Back to Blog UC Alumni Furthers her Education to Enhance Female Youth Athletics Student StoriesUC Online News Share Share on FacebookFollow us on LinkedInShare on PinterestShare via Email Rachel Rank developed a love of sports from an early age. Her older brother introduced her to athletics and playing basketball in high school helped grow that connection further. One of the biggest impacts on Rachel’s love of athletics was the time she spent with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse. Her memories of playing sports there as a kid made it easy for her to accept the position of Assistant Athletic Director with the organization. Rachel took great pride in being the first female to perform these duties and was excited to give back to an organization that impacted so many lives. Rachel quickly learned that a career in athletics was where she wanted to be. Her undergrad degree in marketing had helped her to this point but she knew there was a lot more to learn about the industry. She began researching the top Master’s in Sport Administration programs to continue her education. Since she was working 40 hours a week, she wanted to find a program that was both flexible and had a holistic approach to sports management. All classes are asynchronous and can be completed in less than one year. After months of research, she chose the University of Cincinnati Online. The reason Rachel chose UC Online was how flexible and willing the experienced faculty was to work with her. She was able to continue her full-time job with the Boys & Girls Club while completing the program completely online. Rachel was immediately able to utilize what she was learning in her sport administration program and apply them to her job daily. Initially, Rachel had a slight concern with how hard it would be to make connections in a fully online program, but Rachel said there were so many opportunities to meet other online students and she still utilizes those connections for help today. Among those connections, include the faculty. When it came time for Rachel to write her Capstone project, she was not sure which direction she wanted to go. She knew she wanted to help the Boys & Girls Club since it was an organization that she held so dear to her. She had noticed a decline in interest for female youth athletics and it got her curious why. She decided to do her capstone project researching why there was a decline in girls interested in sports. As a result of the research, she saw a need for funding. Rachel worked with Dr. Kelley to identify a grant geared toward female youth athletics. Applying knowledge from her Applied Financial Management Strategies in Athletics course where she learned the intricacies of grant writing from soup to nuts, Rachel located a local grant called the Women’s Fund of Greater LaCrosse. Her Capstone project was a success, and the Boys & Girls Club received the grant to improve girls’ athletics. Rachel credits Dr. Kelley and the University of Cincinnati with helping her learn the foundations of grant writing. So many non-profits rely on this funding, and it is essential to be successful in the industry. Rachel hopes to continue her work towards building a more diverse and inclusive sports world. Her dream is to build an inclusive environment for everyone interested in playing sports, even if they lack the funds to do it. If you are interested in learning more about how the University of Cincinnati Online’s Master’s in Sport Administration program can help you follow your dream, contact [email protected] and a Enrollment Services Advisor will reach out and help you develop a plan that best meets your needs and goals.