Diandre Richie in front of Dobo Hall on the UNCW campus

September 15, 2021

Diandre’ Richie’s desire to explore the environment and the ocean began as a child. He wanted to make an impact on the world, and that calling led him to become an environmental sciences major.

“Although we occupy the same planet, each country deals with different aspects of environmental issues,” he said. “The United States, for instance, mainly deals with invasive species, loss of biodiversity and climate change, whereas Australia primarily deals with overfishing and pollution. Being an environmental sciences major allows me to tie these issues together to help me see them as one big picture rather than individual problems.”

Richie will have the opportunity to gain a global view of environmental sciences in the United Kingdom in spring 2022. He was awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship,from the U.S. Department of State; the award provides financial support for students studying abroad or participating in international internships. Richie, a native of Charlotte, NC, will use this opportunity to network and connect with environmental sciences professionals.

“The experience will help tremendously with my goal of tying in different environmental world issues,” he said. “Becoming a Gilman Scholar is such a monumental achievement, and to be selected as one out of the hundreds to thousands of applicants that they have every year is such a blessing.”

When Richie isn’t in class or the research lab, he works as a student program assistant at the Swain Center. He helps staff events and manages communication between instructors and workshop participants.

“A lot of the people that I have met have professional jobs, and hearing their stories about how they’ve gotten to where they are inspire me to push harder and to believe in my dreams,” he said.

Richie is also involved in the UNCW Black Student Union, Geo-Club, and UNCW’s chapter of the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association. He encourages first-year students to connect with a senior in their field of study or similar interests.

“Being able to ask questions relating to each other’s majors is beneficial because it gives you an inside look into what you’ll be doing, how to plan your future courses and what professors to go to,” he said.

Richie noted that having a support system of friends made his first year at UNCW a success, despite the challenges of COVID-19. “My friends made my first year at UNCW the best that it could have been.”

-- Venita Jenkins