From Otterbein Classroom to the Ohio Statehouse

Posted Nov 02, 2021

By Catie Duzzny ‘21, MBA ‘23 

Abdoulaye “Rico” Dieng graduated from Otterbein University in May 2021 with a degree in political science. Throughout his Otterbein career he was very involved with campus activities which helped him in the occupation he has today.  

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Rico Dieng ’21

Dieng is a first-generation U.S. college graduate; he and part of his family left Mauritania and came to the United States in 2014. His interest in politics came two years later during the 2016 election.  

“Witnessing the division during the 2016 election, I believed that in order to inspire and have an impact on the community, the best route was to get into politics,” said Dieng. 

Dieng is currently a field organizer for the Ohio Republican Party, working on campaigns, programs, fundraisers, and volunteer opportunities for the community. Starting in December he will be a legislative fellow at the Ohio Statehouse working with the Senate side of the Republican Party. He will be leaving field work to focus on policy, learning the ins and out of Ohio politics.  

At Otterbein, Dieng was a part of many student organizations. He was involved in the Otterbein Student Government, a CardinalCorps Leader, a member of the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, and the student organization Raise Your Voice. 

“The level of involvement I was able to experience at this campus, and the sense of community here have been some of the best times in my academic career,” said Dieng.  

His experiences with these student organizations helped prepare him for his career today and future opportunities.  As a CardinalCorps Leader, Dieng spent time working with volunteers, serving the community, and acting as a leader of volunteerism on campus. 

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“Recruiting volunteers and being engaged with the community, we wanted to make sure to stay connected with those volunteers and communicate at a high level, which is a big part of my job today,” said Dieng. 

While volunteering with Raise Your Voice, he led community outreach and voter education initiatives that included increasing awareness of upcoming elections, who is being represented, and what to know about the candidates. All of these experiences prepared him for his future in politics.  

Dieng’s experience in the classroom and in student organizations all contributed to where he is today, and the opportunities presented to him.

“Being in politics today can be intimidating but the impact you have can be important. Going to class, getting an internship, creating connections, and not being afraid to transition to something new all lead to the best outcomes. Keep in mind that every job is an opportunity for you to learn,” stated Dieng.