Summer Internship: New Skills, New Connections

Aug 07, 2018


Hunter Leemon and Ash RileyRandolph-Macon College's alumni network is a valuable, vibrant resource. Just ask Ash Riley '20, who recently interned at Sportable, a Richmond non-profit that helps transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities through sport.

Hunter Leemon '00 is executive director of Sportable, and Grace Davis, director of development, served as Riley's supervisor. The internship was arranged by staff in R-MC's EDGE Career Center and was funded by a generous grant from the Robins Foundation.

Riley, a communication studies major and ethics and psychology minor, did extensive work to support Sportable's annual RVA Tailgate, its largest fundraiser, which takes place September 22, 2018.

Busy Days = New Skills
Grace Davis and Ash Riley"RVA Tailgate is a night of food, music, games, and raffles," explains Davis. "A lot of planning goes into making this a successful event, and Ash was responsible for our online marketing. Ash also helped collect raffle prizes and worked with our Tailgate and Development Committee, Board Members, and Sportable staff."

Riley quickly learned that there are lots of components that go into planning an event that will host 500 guests. "Thanks to my internship, I met new people, improved my communication skills, and gained confidence in my ability to work independently," says Riley.

Big Shoes to Fill
Davis and Riley shared an office at Sportable.

"I could ask questions whenever they came up," says Riley. "Grace was wonderful about making sure that I understood what I was doing and why I was doing it."

"Ash came up with a lot of cool ideas about how to share the stories of our athletes and stakeholders and how to engage college students in our mission," says Davis. "Our next interns definitely have big shoes to fill!"

Campus Life, Future Plans
A member of three honor societies and the recipient of two scholarships, Riley recently won R-MC's Hugh Scott Oratory Contest award. Riley also worked for several years as a student-assistant in the Marketing & Communications office. After serving as a New Student Transitions Captain, Riley is now training to become a Tour Guide.

"I love the idea of being an ambassador for the college, of knowing that I could be part of the reason why someone decides to come to Randolph-Macon," says Riley, whose future plans include graduate school and a master's degree in higher education.

Shared Experiences
"Hunter's passion for Sportable is evident in everything he does,” says Riley. "He is an amazing resource, and I am confident that if I reached out to him 10 years from now, he would do anything he could for me."

Leemon, who majored in political science at R-MC and is a member of the Board of Trustees, says, "Being an intern on our team is a 'sink or swim' proposition—we tell interns what needs to be accomplished and provide support when needed. Interns must be self-starters, which Ash has clearly demonstrated. This ability is very valuable—employers look for team members who can set their own path."

Shared experiences created a special bond between alumnus and student.

"Ash and I share a lot of the same experiences and know many of the same people," notes Leemon. "That connection really set a good foundation for a successful internship. I hope that it also showed Ash that R-MC's alumni community is vested in the success of students. One of the best things that can come from this experience is that one day Ash will have the ability and desire to pay it forward. Ash has really been an all-star."