A son of working-class immigrants, Ricky grew up in rural North Carolina and is a product of public schools. Working two jobs in high school while juggling school and sports, Ricky strived to achieve a dream familiar to many North Carolinians: to go to college and get a good job to be able to support his family.
A first-generation college student, Ricky’s dream finally came true when he was accepted into UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar. He found his passion for public service while at UNC, mentoring other high school students who grew up in similar circumstances and were working hard to make their own dreams come true. These experiences set him on a path to eventually attend graduate school at Princeton University, focusing on how to create effective public policy to fight poverty and inequality and build strong, vibrant communities.
After a brief time as a consultant and policy analyst supporting nonprofits and foundations across the country, Ricky knew in his heart it was time to do this work where it mattered most: at home. Now, as a Professor at UNC Chapel Hill and the Co-Executive Director of an education initiative supporting first-generation college students and immigrant families break down barriers to educational opportunity, he is fighting to make sure everyone that invests in North Carolina has a fair shot to thrive in North Carolina.
Ricky’s leadership in the community does not end there. Beyond fighting to expand access to quality public education and college opportunity, Ricky holds a number of community leadership positions in his pursuit to build a better future for all children and families across North Carolina. He serves on the steering committee for Alamance Achieves, an innovative education initiative in Alamance County; is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for NC Child, a statewide child advocacy organization; is a Commissioner for MyFutureNC, a commission to advance college attainment and workforce development across North Carolina; and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of North Carolina.
Ricky is ready to lead North Carolinians towards a more just and equal North Carolina. Join us as we build a better future for our families, together.