Senior Spotlight: Rachel Seigerman

By Tristan E. M. Leach

With red-painted lips, Rachel Seigerman, smiles as she is hoisted into the air. From the top of the pyramid, she is supported by her fellow teammates as she holds a split. The crowd cheers as she lands a perfect flip; it is moments like this that Seigerman lives for. 

Seigerman, a senior arts and entertainment industries management major, has always fostered a passion for the arts. When she was applying to colleges, Seigerman knew she wanted to pursue the arts, but she wasn’t sure which direction to go. 

“I loved [Rider’s] focus on the arts. As I got to know [Rider] I liked that the AEIM program, which is arts business, falls under the arts at Rider, where at other schools [AEIM] would fall under the business program,” said Seigerman. 

For Seigerman, the opportunity to participate in multiple facets of the world of art was the draw. Seigerman first heard about the program through a mutual friend, who felt Seigerman would enjoy it. She described the program as the perfect combination of business and arts. 

The AEIM program turned out to be a fit for Seigerman. Her classes have given her real-world experience and have allowed her to dip her toes into different types of work that goes into the arts. Seigerman said that her favorite class was Arts and Education Outreach, a class that teaches the value of the arts in school programs and other places.

“I’ve always loved working with kids in the arts. It is my passion to watch them grow through the arts and be able to tell their story. I’ve gotten to witness that firsthand,” said Seigerman with a smile. 

AEIM isn’t the only great opportunity that Rider has provided for Seigerman. Starting her sophomore year, Seigerman became a member of Rider’s cheer team, allowing her to continue her career as a cheerleader, which began when Seigerman was 11 years old. 

Rachel Seigerman (top left) poses with the Rider cheer team in their cranberry and white uniforms. Photo courtesy of Rachel Seigerman

“I always wanted to be a cheerleader. I started in what’s called Pop Warner Cheerleading, which is a type of sideline cheerleading. At the end of Pop Warner Cheerleading, there was a couple competitions and I was like, ‘Oh, I really like this competition aspect,’” said Seigerman. 

Soon enough, Seigerman’s chance to be on a competitive cheerleading team fell into her lap. The team she was on for the last 12 years and for which she is now a helping coach, Jerzey Jewelz, moved into the building where Seigerman was taking gymnastics. 

“I fell in love with [cheerleading]. The dynamics, the hard work that it took. I love the glitz and the glamour that came with [cheerleading], but I also love the teamwork and the family aspect behind it,” said Seigerman. 

Seigerman is a flyer, a cheerleader who is lifted into the air and is at the top of stunts or pyramids. For three years, Seigerman has cheered for Rider’s basketball teams. Even during stunts that had the audience holding their breath, Seigerman and the rest of her teammates wore smiles of joy. 

“When you’re with a team, you’re trusting everyone around you to do their job and to have you, basically, in their hands. That’s when you really count on each other, and that’s what I love about cheerleading is the bond that it brings,” said Seigerman. 

Vicki Trucksess, cheerleading coordinator, is an alumna of Rider and returned in the 2018 season as a volunteer coach. This is her first year leading the team. When talking about Seigerman, Trucksess described her love and passion for the sport. 

“She is by far one of the most dedicated athletes that I have ever had the privilege and opportunity to work with. No matter what is needed… Rachel is always the first person to jump to take that opportunity to help out,” said Trucksess. 

Seigerman credits cheerleading with teaching her how to overcome her fears and helping her grow as a person. Cheerleading did another important thing for Seigerman: show her the importance of mental health, especially in athletes.

In the last few years, Rider has started the important discussion around mental health in athletes, and the pressure that college athletes face in the classroom and in their sport. Seigerman is a member of Morgan’s Message, a nationwide nonprofit organization that advocates for the mental health of athletes and the importance of encouraging athletes to talk about how they’re feeling.

Seigerman proudly wears her Morgan’s Message T-shirt and speaks freely about mental health and the importance of advocating for yourself and others. Cheerleading and everything that comes with it have shaped Seigerman into the woman she is today. 

After graduating in May, Seigerman hopes to work for a nonprofit organization that focuses on the arts and providing those artistic opportunities to children. Seigerman carries the belief that art is for all and that the only thing stopping someone is themself. 

Seigerman said, “I always live by the saying ‘When words fail, arts speak.’”

This article is part of the ‘Senior Spotlight’ series created by The Rider News to highlight exceptional women on Rider’s campus. 

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