RICHMOND, Va. – The University of Richmond Spider Performance and Development and the Spider Athletic Fund hosted the inaugural PowHER On event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the title IX passing. The event was held in conjunction and collaboration with Dr. Mia Reinoso Genoni, Dean of Westhampton College, and Dr. Sandra Peart, Dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.
The luncheon and panel provided an opportunity to connect current and past female student-athletes from Spider to share their experiences and celebrate their accomplishments. This event is part of the annual celebration of women’s athletics by Spider Athletics.
“The inaugural PowHER On event provided an incredible experience to empower, inspire and celebrate women in athletics,” said the Senior Associate Athletic Director. Lauren Wicklund said.
The panel included Spider Athletics alumni Dr. Judy Hopkins ’74 (field hockey, basketball, lacrosse), Amber Nichols ’14 (basketball), Meredith Ryan-Reid ’98 (lacrosse) and Nikita Thomas ’10 (basketball) . Panelists shared stories and insights from their professional journeys and focused on the importance of networking, authenticity, and leveraging their time on campus to help prepare for life after college. .
At the end of the panel, Wicklund and Associate Athletics Director for Development, Brandon Hodginsannounced Dr. Hopkins and her husband, Hop, have generously provided $50,000 to inspire others to join PowHER On Giving Week and the rest of the year in celebrating and supporting student-athletes around the world. ‘UR.
PowHER On Giving Week takes place October 3-7. All funds raised will go directly to efforts to provide a high performance experience for our female student-athletes, such as hosting female leadership events, providing experiential and academic opportunities, and direct support for our athletic programs. feminine. There are three distinct ways to support Spider student-athletes, as follows:
- Women’s Athletics Fund
- Sport Specific Donations
- Spider performance and development program.
If you wish to participate, you can do so by click here or via Venmo at @SpiderGiving. Please include your name, funds, and year of study in the notes section.
For more information on the Spider Athletic Fund, please click here.
Dr Judy Hopkins ’74
Dr. Judy Hopkins graduated from the University of Richmond in 1974, where she competed in basketball, field hockey and lacrosse. After his time in Richmond, Hopkins earned his doctorate at the University of Virginia. Dr. Hopkins’ clinical interests include breast cancer treatment, breast cancer prevention, genetics, survivorship, and leukemia treatment.
She was chair of SCOR Cancer Care Delivery Research, a member of the NCI Breast Oncology Local Disease Task Force, and a member of the NCI Symptom Management and Quality of Life Steering Committee. She sits on several committees dedicated to cancer research, symptom management and elderly populations.
Dr. Hopkins has a passion for skiing and hiking and owns a 110-acre farm in Blacksburg, South Carolina with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law.
Amber Nichols ’14
Amber Nichols played four years of college basketball at the University of Richmond, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology. The Raleigh, North Carolina native went on to study at the University of Georgia, where she earned her master’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports management and policy.
Nichols was named the second general manager in franchise history ahead of the start of the 2020-21 NBA G League season, which was held in Orlando, Florida. Nichols joined Tori Miller of the College Park Skyhawks as the only two black women in NBA G League general management. Nichols’ breakthrough career path also helped her make the Forbes 30 Under 30 for Sports list in 2022.
Under Nichols, the Go-Go reached the Playoffs for the first time in 2021-22, setting a franchise record with 28 wins during the season. Capital City also earned its first-ever playoff win, beating College Park at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Meredith Ryan-Reid ’98
Meredith Ryan-Reid is Chief Executive Officer of Versant Health, a leading national administrator of managed vision care and a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, Inc.
Under his leadership, Versant Health helps people access the wonders of sight by serving more than 38.5 million customer members nationwide. Versant Health solutions span the entire eye health spectrum – from routine vision benefits to medical management.
Commercial groups, employer-sponsored plans, and health plans that serve government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid and Medicare are some of Versant Health’s primary stakeholders.
Prior to joining Versant Health, Ryan-Reid served as senior vice president and head of MetLife’s Financial Wellness & Engagement organization, which focuses on voluntary benefits growth and new product development in the wellness space. being financial and digital, including Upwise, a financial wellness app, and Aura, a smart digital security solution for families. Additionally, she led MetLife’s global innovation team, which works with investors and entrepreneurs to find partnerships and investment opportunities in solutions that enable growth and build customer lifetime value.
Nikita Thomas ’10
Nikita Thomas grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and is a graduate of the University of Richmond, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2010. She was also a student-athlete in women’s basketball for 4 years. After college, Nikita became a police officer for the Richmond (VA) Police Department for 5 years before moving to the United States Secret Service.
Today, Nikita is a special agent and criminal investigator. She began her service in the Field Office in Washington, D.C. During her career, she conducted numerous investigations regarding criminal, employment and intelligence matters and coordinated logistics regarding the protection of foreign heads of state in visit to the United States.
Currently, Nikita is part of the presidential protection department, where she has been working for 2 years. In this role, she performs domestic and foreign advance duties and logistical support for first and second families and other beneficiaries as directed by the United States Constitution and Executive Order.