When Rickey Leachman, ’16, transferred to Seattle U at age 24, his life felt worlds apart from that of his undergraduate peers. He had served five years in the U.S. Navy and had attended a St. Louis public high school with mostly African-American students. And was a recent transfer from a community college.
Rickey chose Seattle U in part because he “didn’t want to be another number.” He found a sense of community on campus when he discovered a collegium for transfer students. “Feeling I had a place on campus to go where I would see other students in the same predicament as I was made me feel like I was not the only one on campus.” Soon he became a Transfer Success Leader, reaching out to other transfer students to “build community throughout the year.”
Seeing Rickey’s diligence, a fellow veteran asked him to take over as VetCorps Navigator. Rickey’s own experience had taught him that other veterans were probably struggling just as he once had. “Most vets are not going to ask for help and then they have problems like I did. It’s not big stuff but if it starts to add up, you’re going to withdraw.”
Building community became a theme for Rickey, a psychology major who strongly believes in “perceived social support.” It’s one reason he was vice president of the Black Student Union. “… It’s a way of feeling connected to other African Americans on campus.”
A sense of community also drove the aspiring psychologist when he counseled homeless youth whose hardscrabble lives resembled his own. “I try to show those kids that if I can go to college, anybody can go to college.”
Rickey credits his Seattle U education with expanding his knowledge, which shapes the way he approaches situations with clients and furthers his career goals.
Since graduation, Rickey has gone on to become a medical case manager at Lifelong Aids Alliance. In his role, Rickey helps clients navigate barriers to receiving healthcare.
Rickey hopes to return to Seattle University to pursue a Masters in Psychology, so he can continue to make a difference and serve the needs of at-risk communities.