Craig Caudill

Spirited Scholar

January 30, 2024



Craig Caudill, '25, is used to standing out in the crowd as the only male cheerleader on @University of Richmond Cheer. He's all about building people up and boosting #SpiderPride wherever he goes. We went behind the scenes with Craig during filming for our most recent “What Could You Do at Richmond?” commercial to share more of his story. To see the final commercial with Craig and two other Spiders, check out our YouTube channel (and subscribe to keep up with UR!). ❤️💙🕷️ #URichmond #spidercheer

♬ original sound - University of Richmond

Craig Caudill never thought he would do a backflip. As a child, he broke his nose attempting one off a chair, which made him wary of the move. As a UR cheerleader, he’s conquered that fear.

“I recently learned how to do a standing tuck, which is a back flip but just standing up on your feet, which has been really cool,” Caudill said. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

Caudill’s time at the University has given the junior the confidence to try new things, from cheerleading to interning with Richmond’s office of sustainability as a Bonner Scholar, to serving on the President’s Student Advisory Board, to the rare opportunity to conduct NIH research as an undergraduate.

Sitting in the sunroom of the Westhampton Deanery, he explained what attracted him to UR.

“You run into people you know every day and you get to live in a close-knit community,” he said. “And professors are very accessible. They’re accommodating and willing to talk to you almost any time of day.” He said he chose to become a cheerleader to boost school spirit for the University he loves so much.

Caudill is a leadership studies major who aspires to a career that will combine his interests in medicine and the humanities. In the meantime, he’s contributed to three published research papers with chemistry professor Ryan Coppedge on the science of ceramics. He also works as a clinical assistant at the student health center. A trained EMT, he’s volunteered at the New Baltimore Fire and Rescue Department since he was 16.

He’s also conducted research on race and racism and public health inequity with Rob Nelson, director of the Digital Scholarship Lab. The public health inequity research contributes to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health on redlining — denying financial services to residents based on race or ethnicity — and how it affects health.

“There were rankings given to neighborhoods, based on how many people of color were living in the neighborhood,” he said. “It lets researchers more easily look at other things using that lens.” For his part, he got to lead a section focusing on the stroke rate in Richmond’s Black population working in the tobacco industry.

Could he have had that kind of NIH grant experience as an undergraduate elsewhere?

“Absolutely not,” he said, with a laugh.

Caudill has made an impression on faculty like Nelson.

“If you asked mentors what they’re looking for in students they work with, you’d likely hear the same things,” Nelson said. “We’re looking for students that work hard, take ownership over their research, genuinely listen to and welcome feedback and constructive criticism, and are curious. Craig’s that student,” Nelson said. “He does some serious work as an EMT, and he finds time to be part of the UR cheer squad, which is no small commitment of time or energy. Amazing young man.”