“To those who are initially greeted by a friendly, unassuming, business-like demeanor, I would challenge them to reserve judgment. Beneath the ‘proper’ façade lies a quirky mix of an artistic, carefree, compassionate soul, who views life’s vicissitudes with constant humor, as well as a sometimes irritating perfectionist.” This is how June Ricciardi describes herself.
June Ricciardi is not the typical college student. She is so much more. A full-time employee of Pace University’s Graduate Admissions Office, a mother of two, a freelance artist, and a set-designer in her “free” time, June really attempts to do it all. She encourages others to put in all they can and take away as much as possible from their college years, noting that the life of an adult student is not an easy one-- though she enjoys it.
When the time came, June chose English Literature as her major. She describes her English professors as “truly inspirational” and says she has recognized her own “propensity for writing” through their classes. June also says that her father’s contagious passion for literature and learning further persuaded her to choose English Literature as her focus of study. She notes that though she has come to appreciate rediscovering the beauty of literature, reading and writing were not her best subjects in high school or her early college years.
June has a natural knack for the arts, joking that she’s had a paintbrush in hand since she could sit up. She has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award in set design three times already and is hoping for a fourth nomination and win sometime in the near future. June first got involved with set design when her daughter participated in Stepinac High School’s Drama Club. At first, she just volunteered as a helpful mom on set. However, when she turned a small portrait assignment into three extravagant 8’ x 5’ paintings of French nobleman with gilt papier mache frames for The Scarlet Pimpernel, she turned heads. Now, June paints huge scrims (given that she stands only 5’2”, an impressive feat indeed) and can create the often oversized props at moments notice.
When asked about her future plans, June says, “I would love to continue to develop my writing skills by exploring different venues and, combined with my artistic ability, to channel that into eventually writing and illustrating my own books.” She also plans to continue furthering her education as long as possible, believing that it is “a lifelong process that nurtures the mind and soul.”