Time management, work ethic, and competitiveness.

These principles were instilled in Emma Ritter from an early age. Work ethic came from her father, who owns a landscaping company in Maryland. The others? Those came from the field.

Ritter quickly found out it takes a lot to be a successful athlete, especially at the collegiate level. Even more so for those on a baseball or softball diamond, where a hit rate at the plate of 30 percent is considered great.

That’s a 70 percent rate of failure.

“It’s just a game in the end, but it feels so much bigger when you’re in it. I’ve spent my whole life dedicated to hitting a yellow ball with a stick,” said Ritter, who balances being on the Virginia Tech softball team while a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “I worked on my short-term memory. I learned that if you allow yourself to dwell on a poor result, it impacts other parts of your life. The same applies to class. If I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on something, I need to focus on how I can take advantage of the next opportunity.”

And while balancing the schedule of being a student along with an athlete is tough, her professors in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics made it much easier.

“All of my professors have been extremely helpful, welcoming, and understanding,” Ritter said. “I’ve gotten so much out of my time in the department so far. I’ve been able to build meaningful connections with faculty and the other students in my major.”

Emma Ritter on base in Blacksburg, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Emma Ritter.

Emma Ritter in a black with orange accents softball uniform.
Emma Ritter on base. Photo courtesy of Emma Ritter.

These connections go beyond the norm.

Through her professors, Ritter learned how they were successful in their careers and built connections with industry.

That includes Ritter being a teaching assistant her junior year while balancing her already demanding schedule as a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which allows for a more direct line of communication between the individual sports team, the NCAA, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In her time at Virginia Tech and the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Ritter found that business – not just economics – was a passion of hers. From marketing to associated communication techniques, Ritter was enthralled.

“Business is such a wide sector and covers so much,” Ritter said. “The courses I’ve taken in Agricultural Economics, combined with my other learning opportunities in the department, really opened my eyes to what is possible in the field. I have so many options.”

And in her time as student, Ritter applied the same principles she learned from her youth and from the field to academic success.

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