Rachel Heacock was not entirely fulfilled by her high school experience, so after her sophomore year ended, this 16-year-old took it upon herself to make a change. As an excellent student who wanted to be challenged further, Rachel applied to the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin College—the only Early College program in the country just for women. She was offered admission along with the Presidential Scholarship, the highest merit scholarship at Mary Baldwin. The decision may have been a big one, but Rachel decided to go for it.
At 16, Rachel is thriving in a college environment. She started a chapter of Her Campus at Mary Baldwin before she finished her freshman year, and she now attends the University of Virginia as a second-year transfer. In addition to being among the youngest college students in the world, Rachel is pursuing a career in a crazy competitive industry (especially for women!): she aims to become the first female General Manager of a Major League Baseball club. We say, dream big—clearly, this collegiette can do anything she sets her mind to!
Name: Rachel Heacock
College: University of Virginia
Majors: Undeclared, Interdisciplinary Major in Applied Statistics concentrated in Actuarial Finance
Graduation Year: 2018
Hometown: Centreville, Virginia
Instagram Handle: @rachelheacock
Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Rachel Heacock: Although it’s not glamorous, taking my GED exam. The Virginia Department of Education regulates that high school dropouts have to be at least 18 to attempt the GED exam. I left high school after only two years, so having a diploma or the equivalent is something I thought I never would. I was fortunate enough to be granted permission shortly after my 16th birthday to take the exam, so now I have my GED. I didn’t necessarily need it since I’m in school, but it’s wonderful to have at my age and I’m proud of it.
HC: What do you think is the biggest factor that led you to where you are today?
RH: I’m really blessed to have a wonderfully supportive family and friend group. My parents are such an inspiration, and I’m proud to be following in my father’s footsteps as a student at U.Va. I would not have been able to be so successful in my early college endeavors if I was without the encouragement of my friends and family. They know that when I have my heart set on something, I try to go get it. I’m grateful to them for always having my back, no matter what goal or dream I’m chasing after – even if it’s one as big as becoming a Major League GM.
HC: What are your top goals and priorities post-graduation?
RH: World travel is high on my list, because to me a worldly perspective is important in all aspects of life. But, I’d really like to start working in the MLB as soon as I can.
HC: Where did your passion for baseball come from?
RH: When I was in middle school, my family and I went to a baseball game together since a friend had tickets she couldn’t use. Somehow, I decided to pay attention instead of writing baseball off as boring, which is a common reaction. I learned that baseball players are very intelligent; there is so much thinking and strategy involved in the game below the surface of trying to connect the bat to the ball. From there, I wanted to learn everything I could about baseball. I’ve taken every opportunity to be involved with the sport since then, and every minute I spend around it, I grow more passionate.
HC: As a woman in a predominately male field, how do you want to make a difference?
RH: While my sole intent is not to break the glass ceiling of Major League Baseball, I do think it’s a shame that more women don’t possess executive positions in the MLB. I think some ball clubs don’t want to take the risk of putting a woman in charge, since no one has done it yet. If I ever get my call to the show, I hope at some point I’ll be able to encourage hires based on skill, experience and promise, regardless of gender.
HC: How has your age affected your goals and achievements while in college?
RH: While my age tends to be something that sets me apart from other students in my academic year, I try not to let it influence anything. My age is unrelated to the goals that I set for myself. It may make those goals harder to achieve, but I don’t let it deter me from going after anything.
Jamie is a senior Writing, Literature and Publishing major at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is the Her Campus Life Editor, a National Contributing Writer, and Campus Correspondent of the Emerson Her Campus chapter. Jamie plans to pursue a career in the magazine industry. See more of her work at: www.jamiemkravitz.com