Jeremiah Gaines

Sarah Garrity '18

Sarah Garrity is the Membership Development Manager for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from Simmons with a Master of Sport Management in 2018.

 

What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?

I work with business leaders and community partners across Fort Worth to create and maintain sustainable growth and drive our community to be the most thriving, inviting community for all.
   
The most rewarding part of my job is getting to see, experience, and assist businesses with their current challenges and triumphs. As we have all seen over the past few years, businesses have felt major economic effects, from supply chain issues to workforce attraction and retention. The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce (FWC) works very closely with area colleges, universities, and ISDs to facilitate programs and initiatives that connect the business community to students. Connections are our biggest value, and I have a true passion for connection and problem-solving.  

The single most rewarding project I’ve worked on was North Texas Cares, which was a collaboration of local grantmaking organizations, including United Way, that awarded emergency relief grants starting in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world went into lockdown, I was part of a core team that implemented the entire effort. North Texas Cares resulted in $63 million being invested in our North Texas Community to support organizations doing incredible work addressing crucial needs due to the pandemic.

 

What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?

The professional and personal relationships I have built with classmates, faculty, and staff have proved to be of the greatest value. The guidance, advice, and mentorship provided by Simmons faculty have led me to where I am today. I have been a part of weddings, attended sporting events, and worked alongside many of my classmates, and I continue to stay in touch with many faculty that taught me throughout my time at SMU.

 

How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?

Simmons provided me with professional insights I wouldn't have otherwise. Although I am not currently working in the world of sports, the principles taught are still relevant and applicable to my current role. My supervisor and many of my coworkers at FWC are former sports professionals, and we have all applied that experience and knowledge to what we do at the FWC.

 

What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?

My time at SMU was exciting! Growing up in a small town, attending a university within my home state, and then moving to Texas was intimidating. But as a student at SMU, I was immediately welcomed with open arms. I had the opportunity to work in the athletics department, compete in the National Sports Forum Case Study Competition, get behind-the-scenes access to the Rangers, Stars, Mavs, and Cowboys organizations, meet many sports professionals from across the world, and so much more. It was truly a year of enlightenment!

 

Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?

Simmons provides an incredible education experience and carries a great reputation, especially across North Texas. I remember at orientation, Peter Carton spoke to the challenge that an education at Simmons would provide. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but as I went through my coursework, I realized why he said that.

Although the curriculum was intensive and difficult at times, Simmons' faculty and staff were guiding us along the way and pushing us to go above the standard of educational success. Simmons' focus on students and alumni is intentional and allows for meaningful connections across many disciplines.

 

Jeremiah Gaines

Victor Ribakare '18

Victor Ribakare is a Sponsorship Activation Manager at the Dallas Mavericks. He graduated from Simmons with a Master of Science in Sports Management in 2018. 

 

What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?

I work in the Corporate Sponsorship department of the Dallas Mavericks. The most rewarding part of my job is providing once in a lifetime Dallas Mavericks experiences to loyal fans through various sponsored campaigns.

 

What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?

The most meaningful aspects of my education were the connections that I made through the SMU network. These connections were incredibly valuable in growing my career and have facilitated me to going down this exciting path I am on.

 

How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?

My education provided me with the foundational knowledge I was seeking about the sports industry. It exposed me to a lot of different careers within sports - my initial encounter with sports activation came through my class work.

 

What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?

A highlight of my experience as a SMU graduate student was the opportunity to have first-hand access to industry professionals who taught my courses.

 

Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?

I am proud to be a Simmons Alum because of the access to the ever so growing network of other alumni across the country. I am so proud to be among a group of people accomplishing great things in sports and other fields, and it is always a pleasure getting to meet other alumni.

 

Jeremiah Gaines

Isaiah Peel ‘17

Isaiah Peel is the Stadium Services Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He graduated from Simmons with a Bachelors of Applied Physiology and Sports Management in 2017.

 

What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?

I work for the Kansas City Chiefs as their Stadium Services Coordinator. The most rewarding thing about my job is knowing that I play a part in providing Championship Service to our fans for game days and event attendees throughout the year in Arrowhead Stadium.

 

What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?

The ability to truly utilize the professors not only for educational purposes, but for real life and work wisdom and knowledge.

 

How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?

My assignments and capstone put me in a realistic setting to expect what is to come from the stressors and tasks of the sports industry.

 

What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?

As a full time student, I was able to work for both the Dallas Mavericks and Stars as their 50/50 Raffle Supervisor, getting hands on experience with sales, customer service, and community relations. It was awesome to be able to apply my studies professionally for two organizations at once.

 

Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?

I’m proud to be a Simmons alum because I know I broke through a lot of barriers to get to where I am today, and to say I am one of the few African Americans to do so is a blessing.

 

Jeremiah Gaines

Jeremiah Gaines ‘17 and '19

Jeremiah Gaines is a Lecturer in the Applied Physiology and Wellness department at the SMU Simmons School. He graduated from Simmons with a Bachelor's in Sports Management in 2017 and a Master's in Educational Leadership in 2019.

What do you do professionally and what is most rewarding about your job?

I currently serve as a Lecturer in the Applied Physiology and Wellness department where I teach Personal Responsibility and Wellness (PRW) 1 and Personal Responsibility and Wellness (PRW) 2 classes. In PRW 1, we discuss how our individual decisions impact our life. We look at our decisions in the context of physical, financial, stress and other forms of wellness and how to maximize all these components to positively influence our holistic wellness. PRW 2 on the other hand is where we specifically focus on the physical aspect of wellness and how we can use different exercises (skiing, basketball, weight training) to positively impact of physical fitness.

The most rewarding part of my job is at the end of the semester each student writes a reflection about their experience in my class, and I love hearing from students who gained an awareness of an area of improvement and implement steps to improve that area to enhance the quality of their life.

What were some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Simmons?

I had the opportunity to experience two different programs within Simmons (Sport Management and Educational Leadership) and it is amazing to me that I am in a space where I can flow between both programs to enrich the courses. In my PRW 2 classes there was information that the faculty taught me 3 or 4 years ago that I still glean from today. In my PRW 1 class I use my knowledge of universities and student theory to engage with my students on a personal level.

Lastly, I could not go without mentioning the amazing Faculty that taught me the value of transparency and vulnerability with students. I think students open up quicker with me because I admit my mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and give an appropriate amount of information about my personal life. I would not have thought that was possible without the mentorship over various Professors like Dr. David Bertrand, Professor Laura Robinson, Dr. Ashley Tull, and Dr. Kiersten Ferguson.

How did your education at Simmons prepare you for your professional career?

I would have to say that one meaningful aspect of my education was the practicality of the content and how the content was given. During my undergraduate years, I can recall learning about proper weight training methods in class and then shortly after we traveled to the weight room and physically learned the weight training methods to compliment what we discussed in the classroom. Additionally, during my Masters program we were able to incorporate various theories we learned in class and utilized them in our Internships to really bring light to the importance and accuracy of each theory.

What are some highlights from your experience as a SMU student?

I remember one of my undergraduate classes assignments asked us to go to the Star in Frisco shortly after it opened. That was an amazing experience because not only did we receive a tour, but also had the opportunity to speak with representatives from their media team. I am sure that opportunity is not available to the vast majority of college students outside of SMU.

Why are you proud to be a Simmons alum?

I am proud to be an alum because I believe Simmons is devoted to helping students realize their dreams and put them in the best position possible to succeed. The Faculty are accessible and knowledgeable which makes it easier for them to equip other alums and current students to do amazing works in their respective fields! I think Simmons is on the way to becoming the premier school for Human Development.