Brightest and Best
Erica Wendt-Richardson

Erica Wendt-Richardson

Hometown: Idaho Falls

High School: Skyline High School

Class Year: Senior

Major: Secondary education and history

Interests/Hobbies: Scrapbooking, cooking, playing the piano, and running (specifically cross-country and the steeplechase in track and field) in track and field.

My Mom was a runner and won the state championship in the 800. I developed the love of running from her. I begin to seriously run when I was in the 6th grade and have been at it since. I put in about 10 hours a week in training and generally run nearly 60 miles a week.

Latest Accomplishment: Erica became Idaho State University's first female Big Sky cross country champion this past fall.

Career goal: I hope to teach middle school or high school and work toward a master's degree. Ultimately I'd love to raise a family of 'little runners!' I'll undoubtedly keep on running, perhaps in more competitive venues. I love running and want to do it the rest of my life... at least until I'm 99 years old!

Why ISU? When I was looking at potential universities I was impressed with the breadth of programs ISU offered and I really liked the campus. My sister graduated from ISU and had a positive experience so I'm sure that affected my decision. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship, which also made my choice easier. My coaches and teachers have been great and the relationships that have come out of that will be with me for a lifetime.

ISU Experience: Adjusting from high school to college was different in many respects. Fortunately there were several professors who took the time to get to know me and encourage me that I could be very successful. Dr. Wendy Ruchti was very influential in helping me learn how to be a good college student. Dr. Kevin Marsh, my history professor, influenced me to work hard and by doing so, I could accomplish anything.

When I joined the cross country team I was taken by how different the training protocol was compared to high school. Fortunately, we had good senior leadership when I was a freshman. Lois Keller, a senior teammate, was a positive influence on me and my teammates. That's why it's so important for me, as a senior, to provide that same type of leadership that enabled me to develop and succeed.

Nationally the amount of student debt following graduation continues to increase. For information on how you can help educate the next generation of great Idaho State University scholars contact the ISU Foundation or call (208) 282-3470.