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Ghana native hopes to put business skills to work for nonprofit or NGO someday
May 5, 2015
Although he's a long way from Accra, Ghana, the place he called home for the majority of his life, 21-year-old George Ossei seems to have had no trouble adjusting to life in Pawtucket.
"I'll be staying here forever," he said of the United States.
Gregarious and full of energy, with a smile that breaks easily, it's plain to see why Ossei has fit in so well at the Community College of Rhode Island, where he came after his parents, who had attained citizenship many years before, were able to bring him over.
Rather than staying back to gather high school credits that he'd already earned in his home country, Ossei took the GED® test and passed with flying colors before moving on to pursue a degree in General Studies degree at CCRI. A serious student his whole life, Ossei said he put as much stock in the relationships he formed at the college as he did in the academics.
"From the onset, I've taken my studies very seriously," said Ossei, who is graduating with a 3.78 GPA. "I've met so many great and terrific people here, from my professors to students to my fellow members of student government."
Nothing if not a people person, it didn't take Ossei long to get involved in the Flanagan Student Government, where he eventually rose to director of finance. "Meeting all of these great students and friends has really helped me grow as a person," he said. "I'm grateful for each and every one of the people I've met: students, professors, advisers and deans."
Ossei said he enjoyed the opportunities for fellowship in both the student government as well as Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, of which he is a member. It was through those two organizations that he met some of his most trusted friends; they also gave him the opportunity to conquer his fear of public speaking, and to put into practice professionalism, networking and getting a handle on organizational operations.
All of these skills will serve him well in his future pursuits. Ossei has been accepted to Bryant University, and is awaiting news from the University of Rhode Island and Brown University. Ossei said he wants to earn his bachelor's degree in business or economics, then earn some experience in the working world before going on to pursue a Master of Business Administration. He's always had a mathematical mind, and it was the 2008 recession that really piqued his interest in the world economy.
"I wanted to learn everything I could about what was happening, and I was fascinated by it, so I looked more and more into economics. I watch business news every night. I'm always reading articles, and I'm particularly interested in the social side of math," he said.
Ossei's interest in the harder-edged disciplines isn't mutually exclusive of his love for connection and communication. He's been published nationally twice: once on the Huffington Post, which selected his honors project, titled "On African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement in Rhode Island," for its Huffington Post Thesis series. His other publication credit, "Five Tips For Those Who Opt To Attend Community Colleges," was picked up by USA Today after he initiated a successful pitch.
From one who shied away from addressing large crowds to a man with two national publication credits under his belt, Ossei's star is clearly on the rise. But with all things, he said, he aspires to ultimately make his talents work for the betterment of the community, putting his business acumen to good use for a nonprofit or NGO. "I've been helped all my life," he said, pointing to support from professors, his faith community and his parents. "So I know it's important to give back."
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