Stephon L. Ricks


Milwaukee, WI

Academic Interests

Seeking a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Computer Science and a minor in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Plan on acquiring a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Computer Science after graduating

Fun Fact

I’m a QuestBridge Scholar and a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar I want to own a wolf dog hybrid one day.

I believe that the worst thing that a person can do in life is to become stagnant. Stagnation is a state of mind that prevents the achievement of feasible goals, and it is something that I often witnessed in those around me while growing up. As a result, I took it as a symbol of what to avoid as I went through my life journey. That being said, I love being proactive in every aspect of my life. Academics, extracurriculars, hobbies—all are areas of my life where my actions are done with the intent of further developing myself. I come from a small high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a graduating class of 38 students. For me, attending Duke meant being placed in a position where I would have to be more than who I was back in high school. And while I am currently seeking a B.S. degree in Computer Science and a minor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, I am also establishing the foundation to later acquire an MSc degree. Outside of academics, I am involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Duke Robotics Club. I joined both once arriving at Duke, so I can’t wait to see where each takes me later down the line!”

I am also a QuestBridge Scholar and a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar—two national, non-profit organizations that I am thrilled to be a part of as each has enabled me to be where I am today. Now, suppose I were to take a step outside of the academic pursuits and extracurricular involvements. In that case, there are a few key aspects that would remain: my love for television (especially anime), my intent to be healthy and physically active, and my interest in playing what I consider to be the best musical instrument—the piano. These three things, along with my other pursuits and achievements in life, make up who I am today.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

When I first heard about the SPIRE Fellows program, I immediately viewed it as an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. My mentor had advised me to become involved in college in three ways, specifically if I wanted to ensure a path of my desired career: joining a fellowship was one of these ways. He informed me that fellowships offer tutoring, financial support, and chances to network with faculty and other distinguished individuals. And on each one of these benefits, he was entirely right to mention them. Not only would I need the benefits, but I wanted the benefits because I knew they would assist me in acquiring my goals. And it is with this mentality that I showed my initial interest in the SPIRE Fellows program. However, after attending an info series, I learned that the program was more than just a means to an end for me. It was also the chance to make connections with others. Not to network, but to form lasting relationships. And as a person who was dealing with the infamous Imposter Syndrome, it cemented my desire to join the program.

Stephon L. Ricks.
Stephon L. Ricks