Winter Commencement 2022: Undergrad researcher ready for her next chapter

Gabi Richards '22

Gabi Richards '22 has a passion for the outdoor environment, and it shows.

From getting her feet wet in research by walking local streams in search of microscopic bugs to traveling to North America’s northernmost city to collect core ice samples in minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, Richards has made the most of her brief time at Radford.

Since her first semester at the university, the senior from Bealeton, Virginia, has worked closely with faculty on research, specifically Assistant Professor of Biology Jamie Lau, Ph.D., and Professor of Physics Rhett Herman, Ph.D.

“They have been wonderful to work with,” Richards said, “and Dr. Lau has been a mentor for all things from the beginning.”

The beginning for Richards was 2 ½ years ago. “I kind of fast-tracked my way through Radford, taking overload credits every semester,” she explained. Along the way, she became heavily involved on campus, serving as president of Tri Beta, the biology honor society, and working as advisor to the Summer Bridge program for young women in STEM.

Now, on Saturday, Dec. 10, she will be among the graduates receiving their diplomas at Radford’s Winter Commencement.

“I’m super excited, and it doesn’t feel real,” said Richards, a biology major minoring in environmental sciences. “I’ve worked so much on school, and now, all of a sudden, everything is done. I have no more schoolwork left to do.”

Richards’ family will be at commencement Saturday, cheering her on. “My grandparents, my parents and my partner will be there,” she explained. “They’re all excited, too.’

Up next for Richards is attending graduate school. At Radford.

She plans to earn a master’s degree in teacher education and become an educator, like her mom, because, she said, “I’ve always been drawn to tutoring and working with kids.”

When Richard first stepped foot on the Radford campus, she decided right then that “this was where I wanted my home to be for the next few years,” she said. That’s one reason she chose to work toward her graduate degree here.

“It still feels like home,” she said.

Dec 9, 2022
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761