Commencement Feature: Achieving goals on and off the field | Kelsey Takahashi

Kelsey and teammates with their regional trophy

Marketing senior Kelsey Takahashi is achieving goals in the classroom, and scoring them on the field.

The student athlete had her pick of universities to attend and play soccer for, but knew the college she chose needed to be a strong fit academically and environmentally as well.

“I definitely wanted to play soccer in college, but it was important to me to choose the school based on academics, environment and team culture, too, and UCCS checked all of those boxes for me,” said Kelsey. “I was able to meet professors, advisors, other personnel and the rest of the soccer team while visiting campus. I really loved the team culture – it’s a great program that prioritizes academics as well as athletic performance, and values coming together as a team to achieve goals.”

Kelsey on the soccer field

One of those recently-achieved goals was capturing the women’s soccer South Central Region Title and making the national quarterfinals for just the second time in the program’s history.

“Winning the title was unforgettable – it was the farthest that me and the other upperclassmen had ever gone in the NCAA tournament, so it was such a cool experience, and to lift the trophy was really sweet,” Kelsey laughed.

Being part of the soccer team has given Kelsey the chance to meet close friends and learn more about balancing sports, studies and her personal life. She’s also been able to combine her love of sports with her passion for digital art and design through her role as Social Media Manager for the team.

“It’s definitely been challenging,” she noted. “It takes a lot of organization, time management and being able to communicate well with others, but it’s shaped me in a really positive way. I’ll hold these experiences, lessons and friendships throughout the rest of my life.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to do the social media for my team,” she added. “I love graphic design, so it gave me an opportunity to do it in a meaningful way and it was really great experience. It’s also helped me realize how much I enjoy sport marketing.”

That love for art and design started in high school and guided her towards the marketing path.

“I took photography for four years, and my photography teacher in high school was a significant part of cultivating my interest, and eventually it turned into digital graphics and working in the 4d space,” she said. “It’s evolved over time and I’ve continued pursuing it here at UCCS. I’ve taken visual arts classes and the social media position has been a great outlet.”

That isn’t the only student job Kelsey’s had while at UCCS. She’s also the eCommunications and Marketing Student Assistant, for which she assists with email marketing, ad content, graphic design and more, including projects like this comprehensive guide on Colorado Springs activities and attractions.

Part of what Kelsey’s loved about making the long-distance move from Hawaii to Colorado has been trying those activities and local haunts, along with new experiences in a much different environment.

Kelsey with her mom, dad and sister

“Back home it’s always rainy or sunny, so it was really cool to be in snow for the first time, going sledding and making snow angels, and seeing the leaves change color,” said Kelsey. “One of my favorite things that I tried was ice skating in Acacia Park with my friends.”

“I love the access to professional sports teams, because we don’t have that back home either,” she continued. “I’ve been to Nuggets and Rockies games, the environment is so electric and it’s a really fun experience.”

Kelsey enjoyed those experiences so much that working with a professional Colorado sports team has been added to her potential career goals.

“I plan to be in Colorado for a while, and eventually move to Denver,” she said. “I think it would be really interesting to work for a specific team like the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Rapids, so that’s something I’d like to explore more.”

Though Kelsey is about to graduate with her bachelor’s, her time at UCCS isn’t over. She’ll be pursuing an MBA to expand on her education while continuing to assisting the eComm and Marketing department as a student employee.

“I always knew that I wanted to go further with my education,” explained Kelsey. “Getting a graduate degree is valuable and helps one get a better understanding of what you’re going into, and I ​feel ​like ​I ​still ​have ​more ​experiences ​to ​make ​at ​UCCS.”