockwell said. “It was really cool, and he was really nice.”

But she learned quickly that working for an NFL team is much more than just loving the players.

“You have to be comfortable talking with adults, people much higher ranking than you, and I feel like classes at Richmond really prepare you for that,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell, is majoring in business administration, with a concentration in management. While interning, she worked closely with the Redskins marketing department, which prepared her for classes back on campus.

“Katherine was a pleasure to work with,” said her supervisor, LaRhonda Burley, the senior director of partnership marketing for the Redskins. “She was proactive and did a great job leading her peers at training camp.”

As part of her internship, Rockwell attended the Redskins training camp in Richmond, and helped organize the Redskins Showcase, which highlights cheerleaders, ambassadors, and current and past players.

“It was just me with the players, getting them whatever they needed,” she said. She spent the day with former wide receiver Gary Clark, former outside linebacker Ken Harvey, former tight ends Rick Walker and Chris Cooley, and former running back Ricky Ervins.

“That was awesome,” she said. “Walker was very grandfatherly, very sweet. Harvey got everybody laughing, made everyone super comfortable. That kind of thing is just very surreal.”

But her fondest memory of the summer wasn’t interacting with the players themselves, it was seeing them interact with others.

Rockwell described one day where the players invited young fans on the field for autographs and to play for a while.

“I watched a player race a little kid one day, obviously giving him a big lead,” Rockwell said. “And the kid just laughed and laughed. It was just one of those really cool interactions.”

And she says that moment of simple, human interaction helped her determine what she wants to do after graduation 

“That’s the reason I want to do community relations, the players can do things for the community that other people just can’t do.”

Katherine Rockwell (left) worked with fellow interns on the marketing team of the Washington Redskins in the summer of 2016.