Hometown: Pikeville, N.C.
High School: Charles B. Aycock High School
Intended Major: Mechanical engineering
“I try not to turn down an opportunity to help.”
Ready to solve problems
From Rubik’s cube to sorting marbles, Ricky Tharrington has a knack for solving problems.
This future mechanical engineer recently built a five-color marble sorter for a Charles B. Aycock High School class project. It worked the best out of all entries submitted, he said.
Tharrington is one of 19 incoming freshmen entering East Carolina University in August as EC Scholars – the most prestigious academic scholarship program the university offers.
While ECU’s engineering program is relatively new, he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get involved.
Part of that spirit comes from scouting, which Tharrington has been involved in since he was 6. He is an Eagle Scout and a winner of the Vigil Honor, the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow – scouting’s National Honor Society – can give. Tharrington has served as Lodge Chief and has worked several summers as a counselor at Camp Tuscarora in Four Oaks.
He is a member of his school’s Chess Club, Skills USA, Quiz Bowl team, National Honor Society and the Ambassadors.
Besides solving problems, he’s good at making people laugh. “I try not to take things too seriously,” said Tharrington, who’s done stand-up for school functions and church events.
He’s active with Saulston United Methodist Church, from mentoring elementary children to volunteering in the soup kitchen. “I try not to turn down an opportunity to help,” Tharrington said.
A fellow church member, Emily Quinn Pilkington, was an EC Scholar and influenced Tharrington’s decision to attend ECU.
Tharrington only applied to three schools. A Park Scholar and Morehead-Cain Scholar nominee, he didn’t look back once he received ECU’s invitation. “I knew I was definitely going once I got in. It means I’m ensured of a good education,” he said.
He’s also looking forward to being part of the EC Scholars and Honors College community.
“I’ve always enjoyed new experiences,” he said in thinking about the fall semester. “I also like the idea of walking to classes.”
Tharrington has had several family members attend ECU and N.C. State, but his admission has vaulted the Pirates past the Wolfpack by one. His aunt and uncle were history majors while his cousin recently completed a nursing degree. “I’m not one to turn down opportunities,” he said. “When I visited, I liked everybody there.”
He is still searching for some purple socks but the rest of his wardrobe has gotten an overhaul: all the red has been replaced by purple and gold.
He is the son of Rick and Terry Tharrington.
— Crystal Baity