Erica (Keene) Bostick ’09 wasn’t exactly an extrovert as a child growing up in the small town of Trenton, Ohio. Self-described as “extremely shy,” she had a difficult time making friends and was bullied as a youngster. So, it’s that much more impressive that she is returning to where her college story began to lead worship at the University of Findlay for Homecoming Weekend 2018.
The fact that Bostick both had a “super strong support system” and a heavy faith at an early age helped to ease the burden of her shyness and being bullied. “I grew up with my mom, dad, and two sisters,” she said, “and I met Jesus when I was five. I fell in love with this person who loved me for who I was. He forever changed the trajectory of my life.”
Something that also had a profound effect on her life was music. Bostick, who is now gaining success as an independent Christian music solo artist, grew up around it. “My grandparents were both singer/songwriters and introduced me to the guitar and songwriting,” she said. “And since I wasn’t a natural socialite, I poured a lot of time into journaling, writing songs and learning guitar. Music and writing were what most connected me with God. It was how I processed, celebrated, communicated, grieved, dreamed—it was a gift to me.” And while her parents did not play music, they were supportive.
To a certain point, that is.
When it came time for Bostick to start thinking about graduating from high school and planning for what would come next, not surprisingly, she only saw stars. “All I could imagine doing in my life was singing,” she admitted. Her father, however, in typical good parental fashion, wasn’t so quick to agree that this was a reliable path to pursue. “My dad is a very logical guy,” she said. “He did all of his research and the data said that the ‘next greatest career track’ was pharmacy. He even found a school that was just beginning a six-year program with direct entry once accepted.”
That school was the University of Findlay.
And so, with the pride of her supportive parents alongside her, and the dream of being a singing star tucked neatly into her heart for keeping, Bostick, after applying and being accepted, made her trek to Findlay to begin her postsecondary academic career as a pharmacy student. That career, however, was not one that Bostick knew she would see through. “I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career in pharmacy before I even applied,” she confessed. “After about a year and a half into the program, I went to my counselor and realized I needed to start living my life for God, and, even though I love him greatly, not for my dad. I knew I needed a degree, and I also knew that I was about to take my last math class, and that made me sad.” She switched her major to Mathematics/Actuarial Science and everything went smoothly from then on out.
Bostick went on to maintain a 3.22 GPA, attain a Trustee’s scholarship, work as a resident, computer lab and teacher’s assistant, be accepted into the Math Honor Society and Gospel Choir and lead the campus ministry worship band. To say that the University of Findlay created in her a well-rounded individual is a vast understatement. “My time at UF was instrumental in me coming into my own, growing in confidence and living my life outside of my family bubble,” she said. “I served and worked alongside so many people who were not like me and having that experience was one of the many that has grown a deep passion in my heart for diversity and unity. I’m forever grateful.”
Bostick, currently a married mother of a two-year old daughter with another child due in March, was invited to participate in the Homecoming service by Director of Christian Ministries at UF, Matt Ginter, a friend of Bostick’s from her UF days. It’s a coming home in the literal sense for her, as Findlay is where she honed her skills, formed lasting meaningful relationships, and began the story of who she is today. “I gained so many friendships that I still have that I’m so, so grateful for,” she said. “I would not be the person I am without them. Confidence in myself was one thing that really was seated deeply at UF and has continued to grow and bloom ever since.”