Raysean Ricks, digital communications strategist for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University, was named the Georgia Education Advancement Council’s Outstanding Newcomer of the Year at the 2021 annual conference Nov. 18.
GEAC is a statewide organization for college and university employees who work in educational advancement, which includes the areas of alumni, development, publications and communications.
The GEAC Awards are intended to honor Georgia higher education professionals who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields. The newcomer award, specifically, is meant to recognize those who have worked in higher education for less than five years.
Ricks was nominated by his supervisor Heather Henley, director of news and information at Augusta University, for his work in founding the university’s podcast In the Wild, advocating for the university and its alumni and community partnerships, helping form the Campus Communications Council, supporting President Keel’s diversity task force and more.
He is also recognized for his efforts to involve students in university communications and create development opportunities for them, including internships.
Since In the Wild launched March 3, 2020, the show averages 100 listens per episode and has accrued nearly 10,000 total listens. When the pandemic emerged just days after the podcast’s premiere, Ricks pivoted the content plan to serve his listener community.
“Raysean created an entire podcast season revolving around ways to stay safe, interviews with health professionals and more, even though the podcast was supposed to be on hiatus until the upcoming fall,” said Henley.
“Augusta University employees, students and the Augusta community leaned on him each week to hear news and expert interviews.”
Reflecting on his award, Ricks is proud.
“I feel extremely honored to receive this award. It was such an unexpected surprise. This podcast was a labor of love, and I never guessed it would grow into what it has so soon,” he said.
“I look forward to making sure we continue to grow and have great conversations with JagNation.”