Current Scholar Spotlight: LeRoy Ricksy

LeRoy RicksyGrowing up in Harlem in New York City, LeRoy Ricksy loved football.

Especially that “team in red.”

As he got older, the “team in red” became Ohio State, and LeRoy realized the school also had a great academic side. “From there, I applied, received a scholarship as a Morrill Scholar, and there was no chance I would tune it down.”

Once accepted by his “dream school,” the summer before LeRoy began classes at The Ohio State University, he met Dan Thomas, a program manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male (BNRC), during the BNRC’s Leadership Institute. The institute prepares students for campus and community leadership that positively impacts the quality of life for African American males.

After attending the Leadership Institute, LeRoy was exposed to Band of Brothers, the student organization extension of the BNRC that focuses on scholarship, service, professional development, and brotherhood.

“I was instantly sold.”

LeRoy had the opportunity to attend the BNRC Early Arrival Program but was unable to attend due to a prior commitment for the Early Arrival Program for the Morrill Scholars Distinction Scholars.

“Although I was not a part of BNRC’s EAP, I was welcomed with open arms by my fellow freshmen as well as program coordinators as if I was a member of the EAP.”

Because of the BNRC, LeRoy has received many opportunities, two which really stand out for him. The first was the opportunity to attend the 2015 International Colloquium on Black Males in Education, a place to exchange ideas and perspectives concerning the global dynamics of Black males in the educational pipeline.

“This experience allowed me to interact with fellow collegiate students who had a keen interest in Black Male representation in education as well as allowing to interact with some locals and learn more about Kingston, Jamaica.”

The second was the overall opportunity to impact and interact with African American males at Ohio State. “Being a part of the BNRC, I have the opportunity to work with a handful of those males before their first collegiate class and to begin to help shape their journey.”

Currently a Criminology/Criminal Justice major on a Pre-Law track, LeRoy is a senior intending to graduate in May 2018. Post-graduation, LeRoy will be working full time as a Territory Sales Manager for Altria Group Distribution Company.

“Following that, I am planning to continue my journey with law school and become a Criminal Defense Attorney.”

Apart from the assistance he has received from the BNRC and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Morrill Scholars Program, LeRoy has plenty of others who inspire him to succeed, especially within his family.

“Having an older sister who completed college and left her impact at Penn State was an inspiration for me to come to Ohio State and leave a similar impact. My mom heavily influences my inspiration because she figured a way to raise two children in some of the most difficult circumstances a mother can go through. My father has a drive for wisdom and knowledge, something I try to replicate in my daily activities. And finally, my maternal grandparents, who were my biggest believers growing up. They could see positives when others weren’t. It is because of them that I strive daily to continue making them proud of the grandchild who others counted out at an early age.”


Prior Spotlights

Melanie Russell spotlight

Melanie Russell spotlight

Melanie Russell’s path to medical school began in the 6th grade with a request to come to the guidance counselor’s office at the Cleveland School of the Arts. “I didn’t know why I was asked to come to the office; I thought I was in trouble!” Instead, Melanie was told about the Young Scholars Program. 

 Read more about Melanie Russell.

Carly Sobol Spotlight

Carly Sobol Spotlight

Growing up in a small community in Dayton, Ohio, Carly Sobol was fortunate to receive a great education, be surrounded by inspiring individuals, and have a strong family unit. “My family was one of a few Jewish families in the neighborhood. I learned at a young age the value of tradition and the challenges that come with being unique. I loved explaining my heritage to friends and learning more about theirs.”

 Read more about Carly Sobol.

LaRazia Tolbert Spotlight

LaRazia Tolbert Spotlight

The neighborhood in Youngstown where LaRazia Tolbert grew up wasn’t the kind of place, she says, where people wanted to stay or come back to. “Where I’m from, no one says they want to return; everyone is trying to escape with no looking back.” But LaRazia looks at her community from a different perspective: she, too, wants to leave but only so that she can return and bring back what she has learned and better where she is from.

 Read more about LaRazia Tolbert.

Alexis Myers spotlight

Alexis Myers spotlight

When she first came to The Ohio State University as a Young Scholar, Alexis Myers never thought of herself as someone who could be a role model or a mentor. Little did she know that at Ohio State, Alexis would become an Academic Success Partner within the Young Scholars Program. “When I came to Ohio State, I never thought of myself as someone who could be a role model or a mentor for anyone else, but when this opportunity came to me, I knew I needed to take advantage,” she said. Read more about Alexis Myers.

Kyla Wilson spotlight

Kyla Wilson spotlight

Kyla Wilson has put a lot of thought into her career path. “I always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, but I hate science so that didn’t work. As for the law, I like reading, but law just bored me!” Her uncle would tell Kyla, who was good at math, that since she was in the fourth grade, she should know her multiplication tables. “He made me work in a composition book every day over the summer.” By the end of the summer, Kyla was hooked, and she knew that arithmetic was going to play a part in her future.

 Read more about Kyla Wilson.

MiChaela Barker spotlight

MiChaela Barker spotlight

Through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, The Ohio State University and 10 additional Ohio colleges and universities are helping to increase underrepresented student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.  As one of 78 LSAMP scholars on the Ohio State campus, MiChaela Barker has found a community that not only understands her on a cultural level but on an academic level as well. Read more about MiChaela Barker.

Shelly Martin spotlight

Shelly Martin spotlight

If there is one thing that Shelly Martin has learned, it is that education can light up a dark world. And when she realized that her passion was people, she combined those two certainties into her life’s work and purpose. Read more about Shelly Martin.

Zaid Hightower spotlight

Zaid Hightower spotlight

The spring before Zaid Hightower was ready to begin classes at The Ohio State University, he received an email from the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, inviting him to attend the Center’s Early Arrival Program (EAP). It was his mother who read the email and told Zaid that he needed to attend the program. Read more about Zaid Hightower.

Maya Prabhu Spotlight

Maya Prabhu Spotlight

The day in April 2013 that Maya Prabhu received the Morrill Scholarship will forever be etched in her memory. “It was a day of tears, hugs, and – most importantly – empowerment. Since that day, my experiences with the Morrill Scholars Program and the Distinction Scholarship have given me many tools and resources that I know will help me succeed in all areas of my life.” Read more about Maya Prabhu.

Daniel Moussa Spotlight

Daniel Moussa Spotlight

Daniel Moussa has long been interested in the sciences, and his background in sports has led him to focus on the “silent epidemic” of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which are often the results of sports accidents. “As someone who plays sports, I am aware of the dangers of concussions, which are a type of TBI, and their long-term effects,” Daniel stated. Read more.


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