SAAC Spotlight: Alaska's Rya Berrigan
Rya Berrigan finished in sixth place at the Seawolf Throwdown in Anchorage on September 4. Photo by Skip Hickey.
Rya Berrigan finished in sixth place at the Seawolf Throwdown in Anchorage on September 4. Photo by Skip Hickey.
Rya Berrigan
Rya Berrigan

Friday, October 1, 2021

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Rya Berrigan
Sport: Cross Country/Skiing
Institution: Alaska
Year: Senior
Major: Cell and Molecular Biology
Hometown: Palmer, Alaska

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska?: I chose to attend UAF in order to Ski and to be able to live and go to school in Alaska.

What Is Your Favorite College Class And Why?: Metalsmithing and jewelry making. I’m taking it as part of my art minor, and I like it because it allows be to work on projects with my hands and learn something new that is not a part of the harder STEM classes of my major.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor?: Human Microbiome last year with Professor Devin Drown was one of the better classes I took because he did a really good job at creating a discussion space even though we could not meet in person.

How Many Years Have You Been Involved In SAAC?: One.

Why Did You Choose To Get Involved With SAAC?: I want to be more involved on campus where I can and I would love to be a part of creating fun events for student-athletes. I think the more we can bring student-athletes together, the bigger and more cohesive of a community we will have.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You After You Graduate?: I am applying to medical school, so other than the skills that being in a cohesive team can offer, it will look good on a resume and let schools and employers know that I’m someone who wants to be involved and cares.

What Have You Learned From Needing To Balance Athletics And Academics?: Sometimes it makes more sense to just rest and complete academic tasks the next day if possible. Keeping on top of things and maintaining good communication really helps with being able to take the time for athletics and recovery when needed.

Who Is Your Current Mentor?: Right now, (UAF Professor) Mary Beth Leigh is a mentor to me. I started working with her on ARcTic Fest, a collaborative art climate festival that is set to take place annually starting next year.

What Are Your Future Goals After Graduating?: I plan to attend medical school after I graduate and then pursue a career in the medical field.

What Advice Would You Have For An Incoming Freshman?: Pursue your interests and go out of your way to meet new people and try something new. At the same time, make sure to check in with yourself and know when you are doing too much. It is all to easy to burn out.

Extracurricular Activities: I enjoy being outside to hike, fish and hunt during the summer and I spend time backcountry skiing when I can in the winter.