SAAC president prepares for home opener

Student Spotlight
Natalie Hurd, fourth-year industrial engineering major

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Rob Rauchwerger

Natalie Hurd poses for portrait on RIT’s soccer field.

Natalie Hurd, a fourth-year industrial engineering student, is the current president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), a national coalition under the NCAA that is designed to improve the experience of student-athletes and tighten athletics communities. Hurd, from Sammamish, Wash., is a four-year member of the RIT women’s soccer team. In her time away from the classroom and soccer field, Hurd enjoys baking banana bread, watching HGTV and reading Game of Thrones.

The RIT women’s soccer team will compete in its season opener at 5 p.m. today, Sept. 2, at Tiger Stadium. Admission to the game is free.

Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: I found RIT because of the industrial engineering program and immediately was drawn to the classes, co-op program and dedicated faculty.

Q: How did you get involved with the RIT athletics community?
A: RIT was the only school that I considered playing soccer at, and I kind of recruited myself onto the team because I’m from the west coast and there were fewer opportunities for the coaches to come out and see me play. RIT has such a special balance of athletics and academics. I don’t think that any other institution offers the same mix, especially not at the DIII level. It’s a great thing to be a part of.

Q: What is one of your proudest moments as a Tiger?
A: One of my proudest moments as a Tiger was receiving the opportunity to lead SAAC this year. I’m so grateful to be representing RIT athletics on an institutional level. I am going into my fourth year of involvement with SAAC, I joined as a first-year student, so to be able to take my level of involvement to the next level has been really rewarding.

Q: How do you find the balance between school, work, soccer and your role as SAAC president?

A: There has certainly been an adjustment period, but it’s all about figuring out what works best for you. Utilizing every free minute that you have in a purposeful way makes a world of difference when it comes to time management and balancing the three. There isn’t a lot of room for wasted time.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a student-athlete at RIT?
A: My favorite thing about being a student-athlete at RIT is having the opportunity to pursue my passion for the sport of soccer while also working toward a great education. I said it earlier, but there aren’t a lot of schools that have such strength in academics, but also place a lot of pride in the athletics community. It’s a pretty big school with a lot of opportunity and school spirit, and that translates into everything that we do.

Q: In what way has involvement with SAAC shaped your college experience?
A: SAAC has done so many things for my college experience. It helped me to build friendships with fellow athletes outside of my sport, and it provided me with valuable leadership experience. Most of all, it’s been a great place to learn and grow and better myself as a member of this community.

Q: Do you have plans to continue your involvement with soccer beyond your time at RIT?
A: You’ll definitely see me trying to tear up adult league soccer wherever I end up! RIT women’s soccer is such an incredible team and program that continues to grow and improve each year. I can’t imagine finding anything better than this. Got to end on a high note!

Q: What are your professional goals following your graduation from RIT?
A: After college I am very interested in technical sales in the software or information technology sectors. There are so many software companies doing amazing things, and I can’t wait to get out there and be a contributor.

Lauren Peace compiles “Student Spotlight” for University News. Contact her at with suggestions.