Student Spotlight: Richmond Richter
It was the triple jump that led Richmond Richter to College of DuPage.
He started jumping as a freshman at Romeoville High School. By the time he was a senior, Richter was a top athlete with impressive results: a top 10 finish at the Illinois state high school meet, first place in the state of Illinois for USA Track and Field, and seventh in the nation for USATF.
In fall 2009, Richter took one class at COD in Naperville. But that decision had more to do with his passion.
"It was the closest school that had track and it wasn't that expensive," he said. "Another major factor was that Troy Doris was at COD. He later transferred to the University of Iowa and became the number one triple jumper in the Big Ten and one of the top in the country."
He also heard that COD had a great pre-engineering program.
"As a kid, I was always curious about how things worked, like televisions and video games. I also opened a lot of things up and ended up never putting them back together," he said. "My cousin Albert Akuamoah, a computer engineer, saw that I had what it took to be an engineer and he introduced me to the field."
The combination of academics and athletics worked. In his first year on the track team, Richter was COD's second-best triple jumper behind Doris and placed second to him at nationals, helping to contribue to the team's national title. He credits former track coach Jane Vatchev for taking him under her wing. Meanwhile, in the classroom, Richter met the challenge of his professors.
"Tom Carter's Physics for Science and Engineering made me realize that the field was not going to be a piece of cake," he said. "Then I was challenged in David Fazzini's Physics for Science and Engineering 2, which I actually put in a lot of hours for that class. But the faculty really helped me out: Professor David Smith guided me, Tom Carter gave me all the help I needed, and David Fazzini wrote a letter of recommendation for me.
"I also learned a lot from my math teachers like professors James Africh and Anthony Leonard. Africh made my Calculus 3 class fun and lively, and Leonard made my Differential Equations class challenging but understandable."
Richter, who is originally from Accra, Ghana, and has been playing the piano since he was 8 years old, also liked being exposed to the wide variety of students at College of DuPage.
"I made a lot of friends of different ethnicities and different religions, which made me question my faith and do a lot more research, and then try to reach out to more people in my faith," he said.
Richter earned his associate's degree in Engineering at COD and transferred to study electrical engineering at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he finished his first semester with a 3.82 GPA. He also participated in track, placing first in the triple jump at the 2013 Chicagoland Championships and third at the Big 10 conference championships.
His ultimate goal is to develop a new invention. During the summer of 2013, he built a trip wire laser alarm system.
"I want to come up with something to make life a lot easier," he said. "I've always liked new technology and am updated on new gadgets. I also wish to write books, travel and minister to people in my later years. I started writing this summer and while I don't know where the book is heading, at least I started.
"The years I spent at COD really opened my eyes. I use to be totally different in high school but I became more ambitious, and my character also changed thanks to COD."
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