Steven Ricke, assistant director of admissions, is a First Gen student who holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from Buena Vista University and a Master of Science in sports and recreation administration from Western Kentucky University.

A major motivator related to Ricke’s decision to attend college was the encouragement of his mom, but he also had very personal reasons to give it a shot. “Honestly, the main motivating factor for me to go to college was to be able to continue my athletic career. I wasn’t ready to be done competing and I knew college was going to be an opportunity for me to continue to do what I love.”

The relationships Ricke was able to build during college were one of the best parts of his college experience and he deeply appreciates all the ways those friendships have continued to pay dividends in his life long after graduation, sharing, “It’s so amazing to see friends hit high marks in their lives.”

Ricke acknowledges that many times First Gen students are worried about what they don’t know and making missteps, to which he expresses, “You’re going to make mistakes. If it happens you just acknowledge them and use those as lessons to become a better version of yourself.”