Baylor University
Department of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

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Honors - Erika Rickord

Erika Rickord

"I always wanted to be a doctor, but I've since decided that medical school was going to take a bit too long. For a while, I wanted to do genetics research – but I've found that research isn't really my thing. I always liked CSI on television, so that's why I have a minor in Forensics, but I don't really want to work for a police department. It's also similar to being a doctor, with those long hours and on-call duty at two in the morning. That turned me off."

Erika was a career counselor's nightmare: a student intelligent enough to do well in any class she took but completely unsure of her future. "The only thing I was sure of was Crew. My freshman year I wasn't very involved on campus, and I really felt like something was missing. And one day one of my friends said, ‘Hey, you're tiny and loud; you should do Crew!' I didn't know much about it, but I gave it a shot. And I loved it! I became a coxswain, which means I steer the boat and yell, and make sure that the rowers are encouraged and happy."

Erika took comfort in being involved with an on-campus organization and all the support that provides, but still feared for the future. It's difficult to narrow down career options when you're good at just about everything you set your mind to. Only recently has she settled on becoming a physician's assistant. "It's less intense than being a doctor, but you still get to do doctor-like things and have a normal, human schedule. I'm hoping to do either surgery or pediatrics." Erika is proof that a student doesn't need to have a specific goal in mind from the very beginning to be successful. "I feel very prepared for PA school. I've taken a lot of courses that I won't end up using, but I don't regret that at all." Education is, for Erika, its own reward – and without trying out all those other career paths; she wouldn't have known they were wrong for her. She's just glad Baylor is strong in enough different areas to accommodate each change of heart.

Department of Biology