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Budding computer programmer soars to new heights through Promise scholarship

John SamosFeb. 3, 2020

The Rhode Island Promise scholarship has helped countless Community College of Rhode Island students reaffirm their commitment to learning, whether it’s through peace of mind outside of school or a laser-like focus in the classroom.

For North Providence’s John Samos, a first-year Computer Science student and member of CCRI’s Joint Admissions Agreement (JAA) program, the Promise scholarship has given him the opportunity of a lifetime to turn his passion into a career, an opportunity that might not have been available otherwise.

“I’m very lucky students like myself have Rhode Island Promise,” said the 19-year-old Samos, who now lives in Cranston while attending CCRI.

“I don’t know if I would have really been able to afford college if it wasn’t for Rhode Island Promise. Now I have time to save and plan out the rest of my life and really study what I want to do so I have options as I get older.”

Citing a “tough upbringing,” Samos dealt with the challenges of moving from city to city as a youth. He spent time in the Silver Lake section of Providence, then moved to the east side of Cranston before relocating to North Providence to live with his father during his senior year of high school. The constant relocating never affected his grades.

As a child, he developed an interest in working with his hands, fascinated with cars and electronics and motivated to learn how things work. A standout athlete in basketball, baseball and football, Samos also played video games, which piqued his interest in computer programming.

After transferring from Cranston East High School to North Providence midway through his senior year, he reconnected with his aunt, a senior project coordinator, who recommended he consider enrolling at CCRI as a Promise scholar. After learning more about the program, Samos realized CCRI was the logical choice based on the benefits of Promise in addition to the college’s Academic and Career Paths and JAA programs. With the necessary guidance to choose the right courses and a conditional transfer agreement in place to enroll at the University of Rhode Island in 2021, Samos is now on the fast track to an associate degree in Computer Science.

“This is a very important time of our lives as students,” Samos said, “and the Rhode Island Promise program definitely makes it easier for us to focus on our course work rather than worrying about things we shouldn’t be worrying about right now.

“Also, the flexibility is great. That’s the main reason I like it here. CCRI helps me a lot as a student and prepares me to go to URI.”

Samos is excited about the potential job opportunities available in his field. With a Computer Science degree, he can work in the fast-growing Cybersecurity industry, or transition to IT, systems analysis or perhaps work as a game developer. In addition to being a full-time student, Samos works between 30 to 35 hours per week – mostly nights – at a Stop & Shop Gas Station in Providence. During his downtime, he breaks out his study materials and thumbs through notes so he can stay on top of the curriculum.

The Promise program has helped shape Samos’ future, and he hopes those who are currently in high school or are about to enter – including his 14-year-old sister – will have the same opportunity to take advantage of everything the scholarship has to offer. Rhode Island Promise works, Samos says, and it’s kept him focused on his future as he continues to take the right steps toward a satisfying career in a high-demand industry.

“I definitely recommend CCRI,” he said. “I have a lot of friends who are a year younger than me and I tell them how the school is a great start to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can focus more, be closer to home, and get ready and more prepared for that four-year college experience when it’s time to transfer. CCRI and Rhode Island Promise is giving everyone an opportunity to show how smart they and work toward the careers they want in their future.”

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