Wildcat golfer advocates for diversity and equity within Division III athletics

Jaycee Rhodes ’24 shares passion for diversifying Division III after attending competitive national immersion program.
Headshot of Jaycee Rhodes

Last January, St. Catherine University student-athlete Jaycee Rhodes ’24 traveled to San Antonio, Texas for the NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program. Held annually since 2015, the NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program provides BIPOC junior and senior students with development opportunities in leadership careers within Division III athletics. The program aims to foster diversity in the division by creating a pipeline of talented BIPOC candidates with a strong interest in coaching and administration. 

Rhodes, a double major in business administration and business-to-business sales, is the first St. Kate’s student selected for the national program. “We are all so proud of her! It is an excellent recognition of Jaycee's leadership talent and her accomplishments,” said Mary Henderson ’80, EdD, professor of business administration. “By participating in this program, Jaycee expanded her knowledge as a leader and is more prepared for her future professional career and the many opportunities ahead.”

As a Wildcat golfer, Rhodes was nominated for the competitive, fully funded program by assistant athletic director Madge Makowske MAOL’02. During the convention, 40 students took part in trainings such as DiSC, an assessment that helps individuals better understand their behavioral tendencies and tailor their leadership and teamwork approaches. Throughout the program, Rhodes gained invaluable insights from her experience, including the importance of networking, making impactful first impressions, and the value of forming relationships with other BIPOC athletes who share similar experiences. 

“I want to grow the game of golf,” said Rhodes. “Diversity in athletics is essential to growing women’s sports and providing equal opportunity for people from all different backgrounds. Providing current student-athletes of color with a supportive and open-minded policy to share their own experiences within their team is extremely valuable.” 

Rhodes looks forward to creating inclusive experiences within athletics in the future.