Profile: Austin Richey
Freshman Austin Richey of New Albany is what one might call a "jack of all trades."
The mechanical engineering major discovered in high school STEM courses that he enjoys problem-solving and working in technical areas. His interests led him to compete with SKILLS USA and Technical Students of America, as well as afforded him the opportunity to participate in a NASA program for high school students.
When he began his college career at Mississippi State, he joined FarmHouse fraternity, where he serves as risk management chair. He also became involved with Extension's 4-H program, which students may remain active in through age 24. He serves as a leader in Southern Sounds, a group of 4-H affiliated musicians who have performed numerous times in Washington, D.C.
He also earned the Congressional Award, the United States Congress' award for young Americans based on volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration—a component that requires participants to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture or environment. Richey did a woodland expedition and became certified as an advanced scuba diver in the process.
Now, he consults with other high school and college students to encourage them to work toward the Congressional Award. He also serves as a social media consultant, recruiting youth to help adults and business professionals better understand social media. He mentors "tech wizards," a group of youth who are highly skilled with technology.
Another achievement, Richey's team won the grand prize during a 4-H Film Festival for "Journey to the Gold," a film about the Congressional Award, which Congress plans to include on its website.
"I've done everything from carpentry to social media. You never know what I'll end up doing, but it's always good to have something else that you're trained in," Richey said.
He said he loves the outdoors. Hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports are appealing to him. He especially loves the different world he experiences while scuba diving.
While Richey has many challenges ahead, especially as he gets further into the mechanical engineering curriculum, he seems able to meet any test head on.
"You've always got to put your best foot forward, and you've got to get past it," he said.
Next week … Cedric Gathings !