Alumna fulfills dream of working in Major League Baseball

  • March 6, 2024
  • Robin Burck

2022 graduate traveled all the way from Japan to study sport management at CWU

Risa Shigeto (’22) always knew she wanted to work in the world of sports, and more specifically, in baseball.

Growing up in Japan, Shigeto says her family always had a big interest in baseball and she had a dream to one day have a career related to the sport.

“I grew up playing every sport in Japan, and my family loves baseball,” she said. “Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan, and I always wanted to be part of this baseball culture and connect different countries through professional baseball somehow. That is why sport management at Central stood out to me.”

Shigeto visited the United States when she was in high school to look at colleges, and she remembers falling in love with the quieter environment offered at Central Washington University.

During her visit, she and her uncle met with CWU Sport Management faculty, who talked through what the program looked like and potential career options. She noticed that other colleges she was considering didn’t have the same opportunities as CWU related to her passion for sports, and that’s why Central became her top college choice.

risa-shigeto-3.jpegOnce she arrived on campus, Shigeto was faced with learning in English for the first time, which proved to be a challenge in the beginning.

“I think I was one of the only international students in my major of sport management, so I honestly struggled a little bit in terms of learning in English for the first time ever,” she said. “I got used to it and started learning how to learn different things in different languages, and then decided to join the Sport Management Club.”

Not only did she join the club, but Shigeto decided to take on the position of marketing coordinator before later becoming club president.

In that role, she ran the club’s social media pages and helped promote events and guest speakers, as well as offering support to the Northwest Center for Sport.

After earning her sport management degree from Central, Shigeto took an internship with the Yakima Valley Pippins, a West Coast League summer collegiate baseball team, and also joined a program called MLB On Deck.

“When I finished the MLB On Deck program, the Diamondbacks reached out to me via LinkedIn and thought I would be a good fit to join their team,” Shigeto said. “The Arizona Diamondbacks also decided that, if needed, they could offer support with possibly going through the green card process for me to be able to continue working in the long term. That was something they were able to offer me but no other organization did.”

Shigeto took the job with the D-Backs and now serves as an account executive with the suite and hospitality team.

In this role, she helps guests book suites and provides hospitality for guests on gameday who have purchased suites. Among other ther duties, she also handles season tickets, group tickets, and suites for concerts and events.

Now living in Arizona, Shigeto attended the CWU Alumni Association’s Phoenix-area AlumNight last year, where she got to network and connect with fellow Wildcats. She is looking forward to attending again this year with her husband ,who is also a CWU alum.

“Through this event, you can create connections that you don’t even expect to make,” Shigeto said. “It felt really nice to stay connected and talk about college experiences outside of Washington state, which we never thought we would have had a chance to do. It creates a sense of unity and it’s nice to still feel part of something even after graduation.”

If you’re interested in learning more about CWU AlumNights in your area, visit


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Robin Burck

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