Athletics behind the scenes: Maria Rivera

Devin Boatwright, Staff Reporter

Maria Rivera of Oakland University’s Athletics Communications team has reached a point in life where she’s working her dream job. Everyday, she comes in to work excited and ready to tackle the tasks at hand. She is dedicated to her job and the people she helps through it.

Rivera graduated from Central Michigan University, where she thought she’d be a high school teacher. Fortunately for her, she knew that wasn’t what her passion was.

“It just hit me,” Rivera said. “I was sitting in a history lecture one day with about 100 students, and right then I just knew this was not at all what I want to do and I have zero interest in this.”

Rivera then talked to an advisor at Central who then redirected her to Public Relations. After making the switch, she took it as a major with a minor in sports management. From then on, the changes were night and day.

She interned and got involved wherever she could. She also continued her education and went into graduate school at Central Michigan. She stayed under the athletics department until 2016, when she came to Oakland. 

Rivera said her job and her peers bring her joy. She commends her team for all the hard work and she seems them as a support system stating that “…knowing they have my back makes this job so fun.” 

Despite having to work with many different people who could have very different personalities, Rivera says everyone gets along well and that they all mesh when it comes to work. 

“I just value them so much as people and my co-workers,” Rivera said. “I think that’s something that you can’t fake. When you genuinely care for the people you work with, it starts to overflow into your job. I value their work, their opinions, this is a very demanding job and I try to tell them how much I appreciate them as often as I can because they so some amazing things.” 

Rivera loves the fact that her job offers a new task everyday. She enjoys the challenge of taking several tasks at once and completing them.

“That’s what I love so much about this job,” Rivera said. “Every morning I wake up, I look at my calendar and see everything that I have to do for the day. Every single day I get at least one new meeting added to my calendar or something thrown at me that I wasn’t expecting, but I love that. I love it because it makes the job exciting and fun.

She has a lot of tasks as senior assistant athletic director, and enjoys her job while doing it. However, Maria is not the only person in our athletics department who manages communication work.

Max King and Meyke Phelps work closely with Rivera as coordinators of athletic communications, and will be featured in future Oakland Post editions.